The Emotional Toll of Bullying in Schools

Types of Bullying

  • The website StopBullying.gov identifies three main types of bullying -- physical, verbal or social bullying, such as spreading rumors or excluding people. Bullying happens mostly in school, but thanks to technology, students can be victims of cyberbullying anywhere, especially through the use of social media sites or text messaging. Warning signs of bullying include sleep problems, refusal to go to school, loss of friends and physical injuries.

Effects on Victims

  • Victims of bullying often experience several emotional issues, some of which they may continue to battle as adults. Depression, anxiety, feelings of sadness, loneliness and losing interest in activities are just some of the emotional effects students may face. Victims also report a loss of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. Sometimes, these emotional issues can have tragic and drastic results: In all but three of the major school-shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had been victims of bullying.

Effects on Bullies

  • Kids who bully others are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, which can lead to emotional problems such as changes in personality, anxiety, problems with learning and memory loss. They also are more likely to be bullies as adults and abuse their partners, spouses or even their own children.

Effects on Witnesses

  • Kids who see bullying are at risk for having increased mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Some kids who witness bullying often may begin to feel unsafe in school. They also may feel sad and helpless, afraid to say or do anything out of fear that the bully may turn to them as their next victim.

Preventing Bullying

  • StopBullying.gov states that entire communities must work together to prevent bullying in schools. Schools should use a variety of communication tools with students and parents to build a community of respect and acceptance. There should be clear rules in place about bullying that help students recognize it, explain how to report it and detail consequences for those who bully others. School staff also should be specially trained in bullying prevention and intervention.

Related Articles
You Might Also Like