Big Ugly Loner Losers Yearning attention – BULLY

Whoever came up with this definition of a bully must have been a victim, the rage in the words already prove the mental torture experienced by the victim. Research has provided enough evidence to highlight the long-lasting health consequences of bullying in childhood. It is now attempting to understand why victims of childhood bullying have troublesome adult life in terms of psychological health, physical health, and overall quality of life.

Bullying has no universal definition but it can be agreed upon that it is the act of causing distress, forcing a child to do something against his will by using threats, violence, or even intimidation. It can include verbal abuse, shaming, name-calling, teasing, stealing belongings, threatening, hitting, sexual comments, or gestures. Studies have identified four groups: bullies, those who bully other children only; victims are the children who are victimized by bullies; bully-victims, who are children involved in bullying other children and also become victims of bullying, and uninvolved or neutral children.

Children victim to persistent bullying are prone to develop anxiety and depression later in life, according to research. Also, studies have shown that children who are bullied may also develop physical illness not only at the time of being bullied but also later in their age. Negative social, mental, and physical health issues caused by bullying are evident up-to 40 years, according to 2014 study at King’s College London. Children who were bullied were also found out to have lower income levels or were unemployed, had lower cognitive functioning, had poorer relationships, and lower educational levels than children who were not bullied. Hence, children who are bullied in their childhood suffer psychologically, socially, financially, and physically in their adulthood.

Childhood traumas caused by bullying are usually difficult to identify, first by the child itself because he’s unaware of how to deal with the feelings and second by the guardians of that child as most children do not share their experience or feel threatened to be bullied again if their guardian takes action upon his complaint. But as professor Louise Arseneault says: “We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing up.” It is important for parents, teachers, and policymakers to intervene and focus efforts on early prevention of problems caused by bullying that have life-long consequences.

As bullying can have both short term and long term effects, following is the list to understand consequences.

Short Term Effects

  • Social detachment
  • Feelings of shame/disgrace
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Changes in dietary pattern
  • Low self-esteem
  • School avoidance
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Bedwetting
  • Higher risk of illness
  • Psychosomatic symptoms (stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, other physical complaints with no known medical cause)
  • Poor school performance
  • Symptoms of depression

Long Term Effects

  • Chronic depression
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Poor general health
  • Self-destructive behavior, including self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulty establishing trusting, reciprocal friendships and relationships

As bullying isn’t restricted to a particular locale, Pakistani schools and understudies are facing a similar issue yet there is no appropriate information about its commonness. As indicated by the Global School-Based Health Survey for Pakistan, which was led in 2009 by the Ministry of Health as a team with the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The overall prevalence of bullying victimization was 41.3%. In male understudies, the prevalence was 45.1%, while among females the predominance was 35.5% (In the recent 30 days).

It is significant to comprehend the circumstance for the bully as well. As it is difficult to empathize with the bully for his/her conduct. It is important for guardians, educators, and schools to understand that bullying accompanies a reason and if not understood can get worse with the time.

Since bullying is a major issue with having both the short and long term consequences for both the victim and the bully it is needed to prevent such cases in schools, colleges, and where applicable. As it happens generally in schools, both the guardians and teachers have a task to carry out. There is no conventional approach or instruction from the Government accessible for educators and schools to comprehend this issue or a guide on the best way to support the victim or bully.

There is a guide given by the US Government on their site to help guardians and educators to understand and manage such issues. They state that each school should set approaches and policies that can clearly describe how students are expected to treat each other. School staff ought to be educated about what bullying is and its types, additionally how to help the affected kids.

With the assistance of guardians, teachers, schools, and psychosocial support this issue can be addressed and improved with appropriate policies and approaches on the public health sector and school level.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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