Bullying is different from teasing. Bullying is deliberate. It is meant to cause emotional or physical harm to the person being bullied. Bullying is prevalent across cultures and countries. The definition of bullying is “persistent threatening and aggressive physical behavior or verbal abuse directed toward other people, especially those who are younger, smaller, weaker, or in some other situation of relative disadvantage.” 1
Who becomes a bully?
There are many factors that contribute to a person becoming a bully. A person who has been bullied is more likely to bully others. Another is that the person has poor self-esteem. One reason could be that the person lacks security and love at home. Another reason could be that the person had overexposure to violence at home, in their neighborhood, or in the media.
Types of bullying
There are different ways in which a person is bullied. It could be
- by threats,
- physical or verbal abuse, to name a few.
Giving names to a person is one form of bullying that can take a more serious turn into ‘ragging’. Ragging was a very common form of teasing and was not taken seriously in the early days.
There have been some cases where students committed suicide due to ragging. Insulting a person can cause psychological damage to the person being bullied. A subtle form of bullying is spreading rumors about a person and tarnishing his or her image. In a group, deliberately excluding or ignoring a person is another way to bully.
Cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent in the present time. In cyberbullying, the bullies use mobile phones, computers, or other electronic media. The identity of the bully is not easily known because they are not face-to-face with the person.
Effects of bullying
There could be physical and psychological effects on the person being bullied. Depending on the type of bullying, the person can be physically injured. The severity depends on the type of action. The physical injuries could range from not so serious to very dangerous, from causing physical harm to even losing one’s life. Pushing a person into water who does not know how to swim can cause him to drown. The psychological effects can be of greater consequence and could last a lifetime. A person who is constantly bullied can develop problems like sleeping problems, bedwetting, issues with eating, poor grades in school, and low self-esteem. Some of these problems could lead to issues like anxiety, depression, and sometimes even suicide. Apart from the aforementioned consequences, bullying can have far-reaching consequences.
What could be done to stop bullying?
When it comes to bullying, we always see a person being bullied and a person bullying, in other words, ‘a victim’ and ‘an offender’.
Here, the bully is considered a problem. Whereas we must look at the problem from a different perspective.
The person who is the ‘bully’ must be understood. He could be trying to cope with some past traumatic experiences. The bully must, at some point, have been bullied himself or herself.
A person who feels insecure or is jealous of something or someone
The best solution is to cut the chase, talk to the person who is bullying, and never endure, bear, or let yourself be bullied.
The most dangerous situation for any person subject to bullying is when the victim starts isolating himself or herself from everyone and goes into their shell.
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