Bullying Prevention And Consequences Of Bullying
Bullying is common among children in school from grades six to twelve. Bullying behavior is known to be repetitive and continuous over time. There are different types of bullying that have affected many young adults in the United States. Some bullying cases lead to suicide and the relationship between the two can be very complex. Although the media can oversimplify the relationship between bullying and suicide, there are many factors of both that suggest how impactful the presence of bullying is on a child. With how common bullying was in most suicide cases in the past, the media has summed up this relationship and named it Bullycide.
Bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance,” (Line 1-2, What Is Bullying). A child could use physical strength, knowledge of private information or even social class to hurt another individual. There are three main types of bullying that occur in schools. Verbal bullying, where individuals say or write mean things; Social bullying, where an individual tries to hurt someone’s reputation or personal relationships; and Physical bullying, where an individual is hurting a person’s body and physically attacking them or their belongings.
Verbal is the most common form of bullying. It includes name-calling, taunting, teasing, threatening etc. This is mainly common within the province of women. “Girls use verbal bullying, as well as social exclusion techniques, to dominate others and show their superiority and power. However, there are also many boys with subtlety enough to use verbal techniques for domination, and who are practiced in using words when they want to avoid the trouble that can come with physically bullying someone else.” (Line 11, Bullying Statistics). Verbal bullying is done mainly to hurt another’s self-esteem. This has caused children to become reluctant to go to school. It is also one of the most difficult forms of bullying to deal with. This can also lead to serious physical consequences where the bully does not even have to lay a hand on the victim.
Self-image is dramatically impacted in the most negative way. Emotional and psychological distress become apparent in one’s behavior which are signs of developing depression. Verbal bullying can inflate problems an individual may have already been experiencing. Unfortunately, common ways victims of this type of bullying deal with it is through substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide.
Social bullying is overlooked and harder to recognize. The person who is being bullied may not even realize what is happening around them. The main result of social bullying is to humiliate and embarrass an individual. In a middle school in Jamaica, Queens, a survey showed about 74% of students who have taken part in social bullying. “I once told my friends that this girl in my class was poor and she told everyone in the class. Everyone made fun of this girl because she was poor or would throw coins at her,” (Student at Susan B. Anthony, age 13). Lying and spreading rumors is one form of social bullying. After conducting a survey at this middle school, rumors and cyberbullying were the top two forms of social bullying that were occurring in this environment. Out of 100 students, 74 admitted to social bullying. These students were not even aware that this was taking place. When asked, “Have you ever posted a mean comment on Instagram?” 84 students admitted to the action. That means 10% of the students who admitted to posting a mean comment, were not even aware that they were social bullying. Those comments can ruin someone’s reputation which can lead to substance abuse and suicide.
Celebrities deal with social bullying twenty-four seven and it can cause damaging behavior. For example, Demi Lovato was constantly being judged by the media and by fellow peers. Other celebrities would make nasty jokes about her weight or how she looked. She fell into a depression and self-harmed.
No matter how indirect, social bullying is proactive. “Understanding the range of social bullying behaviors and the different contexts that motivate students’ actions can help to appropriately identify social bullying incidents and can inform strategies for how to effectively intervene (http://www.stopbullying.gov).
Physical bullying is a problem where witnesses are also affected by bullying and not just the bully and the victim. Physical bullying can be anything from hitting, slapping, tripping or pushing another person with the intent to hurt, embarrass or intimidate the victim. However, physical bullying can also take the form of sexual harassment. Bullying this serious can lead to depression, low self-esteem and in extreme cases, violent behavior.
The term bullycide has been defined as death by suicide because of bullying. It is believed that bullycide occurs when individuals do not know how to deal with the abuse of bullying. This hybrid term has been used to describe past cases of suicide that were linked to bullying. Bullying is a very serious issue and can be done in many ways that are some factors that lead to the result of bullycide. Children who suffer through bullying could find themselves in a state of depression and confusion that may lead them to take their own lives.
In 2001, journalist Neil Marr and Tim Field wrote a book introducing the term bullycide and being one of the first to shine a light on this fatal problem. The book exposed the occurrence of bullycide and how it was affecting young lives around the world.
With the effects bullying can have on an individual, suicide is the most common occurrence in bullying cases. Bullycide: Death at Playtime, shares a series of bullying stories from children who were not prepared to encounter or deal with school bullies. Neil and Tim wanted to demand action and let it be known that bullycide was a growing epidemic. Tim Field was a bully victim and was once brought to a psychological meltdown. He knew firsthand the effects of bullying and how serious its relationship with depression and suicide is.
Bullying is a mortifying experience. The emotion and physical wounds can linger for years within a victim’s mind. With children especially, bullying can “create an environment so threatening that they fall into significant despair and utter hopelessness,” (Bullycide, Psy.D Serani). Giving up seems like the only answer for these vulnerable children and many sadly end their lives. Serani described this as Giving Up on Syndrome. The term was first introduced in 1965 and helped the public understand what happens to a child with destabilizing psychologically before bullycide takes place. Psy.D Serani developed a chart that described the dynamics of what happens when a child is bullied and surrenders to suicide as the outcome which is displayed below:
(Bullycide. (2018, June 2). Retrieved March 20, 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201806/bullycide)
Specific cases like Phoebe Prince, whose mom consistently reported the bullying that her daughter was going through. Sadly, her nothing was done to help Phoebe and she hung herself a week after her mother reported the harassment to school officials. Events like this prove how severe of an issue bullycide is. There are children being bullied to death and when one takes their own life, there is not enough change for such a threat.
Dan Olweus conducted a survey back in 2010 and discovered that seventeen percent of students have reported being bullied two or more times a month in one school year. The National Education Association estimated that over one hundred and sixty thousand children are too scared to go to school because of bullying. Certain schools have taken some action against this problem. In Connecticut, the governor Jodi Rell signed an anti-bullying law in 2008 that made all schools in Connecticut develop a plan of prevention and intervention against bullying.
If any bullying was to be reported, the schools were required to investigate and submit their policies. This was also around the time where the definition of bullying was modified and included that it was a repetitive action against any student in the school year. Thankfully, the bullycide epidemic was being introduced to multiple plans and solutions. The problem now would be to stick to these policies and plans of action. Senators and Governors all over the country should start to implement or introduce anti-harassment policies and the interpretation of them to be taken seriously.
The goal is to decrease the percentage od suicides that occur because of bullying. Educating the public and focusing on the age range of children who are at a higher risk of suicidal ideation. Nationally, twenty-eight percent of students in grades six to twelve have experienced bullying. Seventy percent of young adults and almost seventy one percent of school staff have either seen bullying taking place. Sixty two percent of that have seen it occur more than twice a month and forty one percent witness it more then once a week.
Bullycide has been a reoccurring problem in schools all over America and takes place all around the world. In 2010 a group of people from the ages of thirteen to fifty traveled across the country and performed a theatrical production inspired by a book called Bullycide in America compiled by Brenda High. The book is made up of storied from parents who have lost their children to suicide because of bullying. They called this performance The Bullycide Project.
This project allowed individuals to bring this social issue to light and try to make a change. They performed in many schools and brought awareness to an ongoing problem. “ Depicting the stories of bullycide individuals, meeting and working with their families, has been a humbling experience and an incredible journey.
Kevin Epling, father of Matt Epling who died by bullycide in July 2002, once said to us: “To the World You May be One Person, but to One Person You are the World.”
It is for this reason that we do what we do. We will continue to be that “one” person. To “speak for those who can’t.” (The Bullycide Project, Trust Theater Ensemble).
Bullying can affect people in many ways. Performances like The Bully Project brings awareness to this serious issue and resonates with people who may have been bullied and had feelings of hopelessness or bystanders who have witnessed the effects of bullying. This group has been performing since October 2010 and has been providing hope for those who don’t believe their lives matter.
We know about bullying and suicide together, but we don’t understand that the involvement of bullying, along with other factors, can increase the chances of someone engaging in suicidal behaviors. To be clear, suicide is not the natural response of being bullied, and shouldn’t be normalized. That’s why bullycide is a big threat to our society. We must become aware of the risk factors that occur in a bully victim and stray them away from suicidal behaviors. Also, being able to relate causes and effects of a bullying event. The implementation of evidence based, action-oriented prevention is what’s going to increase awareness and hopefully prevent any more deaths from bullycide.
Bullycide. (2018, June 2). Retrieved March 20, 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201806/bullycide
Marr, N. (2011, February). BULLYCIDE: DEATH AT PLAYTIME – 2nd Edition.
Retrieved March 17, 2019, from https://bullyonline.org/old/schoolbully/bullycid.htm
Bullycide Archives. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2019, from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/tag/bullycide
- (n.d.). What Is Bullying. Retrieved March 22, 2019, from https://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/index.html
- (n.d.). Facts About Bullying. Retrieved March 22, 2019, from https://www.stopbullying.gov/media/facts/index.html#stats
Preventing Suicide |Violence Prevention Injury Center CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/fastfact.html?
The Bullycide Project. (2015, September 30). Retrieved March 22, 2019, from https://www.smore.com/061b2-the-bullycide-project
Belchere, K. (2010, Nov 03). “Bullycide” A sadly new pandemic. University Wire Retrieved from http://libproxy.adelphi.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest- com.libproxy.adelphi.edu/docview/1764340961?accountid=8204
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Bullying prevention is a growing research field that investigates the complexities and consequences of bullying. There is also a complex relationship between bullying and suicide.
Visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/index.html and identify resources for preventing bullying
and assisting children who have been bullied.
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