Bullying can affect everyone including those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative consequences including substance abuse, serious mental health issues, and even suicide. It is important as a parent, teacher or school administrator to talk to kids to determine whether bullying or something else is a concern.
Children who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety increase in feelings of unhappiness, sadness, and feelings of isolation.
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Health complaints
- Fear of going to school
- Decreased academic achievement –GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school
A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990's, the school shooters had a history of being bullied according to http://www.stopbullying.gov.
Children who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:
- Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
- Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or even their own children as adults
- Engage in early sexual activity
- Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
- Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
Children who witness bullying are more likely to:
- Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or other drugs
- Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
- Miss or skip school
Please see http://www.stopbullying.gov for more information