Bullying is always thought of as an act where “a popular boy tries to beat one of his weak classmates during the school break period.” Though, this is a kind of stereotypical thinking. Bullying is just not confined to any particular gender or any act, it can instead happen to anyone at any place. This article focuses on different types of bullying and how bullying affects mental health among children.
According to the UNICEF, bullying is defined as an act that involves the below-mentioned factors-
It is a repetitive and unwanted act.
The act involves a power imbalance.
The behaviour of the act is unwelcomed by the individual who is bullied.
It can be in any form like physically, spreading gossip, through the internet.
Although bullying among students can happen anywhere, in most cases, it happens in classrooms, canteen, playground, and school buses. In the world of digitization, bullying is just not limited to physical or verbal acts. According to UNICEF, “Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms, and mobile phones. It is repeated behaviour, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted.” In the case of cyberbullying, an individual may even feel trapped in their own comfort space as they think there is no escape from it. Research shows that thirty-two per cent of children are a target of cyberbullying.
Whether it is face to face bullying, spreading rumours, verbal abuse, or cyberbullying, each act has a mental, emotional, and physical effect on the individual. Due to various reasons, an individual can be bullied. It can be turned into harassment, especially when the individual is being bullied based on sexual orientation, religion, race, or nationality.
Bullying can affect different people in different ways. The impact of bullying can last for a long time and often leads to psychological issues. Few effects of bullying are mentioned below-
The victim would become emotionally withdrawn and isolate themselves as repetitive, unwanted acts. Constant humiliation among their peers would make them self-contained. They may be even trying to give new reasons each day such that they could get an opportunity to miss school.
Children who are a victim of cyberbullying often feel humiliated, embarrassed, powerlessness and overwhelmed. Research conducted on cyberbullying shows that 93% of cyberbullying victims experience the feeling of powerfulness and sadness in one form or another
When children experience bullying in class or among their peers, they cannot enjoy everyday activities like swings. This often leads to excessive sleeping or excessive eating. Bullying often becomes one of the factors for eating disorders, especially among girls.
Due to bullying, children often isolate themselves and become quieter with their peers and with their parents as they experience low self-confidence and low self-esteem. This further leads to sadness, anxiety, and depression.
Children often tend to score low and, their academic performance tumbles as bullying often leads to a lack of concentration. Children victimized by bullying tend to bunk their classes as they want to avoid their classmates who tend to bully them.
Children, at times, even tend to show anger and irritability at home. They emotionally feel ashamed and feel of being laughed at in public places. This not only makes them experience social anxiety but also face building relationships in the future. They cannot maintain relationships, whether it is with friends, family, or partner.
Due to the stress of bullying, children may even express physical expressions like headaches, insomnia, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach ulcers.
Suppose you notice any school mates, being a victim of bullying or in case any parents or teachers notice any changes in their child’s behaviour. In that case, it is essential to speak to the child and take the changes seriously. Bullying is often taken lightly by parents and teachers. They think it is normal to experience this, but, we underestimate the impact of bullying on an individual. Whether physical, emotional, or psychological, any pattern changes are signs of more significant problems that must be evaluated and discussed with a psychologist.
If you think you are being bullied, you can approach your school counsellor or your parents or the person you feel most safe with. Communicating is the first and most crucial step. In case you think you are not comfortable talking to anyone around you, you must reach out to the national helpline number.