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The Impact of Bullying on Children and Adults

“Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death amongst young people,” according to the CDC, which is an alarming statistic. The harsh reality is, bullying does not discriminate or have limitations.  While most of us think bullying is limited to children, teens & tweens, the truth is, adults can bully and be bullied just the same. Bullying is defined by Google as “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.” Bullying can cause a person to have negative feelings about themselves and ultimately effect one’s mental health.

School is often where bullying starts for children, but it doesn’t stop there.  Cyberbullying makes it possible for children and adults to be targeted anytime, and often in a larger more public and permanent location – online.  Texting and other forms of social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, allow a bully to say or write something without seeing the person’s reaction or response, which can make it seem less harmful to the one bullying. Did you know 34% of students reported experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetime and 15% of students admitted to cyberbullying others?

Now more than ever, it is important to raise awareness on the negative impact of bullying for both children and adults.  Parents can take an active role by speaking with their children on how to speak up against bullies. Not addressing youth bullying can lead to bullying into adulthood and have negative impacts on future relationships (at work, or at home). Parents should get involved, along with teachers and other professionals, to stop bullying when they see it, or when they perceive bullying is taken place.

For adults, the workplace can also be home to bullying.  Often times a co-worker who teases or jokes with others, does not see themselves as a bully. Only the person who is being bullied really knows how much of an impact those ‘joking’ comments actually have on an individual.  Just like children, adults should not stay silent about bullying (whether it’s happening to them, or they see a co-worker being bullied.)  Those who experience bullying (no matter the age) risk mental health illnesses that can effect both mental and physical health.

To help visualize the concept of what it is like to be bullied, below is a video of how a teacher shows her students how bullying causes hurt someone on the inside, although you can’t always see the effects on the outside.

Negative words can affect the lives of people all ages.  Sharing this video with children can help them visualize how one’s words have an effect on people and hopefully prevent bullying from starting.

Additional Reading:
Bullying & Suicide
Cyberbulling and Social Media