The Effects of Bullying on Society

The Effects of Bullying on Society

Bullying is something that is an extremely topical issue and something many people have been exposed to at least once in their lifetime. The effects of bullying are long lasting and could even lead to fatalities. So how do we solve this problem? 

In 2013 News24 reported that more than 50 percent of children were being bullied. In 2018 the country’s education minister commented that South African pupils are “the most bullied kids in the world”. This is a sad fact. Our kids are exposed to so many things that we might not even be aware of

What is bullying?

Bullying is very difficult for children, or anyone, to deal with. It makes you feel afraid and degraded and often it makes a person feel like they are worthless. Unfortunately, bullying also makes you stop wanting to go out because you are scared you might see the person bullying you. Many children who are bullied even start blaming themselves and questioning so many things in their lives.

BULLYING IS UNACCEPTABLE and these are different ways that bullying can happen:

• People calling you names
• Making things up to get you into trouble
• Hitting, pinching, biting, pushing and shoving
• Taking things away from you
• Damaging your belongings
• Stealing your money
• Taking your friends away from you
• Spreading rumors
• Threats and intimidation

Joy Magazine reports South African Statistics as follows:

In a recent study conducted between January and April this year (2019), 1 300 students across two provinces and from high and low income groups opened up about their experiences. Of the primary school learners, 87% of the girls admitted to having seen bullying and experiencing it. Of the boys, 62% say they bully others, 19% say they are bullied physically daily, 74% say they are verbally bullied on a daily basis and an astounding 98% say they would rather bully others than be bullied.

In the high school sector, the statistics and consequences escalate ... 87% of high school girls admitted to having seen and experienced bullying, 42% say they have been hit by another girl, 36% use drugs and alcohol daily to cope, 6% self harm to deal with pain, 15% would like to fall pregnant to get out of their home environment, 32% have tried to commit suicide and 19% have thought about killing themselves. 97% of high school boys have hit a student in the school, 61% say they would rather bully others, 95% have been humiliated or insulted on a daily basis, 48% say they use drugs or alcohol daily to cope with the effects, and 22% say they thought about killing themselves.

How does bullying effect the parents of the bullied child? 

At a physical level, parents can get sick after learning that their children are being bullied. Because bullying can increase feelings of powerlessness, parents may worry endlessly about their children, and hence may encounter physical symptoms such as ulcers, chronic headaches, and other stress-related illnesses.

Parents can also experience emotional symptoms such as anger, depression, anxiety, and agitation. Along with these emotional symptoms can also come feelings of obsessiveness, through which you continue to obsess over the bullying situation. This in turn can increase both emotional and physical symptoms. When dealing with your child's experience of being bullied, it is important to address the situation head-on, while also taking care of yourself to alleviate the symptoms. 
So how do we as parents Cope with Bullying: 

As a parent, it is essential to deal with the bullying directly, learn how to communicate effectively with your child, and take care of your own mental health to stay strong during these trying times.

How does bullying affect children?

Remember that not all children who are being bullied ask for help; therefore, it is crucial to keep an eye on your children in order to ensure that these experiences are stopped as soon as possible. There are different warning signs to look for this includes both the physical and emotional traits:

Physical traits are traits that can be seen in your child that can potentially identify acts of bullying. In these instances, it is important to look for unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items or clothing, difficulty sleeping, declining grades, and self-destructive behaviors. Self destructive behaviors can include running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide. It is important to act quickly if you notice any of these self-destructive behaviors; contact law enforcement or a mental health professional immediately. It is important to ensure that your child is safe and does not harm themselves.

Emotional traits are traits that you may not be able to physically see; however, they affect your child at a very personal and internal level. Look for emotional traits that include withdrawal from friends and family, decreased self-esteem, instances of depression and anxiety, loss of interest in otherwise pleasurable activities, or not wanting to go to school.

Identifying these different traits can help open communication patterns with your child so that you can discuss problem solving techniques in a supportive environment. 
“Stand Together, So No One Stands Alone” 

Written By: TeachSA – January 2020

in Blog