The effects of bullying on children, pre-teens and high school students can be devastating and tragic.
There can be no divisions. All of us, regardless if we are educators, parents, family members, peers or even bystanders, must stand together with a common commitment to report, intervene or offer assistance when we see one or more people inflicting physical or psychological distress on another person. Bullying is an issue that affects the lives of all children, whether it’s the ones bullied, the ones responsible for the bullying or those watching it from the sidelines. The growth of the internet and social media over the past couple of decades has added a new, disturbing component to what is considered “standard” schoolyard bullying, as victims are now attacked online and through texts and instant messaging.
In short—bullying can now follow you anywhere, and the statistics are disturbing.
National statistics show that 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6-12 have experienced some form of bullying, according to stopbullying.gov. Approximately 30 percent of youths surveyed admit to bullying a fellow classmate, and 70 percent of young people said they have witnessed bullying in their schools. Fifteen percent of students were the victims of cyber-bullying. Ask any kid, and they’ll be happy to tell you:
Going to school these days can be hard, stressful work. Between classes, schoolwork, sports, and other extracurricular activities, kids can find themselves torn in all different directions. Add in the social and societal constructs of being a kid or young adult, such as finding one’s circle of friends and learning to navigate within that circle, and it can be an intimidating prospect.
That’s why school-age bullying has become such a problem. Every kid loves to be liked and accepted by his or her peers. When a learning environment becomes toxic, when kids find themselves the target of cruel taunts, rumors, innuendo or physical assaults, the added daily anxiety can become too much to bear.
No one is born a bully.
Some kids have been bullied themselves, and then they bully in turn. Others pick it up from the adults in their lives or older kids.
We all must work hard to promote kindness, both in school and outside of it.