School bullying is a big problem that can have serious consequences for kids. Bullying can make kids feel isolated, scared, and unsafe. It can also lead to physical and emotional harm. If you suspect your child is being bullied, talk to them about it and help them get the support they need. There are many resources available to help address bullying in schools.
by David Stone
What exactly is school bullying?
School bullying is a serious issue. It involves an imbalance of power and can lead to both physical and emotional pain.
It occurs when someone on school grounds teases, taunts, excludes, or intimidates another student.
Examples include name-calling, spreading gossip or rumors about somebody, punishing or threatening to punish physically, teasing in a way that demeans, making fun of someone’s looks or attributes, or purposely embarrassing and belittling in front of others.
Bullying results in emotional distress, school avoidance, depression, headaches and stomachaches.
School bullying is widespread, but if students and school personnel work together, it can get better.
Consequences for both the victim and the bully
Serious implications for both the bully and the victim follow, no matter how presented.
Maybe it’s malicious comments, physical harassment or even cyberbullying.
For the victim, bullying can cause deep emotional and psychological distress. It can contribute to anxiety and depression as well as social problems like isolation and low self-esteem.
For the bully, serious consequences often manifest themselves in later life. A lack of adaptability or criminal behavior might result in long-term incarceration or substance abuse. But early intervention can lessen those outcomes.
Don’t brush bullying aside – like “boys will be boys” – or taken lightly. The possible repercussions ruin lives; address it directly.
How to prevent bullying in the first place
Preventing school bullying takes proactive steps to stop it as soon as it occurs.
One way to do this is through school-wide education programs that emphasize positive social behavior and create a safe, supportive school environment.
Additionally, school administrators should respond swiftly and consistently when incidents of bullying occur, holding students accountable for any negative behaviors they exhibit and providing counseling or other assistance to victims.
Establishing clear rules against bullying and encouraging immediate intervention when someone is mistreated helps create a school culture that does not tolerate such behavior.
By taking these steps, school communities can prevent bullying from becoming an accepted part of school life.
Share resources for kids who are being bullied or who witness bullying taking place
Kids must have access to resources if they are struggling with bullying. Fortunately, there are organizations dedicated to helping kids cope with these difficult experiences.
For example, The Bully Project is a national organization providing those affected by bullying positive support and community education initiatives. They offer helpful advice on how parents, schools, and communities can stop bullying before it starts.
Kids can also find comfort in talking to an adult they trust or joining an online support group like StopBullying. These resources provide safe spaces where youth can receive advice and share personal stories of being bullied while understood and connected with others going through similar struggles.
School bullying is a serious problem with far-reaching consequences. By definition, school bullying is repeated negative actions towards another person, often done in front of others and/or online.
Victims of school bullying can suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even thoughts of suicide. And while the bully may seem to get away with their bad behavior, they are at risk for developing many social problems later in life.
The good news is that there are things we can do to prevent bullying. Tips include teaching kids empathy and respect, promoting positive social interactions, and being an upstander instead of a bystander when you witness bullying taking place.
If your child is being bullied or you think they might be witnessing someone else being bullied at school, there are resources available to help. Visit stopbullying.gov for more information on what you can do to address this issue head-on.