April 27, 2014
Break The Bullying Cycle
Bullying consists of many harmful actions, but some of the most common are the following:
- Threatening actions or words
- Merciless teasing
- Spreading rumors and lies
We can all think of many more examples and types of bullying, but the let’s focus on the importance of the effect of bullying. Of course, knowing what bullying is helps to address and prevent it, but having the data that shows just how devastating the impact of bullying is will motivate people to action.
Which leads to the real issue: bullying is bad. It is cruel, painful, and lasting. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that the impact of bullying lasts well into adulthood. One recent redOrbit article explains the research that shows just how dangerous bullying really is.
redOrbit identifies that the effects of bullying do not just go away because children grow into adults. In fact, the opposite is really the case. Specifically, redOrbit identifies the findings of a study performed by Dr. Ryu Takizawa of the King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry. He and his colleagues “reviewed data from the British National Child Development Study, which includes information on all children born in England, Scotland and Wales during one particular week in 1958. They reviewed the records of over 7,700 children who had reportedly been bullied between the ages of seven and 11.”
What they found should motivate all of us to prevent bullying now. For starters, 28 percent of the children in the study experienced occasional bullying. Moreover, 15 percent regularly felt the impact of bullying. Those who were victims of bullying suffered from worse physical health, psychological well-being, and cognitive functioning at age 50. This means that four decades after their childhood bullying, they still suffered.
If that does not catch our attention, perhaps this will: “Those who were frequently bullied as children faced an elevated risk of depression, anxiety disorders and suicidal thoughts, and those who were victims of such behavior were also likely to have lower educational levels. Men who were bullied were more likely to earn less money or be unemployed, and both men and women were less likely to be in a romantic relationship, have a good social support network, and be satisfied with their quality of life.”
We simply cannot ignore this data. Bullying is not just something that happens in childhood. It is not a harmless part of what all children experience. Bullying impacts entire lives. Many people never experience happiness because they were bullied. Many people never feel the safety, confidence, and strength necessary to experience peace and happiness because of bullying. We can pretend that it is okay, that bullying is natural, but if we do so, then we are a part of the problem. Turning a blind eye to bullying passively allows it to happen. Inaction is action in its own right. It is the choice to not act, to allow others to suffer at the hands of bullies. We cannot stand for that.
The health of the future rests in our hands. If we want a better, healthier, and happier future, then we must pay attention to what is happening to children today. Just because we were bullied does not mean that it is all right. Bullying is not acceptable. Bullying is wrong. We must save our future by stopping bullying now.
For more information on bullying as well as help and support, check out stopbullying.gov and let others know about this website. We can help each other have happier, healthier futures, but we must act to stop bullying now.
Image Credit: Thinkstock