Category: Bullying

Findings: Bullying Leads to Future Health Problems

For a subject that has quieted down for a while, there is new evidence that those who are “bullied by their peers actually suffer from worse long-term mental health effects than children who are maltreated by adults.” It makes sense to me. Your parents are supposed to be on your back to make you a better person. Your friends, or acquaintances, are supposed to treat you like one of them. When they resort to bullying the bullied kid probably doesn’t understand why his or her coequal is doing this. A study from The Lancet Psychiatry came up with the conclusion and the findings were a surprise. Their scientific discovery showed that since the children spent more time with other kids than their parents, the negative results are more pronounced. Additional results showed kids mistreated by adults were more likely to be bullied. The researchers compare bullying to the victim to being a caged animal with nowhere to escape, with the repetitive nature of the act being the most harmful part. The answer, they say, is to stop it in the schools where most of it originates. If parents suspect bullying, they should talk to their kids immediately, then contact school officials.

DARK MONEY SPENDING IS BULLYING?

You thought bullying was only for kids in school that took advantage of those who either couldn’t or didn’t defend themselves. Not, says Dan Merica, in the CNN article, “Clinton decries outside spending in pricey N.C. Senate race.” The Presidential hopeful said, “Elections come down often to who has got more money, who is pedaling more fear and who turns out.” Well, both sides do it, but Republicans are perfectionists at pedaling fear. And the GOP always seems to get their people out to vote. My wife and I are lifetime progressives and have never missed an election. Another comment, “We teach our kids not to bully and that is all they [dark ads] are doing.” Some think the mid-terms could be a tossup.

BULLYING SHOULD BE A CRIME AND PARENTS ACCOUNTABLE

Most of us are in no position to judge the reason some kids and adults are bullies. It is said that bullies have an inferiority complex, thus, this is their way to feel superior. I was bullied once by a kid in grammar school who was half my size. I won but learned later that he was from a broken family and had to fight for everything he got. But I do not remember anyone in those days–or even when my kids were in school–resorting to suicide as a result of being bullied. If my kids had done it, they would have been grounded for life. Mark O’Mara, the former attorney for George Zimmerman and a family practice and criminal defense attorney, has tried to get a law passed to outlaw bullying in Florida with no success. He is trying again.

My take is that schools, where a lot of bullying takes place, should be more vigilant in monitoring episodes. When discovered, the parents should be notified at once and told to take measures to prevent it in the future. If the same child is a repeat offender, he or she should be suspended from school and the parents then held accountable. Yes, that would take a law against bullying.

Bullying and a lack of gun control go hand in hand

New Jersey’s Ramsey School District just paid $4.2 million to the family of Sawyer Rosenstein for bullying he experienced with a punch to the stomach while he was in Eric Smith Middle School that left him paralyzed from the waist down.  The bully had struck before and was known by the school.  Three months before the incident Rosenstein warned the school he was being bullied, asking for help.  Sawyer is now a freshman at Syracuse University.
Proactive Behavioral-Management exclaims, “If anyone believes that bullying doesn’t take its toll on families, schools, and society take a look at the statistics below:”
·       60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied, while 16% of staff believe that students are bullied.
·       160,000 students stay home from school everyday due to bullying. (NEA)
·       30% of students who reported they had been bullied said they had at times brought weapons to school.
·       A bully is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated by the age of 24.
·       A bully is 5 times more likely to have a serious criminal record when he grows up.
·       2/3 of students who are targets become bullies.
·       20% of all children say they have been bullied.
·       20% of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide with the last 12 months.
·       25% of students say that teachers intervened in bullying incidents while 71% of teachers say they intervened.
·       The average child has watched 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school.
·       In schools where there are bullying programs bullying is reduced by 50%.
And here’s another fact that should make the public take another look at the National Rifle Assn.’s crusade to loosen or eliminate gun laws.  “Bullying was a factor in 2/3 of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the US Secret Service.”  Fortunately, Arizona’s latest stupid gun law to allow guns in colleges was vetoed by the Governor.  Add to that a loss of employment amounting to $19 billion and a drop in productivity of $3 billion due to workplace bullying.




According to the Bully Free Program, “Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior that is intentional, hurtful, (physical and psychological), and/or threatening and persistent (repeated). There is an imbalance of strength (power and dominance).”  Further, the mistreatment must be intentional, hurtful (physical or psychological), threatening, fear of harm and safety, and occur more than once, although some think once is enough.
Bullying by exclusion

There is both physical and verbal bullying and the above site, which I urge you to see if you have a problem or are just interested, explains what each is about.  It shows the social/relational downside that can humiliate, embarrass and destroy reputations.  Boys and girls are both bullies and there is cyber bullying which I will cover at more length later.  Every 7 minutes an elementary child is bullied on the playground but the onset is actually between 3 and 4 years of age.

It is a common theme in school shootings as students retaliate for the bullying; roughly two-thirds of school shooters “felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked, or injured by others. 
Thirty percent of all child suicides can be directly related to bullying, some of which use a gun.  As an example, the worst school shooting ever at Virginia Tech in 2007 resulted in part by bullying of the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui, according to students who knew him. 
The Bully Free Program study covers the typical characteristics of the bullied as well as warning signs that your child might bully someone.  Folks, these are startling facts.
And here’s the most onerous fact of all: “Twenty-five percent of teachers see nothing wrong with bullying or put-downs and consequently intervene in only 4 percent of bullying incidents.”
And then there is cyberbullying, which is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person, according to the Breaking Free Blog.  Luke Gilkerson provides facts and statistics that cover everything from types of online bullying to the warning signs of being bullied. 
He says “38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys;39% of social network users have been cyberbullied in some way, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.  “’Hyper-networking’ teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networks) are 110% more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks.”
Suicides from cyberbullying are prevalent and Gilkerson lists several to make his point including Tyler Clementi in 2010, Alexis Skye Pilkington in 2010, Phoebe Prince in 2010 and Amanda Cummings in 2011.  Tragedies that did not have to happen.

So what have we learned so far?  One disturbing fact is that loose guns contribute to the bullying problem in both victims’ retaliation and from those who commit suicide.  It seems that guns play a part of most everything that is bad and contribute little to the protection of those who carry them.  Also, schools do not understand nor do they take this issue seriously enough.  Parents are aware but need to counsel their children more.  It is a problem that will not go away.