Bullying, a Phenomenon that Hits us all

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Bullying is a negative behavior phenomenon that has been increasing and transforming over time. The portal stopbullying.gov defines it as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance”. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Kids who are bullied or who bully others may have serious, lasting problems [1] ”.

Its causes are diverse, starting from social, family and economic problems to situations that happened in early childhood [2] . It seriously affects the mental health of the victim as well as the aggressor’s and bystanders of the act, since long-term effects have been observed, mainly in the social and adaptive development within the community [3] .

Some of the consequences of bullying for the victim [4]  are: psychological stress, have trouble fitting in, struggle in school, wrestle with emotions, and respond to stress aggressively. The University of Kansas, in their portal Kansas Against Bullying Project [5] , published other important consequences such as higher rates of truancy, more safety concerns, and lower levels of perceived teacher support, among others.

This problem has changed over time, because in recent years and with technological development, multiples forms of bullying [6]  have been identified and are increasingly difficult to detect:

  • Physical bullying:  A serious problem, affecting not only the bully and the victim, but also other children who witness the bullying. Parents, teachers, and other concerned adults and young people should be aware of what a physical bully is and some of the ways to handle it [7] . The forms of physical bullying are hitting, pushing, tripping, slapping, spitting or stealing. 
  • Verbal bullying: Involves mainly insults, taunts, and name-calling. Nowadays, it often occurs in social media [8] .
  • Social bullying: Is a form of bullying that can be more difficult to detect because it can occur behind the victim’s back, or it can take the form of public humiliation. Sometimes referred to as indirect aggression, relational aggression, or covert bullying [9] .
  • Cyber bullying: Is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones [10] .

Without a doubt, we can all be victims of this phenomenon. The figures prove it: 41% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they think the bullying would happen again; one in five tweens has been cyberbullied, cyberbullied others, or seen cyberbullying; 49.8% of tweens said they experienced bullying at school; and 14.5% of tweens shared they experienced bullying online [11] . To deal with this problem [12] imagine you’re walking away from a stranger, concentrate on thinking about something else, count to 100 and breathe, believe in yourself and your skills, look at the bully “in the eyes”, don’t be afraid to face him or her [13] .















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