I did a little research before coming here to post this. When it comes to bullying in general it can have numerous effects depending on the different factors present. Some important things to consider are is the bullying direct or indirect? Is the bullying physical, verbal, psychological (emotional and mental)? When does the bullying begin in the persons life (early, late, and so on)? Is the bullying consistent (at least once or twice a week, or is it sporadic)? Does the person have a history with bullying? Age, gender, culture, and such can also be important factors. *[of course all of these types won't only effect one area in a person's life.]
Considering all these things, it doesn't matter who you are or where you are from, because being bullied can have negative physical, emotional, and mental/cognitive effects. Cyberbullying can also be detrimental to the overall wellbeing of a person as a child, adolescent, and later on in young adulthood. Bullying can also negatively effect the bully and some of the short term risks are poor school performance (missed school due to suspensions increases this risk), increased truancy risk, difficulty maintaining social relationships, increased risk of substance abuse. In these situations it generally is referring to bullying at a younger age and the effects it can have in the more immediate sense. Some of the long term effects for the bully are risk of spousal or child abuse, risk of antisocial behavior, substance abuse, and they are less likely to be educated or employed.
That aside, I understand that those who say cruel, insensitive, and hurtful things to other most likely have issues going on inside them spiritually, emotionally, mentally and so on that makes them more inclined to picking on others, but the matter of this fact is that they still have a choice. Even if you are hurting inside doesn't mean you have the right to lash out at others and make them hurt. If you need help, then talk to someone you can trust, I'd even talk to you and try my best to help you, but hurting others is not a healthy way to cope. There is also the possibility that when it comes to online communications people feel less responsible or accountable for their actions (what they say) just because you are online doesn't mean you have a get out of jail free card that gives you permission to be cruel to others. I heard someone say once that for every insult or bad thing someone says to someone it takes five positive or good things to make up for it. Your words have weight and consequences. Your actions do matter. Besides, do you want to be remembered as the person that tore people down, or as the person that treated others with kindness and respect, someone that people generally like being around and admire for their kindness?
When it comes to those being bullied there are numerous short term effects depending on the person. Some of the long term effects depending on the age can involve social isolation, feelings of shame, sleep disturbance, changes in eating habits, low self-esteem, symptoms of anxiety, bedwetting (in children and adolescents) , higher risk of illness, psychosomatic symptoms (stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, other physical complaints with no known medical cause), poor school performance, symptoms of depression. Of course, people can rise above bullying and cyberbullying, but it doesn't mean that it won't effect them. Some people say cruel things not knowing what someone is going through and why they feel the way they do.
The truth is that we should all be mindful of what we say whether you are a bully, cyberbully, or anyone else. We should always seek to be kind even when we are having a bad day or feel hurt. I believe that we should treat others with the kindness they need rather than the kindness they 'deserve'. Truth is I have experienced racism, sexual harassment, bullying and cyberbullying, but through it all God has been good to me and I am able to rise above it in the end. I didn't grow up in a Christian home, I grew up in a home where my parents argued, and I saw and heard things that hurt me, but because of God i am a victor over this. Some people might think that because I'm half black and am not romantically attracted to black men that I am racist or self hating, I'm not actually, I actually have black, male friends that I care for and are wonderful! And the people who used to make fun of me are now nice to me as a result of me being nice to them. Sometimes being nice to those who are mean to you can make a difference.
That aside, there are other people I have seen insulted online for different reasons, made fun of and so on. Even if someone disagrees with someone doesn't give them an excuse to be cruel to them, be better than that, for you who bully, I know you can because deep down inside you are kind, you just have to believe it and try! My point is, don't be mean to people, we can be both honest and kind, it's a choice. Even when I feel bad sometimes I still can choose to be kind, because no one deserves for me to treat them bad even if I feel like it in the moment. Yes we can agree and disagree, but we should do it in a way that people will respect our beliefs even if they disagree. Some people will make fun of us no matter what, but we can make the choice to let them determine how we act or not. That aside, have a blessed say everyone!
Article by:Katie Huhurley, LCSWunuh
Bullying is a serious threat to our youth today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying affects 20% of high school students and cyberbullying affects 16% of high school students. Surveys compiled by the CDC also show that 33% of students ages 12-18 who reported bullying at school and 27% of students ages 12-18 who reported cyberbullying indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month. Middle schools reported the highest rate of bullying (25%), at least once a week.