What is bullying?
Bullying is the act of intentionally hurting someone mentally or physically. As teenagers we all go through bullying at one point in life. Whether a kid calls you a name when you walk across school or a group girls trip you in the bathroom. Bullying is a very serious issue and most prevalent in teenagers. The teenage years are extremely important, during these years we understand who we are and who we want to be. Being bullied can negatively impact a victims life, lower their confidence, self esteem and even make them not appreciate life. Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior. According to UNESCO, 65% of girls and 62% of boys are bullied across the world. This staggering high percentage shows the importance and how big of an issue bullying is in today’s world.
There are various types of bullying and each of there are equally bad:
Physical bullying is the most obvious type of bullying. This is when someone uses violence and physical strength to gain power and belittle someone. Physical bullies are usually stronger and bigger than their peers. Physical bullying is the easiest to be identified and the effects of the bullying can be easier to spot. Examples of physical bullying include kicking, punching, slapping, and being overly aggressive.
As teenagers we are spending more and more time on the internet and social media. Cyber bullying is bullying that happens through phones and laptops on social media. Cyberbullying rates have been constantly rising and is a very serious issue in today’s world. This includes posting harmful photos, creating fake pages, issuing online threats, hate comments, phishing, and many more. This has become a more widespread issue as bullies can say things to the victims which they wouldn't say in real life and they have much less risk of getting caught.
Mental bullying is when the bully uses words and emotions to hurt someone. This includes verbal and emotional bullying. This type of bullying can mentally affect someone and cause all sorts of insecurities to rise. This includes name calling, insulting, purposely leaving a person out, spreading rumours, and/or intentionally embarrassing someone in public.
Bullying is not OKAY
Bullying of any form can have a long term negative impact on the victim. Bullying is not just a harmless part of growing up it is a very serious issue and has various impacts on everyone. The most immediate effect of being bullied is it can reduce a teenager’s interest in going to school, studying and life in general. Bullying also leads to thoughts of worthlessness, heightened anxiety, fear and distress. Not only is the victim/target affected but also the bully themselves and the bystanders too. Teenagers who bully others have said to develop mental illnesses and other anti-social behaviour as they grow older. They also tend to have gone through traumatic experiences in the past that lead them to want to gain power by bullying someone else. Bystanders tend to feel lost, confused and unsafe when witnessing bullying.
How can we help?
Bullying can be really tough to handle, especially when going through something this damaging alone. The most obvious thing to do when you are getting bullied or you see someone getting bullied is telling an adult. However sometimes, many of us don’t feel comfortable telling them or you think involving them would worsen the situation. If you feel like this you should reach out to your friends or a trusted person to talk about what’s happening. Sometimes talking to the bully and standing up for yourself can be extremely helpful. We should also keep in mind that sometimes what we may consider bullying may just be a joke for the other person. So we should talk to the bully and make sure that you're not just overthinking or assuming things.
Bullying can lead to suicide (trigger warning: mention of suicide)
Though bullying isn’t the only reason teenagers have suicidal thoughts it plays a very important role. Bullying avargrates depression and increases the risk of suicide for both the victim and the bully. Bullying can cause victims to feel worthless as mentioned before. This can lead teenagers to question themselves and eventually lead to suicide. We all should remember that just because you’re being bullied you shouldn’t be a reason to suicide. In this age, people bully people intentionally and/or intentionally. We have to make sure that we talk to the bully and clear things up if it was a misunderstanding. Even if you are being bullied, you have your whole life ahead of you, college, job and everything else. Ending everything because someone who doesn’t matter called you a name doesn’t make sense. Joking about suicide is also not very appreciated and can trigger a lot of unwanted emotions is some people.
Plaintiff, Bully or Bystander every person involved in this whirling cycle of mental torture it affected. Being teenagers, words people say or words we hear affect us directly, some leading to an eternity of mental health consequences! It’s time to put an end to the Bullying culture, don’t just witness a crime, stand up and voice for change!
Writer - Ankitha Ganesan