It seems that we hear about a new case of bullying on the news daily. A case where things got out of control and the victim suffered more than we can imagine. I finished my psychology graduate program last week and my thesis topic was “the emotional responses to bullying”. I picked this topic because of the overwhelming statistics related to bullying and how much more dangerous things seem to be getting over recent years.
I found some surprising facts while researching this topic. First, a bully will suffer many side effects from the act too. For example, a bully will suffer academically and emotionally along with the victim. Second, a victim may often become a bully, and vice versa. And third, peers often see bullying as a “normal” part of growing up and they may even view the victim as someone who is “asking for it”.
There are so many reasons why bullying instances increases. It is simply easier to do with technology. Nearly everyone has a computer, phone, and social media account where messages can be sent in an instant. It gives people a way to hide behind the screen and still attack. It also makes the victim feel as if there is no way to escape the act. Teachers and school administrators are unsure how to handle bullying. Although some schools implement programs into their strategies, many of them are unsuccessful. School officials are afraid to get in trouble if they deal with a situation incorrectly.
Young children and teens often try to ignore the problem and rarely seek help from adults. If you ever notice a situation where bullying is taking place, get help! Never stand by and think that the victim will be the one to seek guidance. They will need support and friendship. Make people aware of the fact that you don’t stand by bullying. A bully rarely works alone. They seek acceptance just as much as anyone else.
If you notice someone feeling down about how they are being treated, provide support by encouraging them to pick up a new hobby or activity. Reading is a great choice! Recommend some books with positive messages that will help the person know that they are not alone. The YA book community is always willing to share ideas on what books are best in these situations. Simple acts can really make a difference in a person’s life. No one should be alone. Never stand by and let things happen. Take a positive approach and encourage others to do the same.
Psychology background: I have my BS in Psychology from Pikeville College in Kentucky. I just graduated with my MS in Psychology last week! Much of my graduate study was focused on bullying and cyberbullying. I hope to someday develop programs that help teens and young adults with bullying and relationship abuse.
Thanks so much, Jessica, for this look into bullying nowadays — and congratulations on completing your psychology graduate program!