October 15, 2013
Children who are bullied can suffer harmful emotional and psychological effects which could last for years.
Approximately one in three children in grades six through ten are victims of bullying. And about six in ten teenagers witness bullying in school.
Rebecca Loschen, mental health therapist at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, describes bullying.
“... there is an idea out there that bullying is just part of growing up, so it is often ignored by adults and kids are told to ignore it. But bullying is an act of aggression with the intent to harm. It depends on the intent of the child that’s bullying. So any behavior that’s done with the expressed purpose to harm someone else is bullying.”
The hours that kids can get bullied are increasing because of social media. It used to be that kids could go home and be safe, but now they get texts, tweets and Facebook messages late into the night. Loschen says children who are bullied are likely to experience depression, anxiety and loneliness. She suggests ways of dealing with bullying.
“The problem with bullying is that it isolates the victim. Other kids tend to stand by and let it happen because they don’t know what to do or they are afraid of being bullied themselves. So the current trend is to get kids to stop being bystanders and stand up to bullies in their school even if they are not the ones being bullied.”
Loschen says that parents should listen to their children and encourage them to report the bullying to their teacher or another adult. If the child has lasting psychological effects, see a pediatrician or mental health counselor. More information about bullying can be found at www.stopbullying.gov.