In fact, in 2002, the American Medical Association declared that it was a “complex and abusive behavior with potentially serious social and mental health consequences for children and adolescents.”
According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, both victims and perpetrators of bullying may struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
What is bullying?
It’s much more than simple cases of kids being mean to each other. It consists of aggression over time that produces an imbalance of power. Simply put, calling someone a name once may be mean, but it’s not necessarily bullying. Call someone a name every day relentlessly over a series of days, weeks, months so that the person feels less about himself is definitely bullying.
The three types involve using words, reputations or physical contact to hurt someone emotionally or physically.
- Threatening to cause harm
- Excluding or ostracizing someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Hitting/kicking or tripping/pushing
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
Who is Bullied?
Since bullying is as much about the bully as it is the person receiving the bullying, there’s no way to predict who will be affected. However, since it is also about power, victims are usually perceived as being different or weaker than their peers. They may have low self-esteem and be less popular than other, or perhaps they do not get along well with classmates. Victims may have some physical difference that sets them apart such as weight or race, glasses or different clothing.
Children who have chronic medical conditions that warrant the use of a medical ID may also stand out as potential victims of bullying, both because of their medical conditions and because they wear an ID. Don’t let the potential for bullying become a deterrent for wearing and ID. The U.S. government’s anti-bullying website Stop Bullying.gov states “even if a child has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean they will be bullied.”
The nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education cites that about 30 percent of kids with food allergies report they have been bullied specifically because of their allergies. The organization has coordinated an anti-bullying campaign, “It’s Not a Joke,” to highlight the seriousness of food allergies, and the harm that is caused by being bullied.
Bullying Prevention Month
Established in 2006 by the PACER’s National Center for Bullying Prevention, National Bullying Prevention Month occurs each October to raise awareness about the impact of bullying on our children. The organization coordinates community efforts nationwide.