Teenage bullying is not a novel act amongst kids in the teenage or adolescent age bracket. In fact, it has become a pandemic in recent years and is a major problem faced by children in schools. According to statistics, one out of four teenagers is bullied at school, over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year and approximately 160,000 teenagers skip school every day because of bullying. Dr. Carl Pickhardt, an American published author, and psychologist, in his book titled: Why good kids act cruel, was able to vividly explain why cruel behaviors like bullying are perhaps unavoidably evident in the teenage years of a child.
What is Bullying? According to Merriam Webster, Bullying is the abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful with the intent to hurt physically, mentally or emotionally. This behavior is often repeated or habitual. The person who engages in a bullying act is often called a bully while the individual being bullied is called the victim.
Bystanders are also directly or indirectly linked to a bullying event. Bystanders are those who watch bullying happen or hear about it. Some bystanders encourage and even join in the bullying while some directly intervene to defend the victim or seek help. The etymology of the word bully unveiled that in the 1530s, the meaning of the word was sweetheart or lover or brother. However, it is appalling to discover the progressive deterioration of the word, making it acquire a negative sense during the 17th century.
Bullying can take several dimensions. It can be exercised by an individual and also by a group of teenagers usually called a clique or gang. When more than one person engages in bullying, it is called mobbing. Physical, verbal and emotional bullying are all forms of bullying that can occur individually or simultaneously. Physical bullying refers to the damage to the victim’s body or possessions. It involves acts like fighting, kicking, punching, and usage of weapons. Physical bullying is rampant among boys. Verbal bullying entails the use of slanderous statements that cause the victim to undue emotional distress. It involves taunting, teasing, mocking, using derogatory terms and it’s common amongst teenage girls. Emotional bullying affects a victim’s emotional state negatively. It includes provoking others, belittling and spreading rumors. Another form of bullying called Cyberbullying has been on an increase. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying occurs via computers or cellphones, over the internet, by means of text messages, online social networks, chatrooms or blogs.
Does bullying have any effect? Yes! It certainly does. Bullying affects both the bully and victim negatively. Victims are more likely to suffer from depression, anxieties, health issues like fatigue, headaches, poor performances in school, low grades. Victims also suffer from the thought of committing suicides and some eventually carry it out. Due to lack of appropriate social skills, bullies perform poorly in school and have a poor perception of the school environment, are more likely to be involved in criminal activities and are also exposed to psychiatric disorders.
Ever wondered why teenagers show cruelty? Ever been puzzled as to why teenagers engage in cruel acts like bullying? You aren’t left out, because it has been a recurrent question asked by many. Teenagers bully others for several reasons. These include the following:
Teenagers that are raised from abusive homes tend to engage in bullying than other children due to their exposure to violence. Parents of these teenagers often times have a strained or estranged relationship with them. Also, sibling bullying can lead to bullying at school. When a younger sibling is being bullied, to gain a sense of power and increase self-esteem, he or she then bully others.
2. BULLYING FOR FUN
Some teenagers view bullying as a source of entertainment and pleasure. They derive pleasure from hurting other kids. Those that lack parental attention may engage in it.
3. PAST TRAUMA
Some teenage victims who have been bullied in the past may engage in bullying as a form of retaliation. When they bully others, they feel vindicated and justified.
Some teenagers engage in bullying to exercise control and dominance. For instance, physically strong teenagers may bully weaker or smaller teenagers because of the power they have.
Teenagers also engage in bullying to gain notoriety in school. They bully others to gain social power at school and may also diminish the social status of another person.
Teenagers also bully others due to peer pressure from friends and the need to fit in a particular circle or clique.
Parents and teachers in school have huge roles to play in order to curb the act of bullying. Parents need to create a cordial and open relationship with their children, monitor them closely particularly those that may have tendencies to engage in bullying or become victims. Teachers should also device means to stop bullying in schools and help teenagers by creating ways of communication and treating each other in a healthy and not cruel manner.
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