A truancy report in 2006 stated that 170,000 children missed school because of bullying and with the rise of the internet and cyber bullying, this number has only risen. Once thought as a way of ‘adding to their character’ and making children tougher, bullying is now recognized as a traumatic experience which affects children and adults all alike. The emotional and psychological impact on the bullied individual has been thoroughly observed but the physical effects are less well-known.
The psychological effects of bullying can vary and the severity can often be dependent on how long the individual is bullied and how quickly the problem is resolved. Many children can recover from their ordeal with minor anxiety if the bullies are dealt with strictly and quickly. Anxiety disorders, depression and even Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can all occur as a result of bullying. These can be easily hidden, and the bullies will often make the bullied feel as if they cannot tell anyone either through fear or shame. However, the physical signs of bullying can be far more telling as they are harder to hide.
There is a difference between the signs of physical bullying and the physical signs themselves. The signs of being physically bullied may be cuts, bruises and torn clothing. However, there are other physical signs which is the body’s way of reacting to stress. An upset stomach, especially before school is a symptom of anxiety; the same can be said of tension headaches or fluctuating appetite and subsequently weight. This constant stress on the body can develop into more serious health problems later on, like high blood pressure, if not addressed.
Bullying can, and often does, have lasting lifelong effects on the victim. Being bullied effects the victims self esteem which are even more significant when the victim already has had self esteem issues. Many victims need counseling to come to grips with the bullying and to help rebuild their lives as it can lead to depression, panic attacks, and physical ailments such as ulcers.
Children who are bullied often suffer academically due to the fact that they fear going to school where the source of their stress resides. Some children are so affected by bullying that they choose not to further their education due to fear of having to face bullying in other atmospheres such as college.
Many people who are bullied are so hurt by the cruel treatment that they contemplate suicide and some actually attempt and succeed in taking their own lives. Another serious issue for the victims of bullying is that the friends they have turn their backs on them because they are afraid of being the outcast or the target. This further alienates the victim from their normal world.
Also, for the victims, being bullied is a whole other learning experience. Sometimes the victim, out of anger and lack of control of their own lives, seek out someone who is weaker than they are and target them; hence the victim turns into the bully. These are all serious effects that can truly change the victim’s life and outlook on the future. This is why that in all bullying cases, it is imperative that parents, teachers, and school officials speak to the children immediately about their bullying incident or ask them about their everyday at school.