Bullying is a serious public health issue, say experts

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Depression and anxiety are the main repercussions of bullying, but its effects can manifest in other parts of the body as well.

Despite the many laws that are currently being enforced to prevent bullying, it still remains high on the list of children’s troubles.

Bullying is even made more insidious by the fact that most bullied children are unwilling to speak about the abuse they’re receiving, and would even go to such lengths to protect the identity of their bully.

But according to the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, it’s time for the government to recognise bullying for what it is: a serious public health issue.

Bullying should no longer be dismissed as merely a matter of kids being kids, said the report.

Depression and anxiety and many other mental illnesses are the main repercussions of bullying, but its effects can manifest in other parts of the body as well.

“Physically it can lead to gastrointestinal issues and headaches,” said a CBS News report. “Bullies themselves are also negatively impacted by their own behavior. They are more likely to struggle with depression and move on to criminal activity like vandalism and theft.”

In the United States, even though many schools have implemented a zero-tolerance policy, which suspends and even expels bullies, the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine report says it does little to actually help against bullying.

“This policy does not work and may actually do more harm than good because it doesn’t provide the skill training or replacement behaviors for youth who are suspended or expelled,” said the CBS News report.

What should be done instead is to educate schools in how to change bullies’ behavior through continual education and positive feedback.

Not only is this a more effective method in dealing with bullies, but it also builds an emotional emotional intelligence in them, and in the process, cultivate their empathy.

For the parents of the bullied children, they should be able to recognise the signs that their children are receiving abuse, be it physically or verbally, and teach them the ways to address the problem.

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Written by

James Martinez

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