According to the National Center For Educational Statistics, out of the 41% of students who reported bullying 13% experienced jeers, slurs, or other forms of insults; 13% percent were the focus of rumours; 5% were bumped into, shoved, tripped over, or spit on; and others were purposefully left out of activities.
Anyone who experienced abuse as a child can relate to the emotions of shame that can result from these kinds of events and the consequences that come along with it. According to recent study, the aftereffects of bullying during childhood can impact for decades and result in long-lasting changes that can increase the risk of mental and physical disorders.
Several celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Shawn Mendes, Blake Lively, Karen Elson, Eminem, Kate Middleton, and Mike Nichols, have spoken about their school bullying experiences and the suffering they endured as children and as adults.
A developmental psychology professor explained how people used to believe that bullying is a common behavior, and in some cases, that it may even be beneficial to develop character. Researchers were slow in recognizing bullying as a behavior that could be seriously detrimental.
Today, the educators see bullying as a violation of children’s human rights rather than as an unavoidable part of growing up. With this shift in perspective, many researchers are now experimenting with various anti-bullying programs using some interesting new ways to make school environments friendlier and kinder.
Long term effects of bullying
There is no doubt that bullying poses a major risk to children’s mental health, with its most obvious effects being elevated anxiety, depression, and paranoid thoughts. While some of these signs may go away on their own once the bullying stops, many victims continue being at an increased risk of developing mental illnesses.
A recent study published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry found that a woman who experienced bullying as a child has a 27-fold increased risk of developing a panic disorder.
Childhood bullying has also been a major reason of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors in both men and women.
Bullying also has long-term effects on people’s social lives; many victims find it difficult to make friends later in life and are apparently less likely to be in a committed relationship as they struggle to trust people around them.
Children who have experienced bullying may perceive social interactions as more threatening.
Bullying affects an individual’s financial and academic costs. People who are bullied do worse in school, which in future lowers their chances of finding employment. As a result, they are more likely to face financial instability and unemployment in their adulthood.
According to study, the stress that follows an event can have an adverse effect on the body for decades. It was discovered that regular bullying between the ages of seven and eleven was associated with noticeably greater levels of inflammation at age 45 after analyzing data from a 50-year longitudinal study.
The association persisted even after a wide range of additional variables were taken into account, such as their diet, level of physical activity, and smoking habits. This is crucial because chronic inflammation impairs immune function and damages human organs, resulting in diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Anti-bullying strategies and programs
Prior to now, there were no organized campaigns to address the larger issue of bullying. If specific behaviors were seen, teachers would correct them. However, since it was the student’s job to report the issue, many situations went unreported. By ignoring evident problems, some teachers would subtly support bullying, while a small but toxic minority would outright support the bullies.
Bullying that reflects larger social attitudes were and are still condoned in some cases. For instance, a sizeable majority of lesbian mothers’ children in a longitudinal research reported being teased or bullied due to their family type, however parental support mitigated the effect. Bullying and other forms of aggressiveness are more common among LGBTQ adolescents in schools. However, historically, schools have tended to overlook homophobic bullying.
Fortunately, current research has offered some tried-and-true anti-bullying tactics that have been shown to be effective.
Olweus bullying prevention program
One of the most thoroughly examined programs is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The late Swedish-Norwegian psychologist Dan Olweus was the driving force behind a large portion of the early academic studies on child victimization. The program’s premise is that specific instances of bullying are frequently the result of a larger culture that accepts victimization. As a result, it makes an effort to change the overall school environment so that inappropriate behavior can no longer thrive.
The Olweus Program pushes the school to establish very specific guidelines for what constitutes appropriate behavior as well as the repercussions for breaking those guidelines. The adults must serve as constructive role models who reward good behavior and have no tolerance for victimization of any kind. It’s crucial to understand where bullying is most likely to happen in the school and to periodically check on those areas. Everyone who works as an adult in the school, including the custodian, bus drivers, and cafeteria staff, needs some basic bullying training.
At classroom level, the kids themselves organize meetings to talk about what it is and how they may support other kids who are being bullied. All of this is done to make sure that the institution’s culture embraces the anti-bullying message.
“Don’t laugh at me” program
This program is intended to be used with kids in elementary and middle schools to assist combat bullying, jeering, mocking, and harassment in classrooms. This initiative teaches students how to identify intolerance based on personal differences, understand that differences are positive, develop compassion for others who are different from themselves, and understand that teasing, name-calling, exclusion, and ridicule are hurtful to others.
It is done by using music, videos, and tried-and-true instructional activities. Teachers are given tools to assist pupils in finding new, constructive approaches to resolving problems.
Stand up, Speak out, End Bullying program
This is a program by utterly global youth Empowerment organization and is further divided into four sections that are:
1. Early Childhood Program – Lets be friends
Healthy cognitive, social, and emotional growth in children depends heavily on their early years of development. By promoting tolerance, kindness, and bully-free behavior, this program demonstrates how to include a bully-free message in the classroom. The program is adaptable and can be used in various ways.
Parent education, home practice exercises, interactive games, music, and other materials are all included in the program.
2. Virgil: The bully from cyberspace
This curriculum teaches kids about friendship and bullying prevention through the book Virgil: The Bully from Cyberspace. For each of the book’s nine chapters, the teacher’s handbook offers a lesson plan focusing on a different facet of bullying. Each lesson provides an overview of the chapter’s main ideas, aim, justification, and includes a follow-up task that can be used as reinforcement as well as other suggested activities. A few letters are included in the parent component to be sent home for further discussion.
3. No excuse for peer abuse
The purpose of this lesson is to instil good bystander behavior in the children. In an effort to promote a pleasant and healthy school culture and climate, children learn respect and empathy. These include cyber, social, physical, emotional, and bias-based forms of bullying; how to be a good spectator without endangering yourself or others; what to do if you’re being bullied; internet safety; how to avoid becoming a target; The distinctions between dispute and bullying, ratting, and reporting, and how to establish a bully-free environment.
4. Stand up- speak out
This program targets middle school age children. Students learn and practice protection and coping skills, ethical decision-making, socially responsible behavior, and maintaining academic engagement through this curriculum. The elements of bullying, obstacles to speaking up, the value of engaging bystanders, preventative measures to avoid becoming a target of bullying, safe intervention techniques, and stages toward making responsible decisions are some of the topics covered.