The Long-Lasting Impact of Bullying
We read about the horrific affects of bullying in the news almost on a daily basis. Extreme cases of cyberbullying can lead to suicide which fortunately is the rare exception.
But nevertheless, bullying is serious and leaves scars on it’s victims for years to come.
The results of a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry that spanned five decades found “children who are bullied and especially those who are frequently bullied continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure.”
This study shows how serious the impact of bullying is on a vulnerable child. The results highlight the need for parents to know if bullying is occurring so that they can intervene and provide the victimized child with the appropriate counseling to minimize the health risks. Depression, anxiety disorders and suicidal thoughts are some of the emotional outcomes for those bullied. Substance abuse also increases among those cyberbullied as they attempt to self-medicate for the emotional pain they feel after being humiliated, embarrassed and injured by online posts. Future social and economic outcomes of those victimized are greatly affected well into adulthood.
Of course, cyberbullying didn’t exist when the study began in 1958. The world has changed drastically since then. Digital cameras, GPS, computers, and smartphones didn’t exist. It’s hard to imagine a world without Google, Facebook, Amazon, texting or selfies.
Cyberbullying arrived with the advent of computers and now, with social networking and the use of mobile devices, the problem is growing. Most states have passed laws to help curb cyberbullying, but some don’t think they’re very effective.
One in four kids are cyberbullied today in the U.S. No-Bullying.com says the number is actually higher and that half of kids report being cyberbullied. Clearly, more needs to done to break this pandemic.
Kids go to school and at the end of the day when the bell rings, the cyberbullying doesn’t end. It continues in the privacy of their home, on their computers or mobile device in their bedrooms. There is no escape from the 24/7 harassment. And unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying is often anonymous so that the victim can’t identify their attacker. It also doesn’t remain in a limited area like a school playground but can spread across the online world, from student to student, school to school.