Bullying and its possible effects on children in today’s society
Bullying is a growing concern in a society where status and exercising power over another human being are increasingly important in developing one’s social circles. Dan Olweus (Norwegian researcher and founder of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program) defines it as an “aggressive behaviour that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power. Most often, it is repeated over time” (Violencepreventionworks.org). School victimization is an especially delicate matter that has only really been in the public eye for the past half century, as more and more researchers and psychologists pointed out its short- and long-term negative effects on targeted individuals. It has since been widely investigated and numerous programs have been developed in an effort to address and prevent the many forms of bullying that exist today. The negative effects of such an abusive behaviour are various and can greatly differ from individual to individual. However, there are three main consequences that can be associated with school bullying, which are: school avoidance, depression/anxiety and even suicidal attempts.
According to Jaana Juvonen "we cannot address low achievement in school while ignoring bullying, because the two are frequently linked". Her study examines the academic achievements of 2300 middle school students and finds direct correlations between low performances and high levels of bullying. It is easy to understand how, for a child that age, marginalization and abuse (may it be verbal, physical or emotional) could lead to decreased achievements in school and low self-esteem. If the negative behaviour persists, the targeted individual could also develop certain physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains, and other physical illnesses, that would unconsciously reinforce the school avoidance phenomenon.
Extended research has been conducted to discover the links between bullying and depression as well. Because depression can be quite difficult to diagnose, specialists collect data about numerous other conditions and attitudes that would constitute warning signs for the condition itself, such as: long lasting sadness, irritability, withdrawal from others, feelings of restlessness, hopelessness, guilt, difficulties concentrating, changes in appetite and sleeping patterns, loss of interest and many others. Bullyingstatistics.org is a great source of information, based on numerous surveys that confirm that bullying (short and long term) can certainly be held accountable for the depression in targeted peers. It also emphasizes on a worrisome fact: depression caused by childhood bullying can stretch into adulthood, its repercussions leaving sometimes permanent damage on the individual. The especially negative effects of cyber-bullying are worth mentioning at this point as they are the ones that are most often linked with depressive episodes. Modern technology has...