How Bullying Affects Mental Health?6 min read
Schooling is not only responsible for bringing new experiences and s
challenges for children, but it also contributes towards the significant development of children’s brains and mental health. And therefore, it becomes your prime duty to make sure whether your child is happy and stress-free there or not.
For establishing this belief, it is very important to implement bullying prevention programs as well as strict guidelines for those who bully others.
According to research based on the opinions gathered from children, parents and teachers, the kids were divided into four groups:
- Number of kids who were not involved in the act of bullying in any possible way. Neither were the victims nor the accused.
- Number of kids who were victims of bullying but they themselves weren’t involved in bullying others
- Number of kids who were usually bullied but didn’t tend to the exact targets of it.
- Number of kids who were themselves involved in bullying as well as they used to bully other kids too. In simple words, children involved in this category were both- the victims as well as accused.
Consequences of facing continuous bullying
According to popular case studies and statistical data, it is observed that bullying often leads to long lasting consequences. Apart from the perspective of self consciousness, it also impacts their emotional, social as well as psychological development. To make you understand in a better way, let’s understand this with the help of an instance. They may possibly suffer low self-esteem, inability to trust others, and have trouble forming lasting friendships.
Apart from the consequences, the after effects of being bullied are even worse. Such children may phase even more severe problems than deterioration of emotional and psychological health.
Talking about physical development, it is noted that there may be physical as well as structural differences in the brains of young children who are victimized in a continuous manner.
What do researchers say?
Over a long period of time, we have encountered a list of several research analytical data on this subject of bullying. Nevertheless, the results are quite surprising as well as shocking.
- A total of 5% of the young children in an experiment disclosed that they were victims of chronic or ongoing bullying. A massive change in their brain volume, as well as a surge in the levels of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity, were also observed in this experiment.
- Studies show that there was a decrease in the parts of the brain called the caudate and putamen that corresponded with the chronic bullying incident or memory.
- In another study, it was found that being bullied in school during childhood increases the extent of mental health problems at age 25 by 40%. It also reviewed that being bullied increases the probability of being unemployed at age 25 by about 35%.
Cyberbullying- An Alternative form of bullying these days
Nowadays with the advent of technology, children are getting exposed to platforms like social media and Age-inappropriate programs on television as well as mobile phones. Along with the increase of social media usage, comes the concept of cyberbullying. Believe it or not, this form of bullying may lead to a drastic impact than other traditional forms of bullying.
To make you understand better, note the fact that kids who are victims of cyberbullying tend to be more fearful, and prone to anxiety attacks than victims of other forms of bullying.
Along with that, when children are subjected to cyberbullying for a much longer period of time, they may even experience general anxiety symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Accessibility is one important reason for this finding. With cyberbullying, those who are targeting the victims can always reach out to them, any time of the day, through text, social media or any other platform.
Unfortunately, there is no place on earth that is really a safe haven for the victims. And that too, when every person in this modern world has a smartphone with them 24 hours a day. It is quite common to note that these days, people always have this realization that at any time something negative or hurtful can show up.
How does bullying affect mental and physical health?
Bullying may appear as a small scale problem but in reality, the mental health effects are beyond imagination. Not only do children face an increased risk of social and emotional problems in the short and long term but they even face problems during adulthood as well.
Some commonly noticed issues are as mentioned below:
- Continuous stress
- Emotional issues
- Social problems
- Physical disorders
And in some cases, it may even lead a person to self-harm or even suicidal attempts. Apart from the adverse changes, it can also affect a person’s behaviour and relationships at school, home or any other working platform.
When is bullying a red flag for mental health?
You must take note that it’s a red flag when a child is both a bully and bullied by their peers. It may also indicate that such a kid may also incorporate other serious psychiatric problems. And in most cases, such children are at high risk for later struggles in adulthood. This may possibly include a wide range of mental health problems.
Starting A Conversation About Bullying
One shouldn’t wait for the child to say something or narrate whatever happened while suspecting bullying.
For better communication, it is advised to start the conversation yourself and ask your kids if they’re afraid of or uncomfortable around anyone at school. Make sure to be extremely polite and calm while dealing with your kid.
Beyond reasonable doubts, it is hard to know what to do when a child is being bullied. But you shouldn’t be afraid to ask in such a case. You must teach your kid to rely on adults whom they trust.
Try to find out any appropriate method that you can reach out to if there’s anything you can help your child with.
Always remember to have a safe and secure place to talk to them. This factor is extremely important for your kid’s mental health.
You must make them comfortable enough. Let them know that they are not alone in this fight and also that they have someone at their back.
Long term consequences are thought to be inevitable when we observe a person being bullied. But this is completely wrong. As we have talked about many warning signs regarding bullying and its relation to mental health deterioration, guardians and elders must note that bullying is not an issue that should be ignored.
In several cases, it is noted that many kids are targeted, along with their parents. In such a case, they need to be empowered to not only report bullying but also to be acknowledged on how to move on after dealing with a bad experience like this one. Not managing this issue properly would probably lead to additional victimization. Also, it would take the victim to a stage where their potential mental health issues will gradually increase even more.