Bullying in our schools is a major issue. While the initial act of bullying may not seem to do damage to the target, the lasting effects can be incredibly damaging. Some will respond to this concept with statements such as "I was bullied when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine." Those people are correct, they were bullied and it had little lasting effect. The question that must be asked is one of duration. Their experiences at the hands of the bullies likely did not last long enough to make a real difference in their lives. Studies are starting to show that the duration of victimization can be as important as the severity when assessing the final impact of bullying.
The findings of a new study reveal numerous long-term adverse effects that bullying can have on a child’s health. The study, the first to study the compounding effects of bullying, involved more than 4,000 children in Elementary through High School. Following both bullies and victims, the results of the study show that bullying is closely associated with poor mental and physical health, low self-esteem and increased depressive behavior. Another study showed strong correlation between children who experienced chronic bullying and increased difficulties with participating in team sports and other physical activities. These children also developed a long term aversion to physical exertion of any kind and suffered from increased weight-related health issues. Both studies confirmed that the longer the period of time a child is bullied, the more severe the damage done and the longer negative impact will last in their life.
More studies on the negative effects of bullying on our youth can be found published in the journal Pediatrics. These are all studies done by experts in pediatric health and reviewed by their peers and they all refute the common arguments made by some that bullying really is not an issue. The results all show the need for strong and effective bullying prevention programs in schools and parents who engage in the lives of their children. The experts all agree that we, as parents and educators, can accomplish amazing things in the lives of our children when we put as much effort into them as the bullies do. When we take the time to talk to them, support them and guide them as they navigate the world we can positively impact their lives. Regardless of the negative they may hear from the bullies, your voice can be more powerful. Take time to make a difference in their lives.
For more information on ways you can help your child and their classmates, contact the Instructors and Staff of Pilsung ATA Martial Arts, experts in Bullying Prevention Programs.