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By Kab. Jireh Micah Vargas

BULLYING is an action that is aggressive and unwanted among school-aged children that involve perceived power imbalance. Youngsters who bully use their power — such as access to embarrassing information, physical strength, or popularity — to abuse or control others. Actions of bullying include spreading rumors, making threats, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

There are three types of bullying — Verbal bullying, Social bullying, and Physical bullying.

1. Verbal bullying is saying and writing mean things, which include the following below:

–        Teasing

–        Taunting

–        Name-calling

–        Inappropriate sexual comments

–        Threatening to cause harm

Now, others may be surprised why ‘Teasing’ is included on the list since to them it is just a normal act you do with your friends or your ‘Barkada’, but some take teasing overboard, which, as a result, could affect or diminish someone’s self-esteem.

2. Social bullying is something many may have done without being aware of it. An example of this action is when you tell others not to be friends with someone just because you don’t like that particular person. Some of those that include Social bullying are:

–        Leaving someone out on purpose

–        Telling others not to be friends with someone

–        Embarrassing someone in public

–        And spreading rumors about someone.

3. Physical bullying involves hurting someone’s body or possessions, which includes:

–        Hitting

–        Tripping/Pushing

–        Spitting

–        Making mean or offensive hand gestures

–        Taking someone else’s things

 Bullying can happen inside or outside school grounds, during or after school. Bullying mostly happens inside the building, a significant percentage also happens in places like the school bus and playgrounds. Some signs that may point to bullying are:

–        Unexplainable injuries

–        Lost or destroyed clothing, electronics, and books etc.

–        Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

–        Change in eating habits

–        Declining grade, losing interest in school work or not wanting to go to school

–        Difficulty in sleeping and nightmares

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Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are likely to experience depression and anxiety, increased feeling of sadness and loneliness. Changes in sleep and eating patterns also occur, as well as loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, which may persist into adulthood. Not only the ones who get bullied are affected, but also those who bully. Kids who bully others can eventually get engaged in violent and other risky behavior into adulthood. They can get into fights, vandalize property and could end up dropping out of school.

There are many warning signs that may symbolize that someone is being affected by bullying — either bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, like depression or substance abuse. Unfortunately, many teenagers are forced to deal with bullying while their parents and teachers are not made aware of it. It is shown that persistent bullying can lead to or even worsen the feeling of rejection, despair, exclusion, and isolation, as well as depression and anxiety, which can lead to SUICIDAL behavior.

Young people who are perceived as different from their peers are often at risk of being bullied. But why won’t they just ask for help? Wouldn’t that be easier rather than tolerating the bullies and in essence, losing self-esteem, feeling insecure and even get hurt? Well, this may be because bullying can make a child feel independent; kids may want to handle it on their own to be in control again. Some fear being seen weak or a tattletale who blabbers about their problem and asks for help. It is a humiliating experience and other kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, regardless of it being true or false.

 Other kids may already feel socially isolated; they may feel like no one cares or could understand them that is why they do not talk to their parents or someone about their problems. Bullying is such a cruel act that lead many students to fail to focus on their studies. Some even end up having their lunch inside the bathroom stalls to avoid the bullies. It is really a bad behavior that needs to be corrected at the earliest.

I hope that this article can be an eye-opener to everyone, as well as to inform others about this horrendous behavior of some of the kids in school. To all parents, we know you are busy with your work but I hope you can all give time to ask how your kids are doing at school, making sure they are not getting bullied or bullying others. And to all the young adults out there, don’t be scared to inform your parents about someone who’s bullying you, especially if they do it physically. “Be A Friend to Win A Friend!”