They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
• Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
• Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support. Effects of Bullying The severity of bullying is often undermined by the following misguided statements:
• “Bullying is just a normal part of growing up” • “It helps children deal with the cruelties of the ‘real world’”
• “It helps sensitive children toughen up” These opinions are extremely detrimental to the development and safety of children. The effects of bullying can be devastating, as they often continue long into adulthood and drive countless children into depression or self-harm. Some will even attempt or commit suicide. When left unaccounted for, bullying doesn’t just affect the target and the children who are bullying, but everyone who is exposed to the environment in which it occurs – most commonly at school. Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern. Bullying can affect mental, physical and emotional health during school years and into adulthood. It can lead to physical injury, social or emotional problems and in some cases, even death. Bullied children and teens are more likely to experience depression, anxiety and sometimes long-term damage to self-esteem.
Kids who are bullied
Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:
• Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
• Health complaints
• Decreased academic achievement— GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
Kids Who Bully Others
Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviours into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:
• Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
• Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
• Engage in early sexual activity
• Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
• Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults Bystanders Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:
• Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
• Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
• Miss or skip school
Impact on schools
Schools that do not take significant action against bullying are more likely to: • Create a negative environment based on a culture of fear and disrespect
• Have poor student engagement, staff retention and parent satisfaction
• Give students the impression that teachers have little control and do not care
• Instil insecurity, low self-esteem and lack of ambition in their students
• Fail in inspiring students to reach their full academic potential