Bullying: There is No Good, Just Bad and Ugly
For victims of bullying, every day is more stressful than the last. Even on days when the bully is quiet, the victim is still anxious. From his perspective, each day has the potential to bring another attack, more teasing, more humiliation and more pain. Our Boca Raton injury attorneys have protected and helped victims fight against these bullies for over 15 years.
Bullying involves some form of abuse inflicted by an individual or group toward another individual. It comes in the form of cyber, verbal, and mental abuse, and includes spreading rumors, yelling derogatory terms or obscenities, sending threatening texts or emails, posting embarrassing or humiliating information online, or using a size advantage to intimidate.
More than half of all adolescents and teens have been the victim of cyberbullying. Some statistics put the number closer to 80 percent for high school students. Cyberbullying includes placing something embarrassing, harassing or threatening on the Internet or via cell phones, usually on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Verbal bullying is done in a more direct manner, usually face to face. The abuse includes forms of mental intimidation. Roughly 77 percent of all students report being bullied verbally, with most experiencing bullying between the 6th and 10 th grades.
Students are not just at risk during school hours, especially with cyberbullying. It can occur before or after school, during sports practices, in locker rooms, or anywhere kids are likely to be away from the eyes and ears of supervisory adults. Other students often are made uncomfortable by the bullying but don’t know how to react to protect the victim, so they do nothing or pile on.
For victims of bullying, the effects can be severe and long lasting. Most suffer from varying degrees of depression, which expands into other areas of life. Consequences can include lowered of self-esteem, anxiety, increased absence from school, and real or perceived physical illness. Students may experience symptoms that mimic physical illness, but are the result of anxiety and depression caused by bullying. The ultimate goal is to avoid the bully by staying home from school.
The perpetrator usually already suffers from low self-esteem, and bullies as a way to feel better about themselves by putting others down. Bullies can also be trying to gain power over someone they perceive to be a threat, whether in athletics, academics, or other context. Bullies may also be seeking attention, albeit negative attention, from parents, teachers, or administrators. Lower-than-average academic or athletic performance and low social status among peers are two key reasons kids begin bullying.
Shiner Law Group’s personal injury attorneys stress the importance that parents and schools both should begin to instruct students on how to react to bullying, whether they are a victim or a bystander. Most bullied students keep to themselves, telling neither parents nor school authorities, for fear or repercussion. There may even be additional threats levied for telling on the bully.
The prevention of bullying is the most obvious way to handle it. However, it is often difficult to reach students who need the guidance. School policies against bullying can be helpful and give students a means of reporting what they see. These programs should also include resources to help potential bullies channel their negative energy. Policies can offer clear definitions of what bullying is and what the consequences are. Family education is also key in the prevention of bullying. Students who bully may be modeling similar behavior that they are seeing or even experiencing at home. Regardless of what programs are put into place for prevention, one key element is to have swift and severe consequences.
Regardless of when or where bullying occurs, both the victim and the perpetrator will require post-bullying treatment in order to overcome the lasting effects and root cause of the problem. If you or a loved one has been a victim of bulling in school or out of school to please contact our Boca Raton injury attorneys today at 561-777-7700.