Today, bullying has become a commonplace trend that is prevalent all around the globe. It is almost impossible to find an individual who has not directly or indirectly encountered some form of bullying, either as a perpetrator, victim or bystander. Bullying creates a culture of fear and fosters an environment based on the imbalance and misuse of power. Bullying may have a detrimental impact on a person's physical, mental, academic, and social well-being.
Unfortunately, these adverse effects on the people involved can continue even until adulthood and for the rest of their lives. The interactions that people have and the experiences that they go through as children shape them into the adults that they eventually become. As a result, it's unsurprising that the consequences of bullying will last far into adulthood. This then has an effect on their future mentality, as well as how they perceive themselves and others.
Bullied children can struggle with self-esteem as adults, have trouble establishing and maintaining relationships, and avoid social interactions. They may also have difficulty trusting others, which can have an effect on their personal and professional relationships. Victims were also said to have more difficulty making and maintaining friendships, as well as being less likely to live with a partner and receive social support.
Internalized issues, particularly diagnoses of anxiety disorder and depression in young adulthood and middle adulthood, have consistently been shown to be more common in children who have been bullied. Victims had a significantly higher risk of anxiety, depression, and psychotic experiences, according to research that differentiated between victims and bullies. They could also begin to believe lies about bullying, such as convincing themselves that the bullying was not as severe as they recall and going to the extent where they blame themselves for what happened.
Bullying victims and perpetrators are more likely to drop out of school than their peers. Bullies are more likely to consume tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana, and are more likely to develop depression, anxiety disorder, and psychological distress if they are confronted with the severity of their bullying behavior.
Being a bully in childhood seems to impact a person's home life as an adult. Former bullies tend to have problems with long-term relationships and may be abusive toward both their spouses and children. They also have a harder time securing and maintaining employment than people who were not bullies. People who have been bullies nurture an environment where bullying is encouraged and are more likely to have children who become bullies themselves, thus continuing the vicious cycle.
Bystanders are also not free from the negative effects of bullying. The feelings of fear, shame and guilt are carried with them into adulthood, where they may manifest themselves in dangerous ways and detrimentally impact their physical, mental and social health. Bystanders are often plagued by the same effects from bullying that the victim's experience.
Bullying in childhood has significant consequences for children's short and long-term wellbeing. Some of these consequences can be mitigated with immediate action and long-term follow-ups. Schools, families, and communities must collaborate to better understand bullying and its implications, as well as to identify ways to reduce, and eventually eliminate, bullying in schools and communities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ever since I was a little girl, I always had a passion for reading books. Now that I'm older, the idea of creating my own stories appeals to me more. When I’m not engrossed in reading or frantically writing like a maniac, I can be found watching chick-flicks and old, sappy movies or singing my favorite songs at deafening volumes. I’m not sure of what I want to do in the future, but I do know what I want to be- an outspoken, headstrong and bold individual, who constantly challenges herself and lives life to the fullest.