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According to the ISPCC 26% of secondary school students either have been bullied or know someone who has been bullied. In a class of 30, that’s seven students.
Bullying is the “use of strength or influence to intimidate someone, usually to force them to do something” and it can take many forms.
Verbal bullying can include name calling, intimidation or talk about how someone looks. Physical bullying is probably the most widely known of all the types. Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, unwanted physical contact or damaging something the person owns. When you think of bullying, physical bullying is probably what first springs to mind.
The thing is, from my own school years, physical bullying is probably not the most common type. In today’s world, we live in a super-connected society. We never have to switch off, never have to disconnect. Long after our school day finishes we are still very much connected to our social life. I’m talking of course about social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media as much as the next person. I think it is one of the greatest technological advancements in modern times. It has connected our world and allows open debate about important topics on a global scale. As Geoffrey Moore said ”We have embarked upon the world’s largest and longest cocktail party, and every issue imaginable is up for grabs.” However, the advantages of social media that many people enjoy, can also be nightmares for others.
Where bullying was once confined to a physical location, it has now gone digital. It allows victims no chance to escape. What once ended in the classroom can now continue into the virtual world. This isn’t news to anyone who has grown up in recent years. It is normal for us. We grew up during the great boom of the internet. We are digital children. Despite that, the number of cases of cyberbullying has never been higher. Why are we content to allow this to happen? Surely, we can’t all plead ignorance?
Bullying can have a massive effect on a person. Teenagers who are bullied are more likely to, at some point in their life, experience depression, anxiety, a lack of self confidence or decreased academic performance. According to stopbullying.gov, students who experience bullying are also much more likely to “miss, skip, or drop out of school.” Students who engage in bullying may also exhibit violent and risky behaviours once in adulthood including, abuse of drugs and alcohol, get into fights, destroy property, and drop out of school.
But what should you do if you are being bullied? According to citizens information, “Bullying behaviour must be challenged or it will become regular and get worse.”. If you are being bullied or are experiencing bullying, talk to your parents, a friend or a teacher you trust.
I believe that the only truly effective way to counteract bullying is education. By educating people about bullying and what bullying is, we can make young people more aware of what they say and how they act. We must break the stigma around asking for help.only then can we put this crisis to bed, once and for all