The social and moral problem encountered by many societies is the phenomenon of bullying and suicide in school. It seems to be increasing at a scandalous rate. However, bullying may occur in any society or time, but what pulls attention to the bullying of children is that it frequently results in murder or suicide.
Bullying involves constant physical or psychological pressure that occurs over time and creates a form of harassment and abuse (Banks, 1997). It is violent behavior that is difficult to define; it takes on the form of foul language, threatening, forcing children out of group activities, ostracizing, and assault. Furthermore, bullying leads to suicide which is an increasing cause of death among children and adolescents. The deliberate taking of one’s life is often the ultimate expression of depression.
Being bullied can extremely affect children’s mental health, particularly as there is an inclination for those who are bullied to mourn in silence. As well as lacking buoyancy, having poor self-esteem and being isolated and lonely, they may develop insecurity and anxiety arising from incessantly feeling under threat. Some may experience sleep problems, eating disorders, phobias, depression, suicidal thoughts, or even post-traumatic stress. Problems of this kind can persist long after the bullying come to an end and create long-term damage that can last into adulthood. Children may also develop physical sickness, as a result, of the anguish and stress they suffer.
According to Matt, Robert, and John, 2009, the peer of an adolescent who tried suicide are vulnerable because suicide is higher in the following situations:
- Among persons with insecure social relationships.
- When a population is self-contained,
- When imitative behavior is common,
- When the element of bravado occurs, and
- When the act is sure to be noticed.
Bullying can have serious consequences for victims and perpetrators. It can at times be challenging to comprehend the distress that bullying can cause to vulnerable children, but even persistent name-calling can make children unhappy. The effects, however, are frequently difficult to estimate as individuals react very differently to comparable situations, which, therefore, have to be judged on their virtues (Macleod and Morris, 1996).
The effects of bullying can be wide-ranging; it can impact children’s schoolwork, their attendance, as well as their psychological and physical well-being (Sharp, 1995). It can lead to unresolved anger and resentment (Tattum and Herbert, 1997). This can develop into dejection, physical disorder, and even suicide if not corrected. Bullying can create a sense of isolation and provoke extreme anxiety in some children. Ongoing, persistent problems can lead to more serious mental health problems, such as school refusal, depression, and suicide (Jacobsen & Bauman, 2007). Bullied children are significantly more likely to report sleep difficulties, bedwetting, feeling sad, headaches and stomachaches. Bullying may result in a lack of self-confidence, difficulty making friends, and withdrawal. For this reason, it is crucial to spot incidents of bullying early so that more deep-seated psychological problems are prevented. For a small percentage of victims, it can have a seriously deliberating effect, ruining their chances of academic and social achievement. Bullying is also one of the major reasons that children run away from home. A relentless campaign of victimization can lead some children to such despair that they believe that suicide is the only way out. Few victims seek help and boys are far less likely to seek help than girls.
The effects of bullying are likely to be greater where children are also experiencing other stressful events at the same time, such as parental divorce or bereavement. It is noteworthy, therefore, that teachers communicate with parents and are aware of pupils’ circumstances.
The antagonistic behavior of bullies, if unrestrained, can cause violence and crime in adult life. Bullying behavior in the early teenage years, for example, has been shown to result in juvenile delinquency and family abuse (Farrington, 1993). Research strongly proposes that bullying is part of a wide-ranging pattern of antisocial behavior, with long-term consequences for society.
Banks, R. (1997). Bullying in schools. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse.
Farrington, D. P. (1993). Understanding and preventing bullying. In Tonry, M. and Morris, N. (eds.) Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research, 17. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Jacobsen, K. E., & Bauman, S. (2007). Bullying in schools: School counselors’ responses to three types of bullying incidents.Professional School Counseling, 11, 1-9.
Macleod, M.,& Morris, S. (1996). Why me? Children Talking to Childline about Bullying. London: Childline.
Matt, D.,Robert, M. R., and John, H. (2009).Delinquency in Society. Surbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Sharp, S. (1995). How much does bullying really hurt? The effects of bullying on the personal wellbeing and educational progress of secondary-aged students.Educational and Child Psychology, 12, 81-88.
Tattum, D., and Herbert, G. (eds.) (1997). Bullying: Home, school and Community. London: David Fulton.