For years, people have been attempting to tackle the problem of bullying. Some believe it's working and some believe 'kids will never change'. According to some data from a survey conducted by Ditch the Label, it seems the problem might not be improving. 54% of people (a bit more than 1 in 2) experience bullying and 10% of young people have been bullied this past week alone. Compared to last year's statistics, there has been no change in the number of total people who experience bullying. So why, with all the efforts being made, is bullying still such a big problem world-wide? Why do young children get bullied and how do children cope with bullying?
According to the same survey, there are a variety of reasons why people believe they get bullied
- Appearance, 50%
- Interests/hobbies, 40%
- Grades, 33%
- Household income, 14%
- Personal issue being made public, 12%
- Disability, 8%
- Race, 10%
- Religion, 4%
- Sexuality, 4%
- Gender identity, 3%
Just under quarter of those bullied self-harmed as a way of coping with their bullying whilst 23% had thoughts of taking their own lives. Over 35% of young children developed depression and/or social anxiety due to being bullied and 12% developed an eating disorder. Furthermore, 8% of children begun abusing alcohol/drugs in order to cope. These are young people, having suicidal thoughts or taking drugs in order to cope with other children emotionally and/or physically harming them.
From those who were bullied in the past year 37% suffered in silence, alone. From those people who did report the bullying, the people they told varied greatly. From their teachers, parents, friends to the police, helplines and social media. From the people who got bullied however did not report it to anybody, the reasons as to why differed between individuals. The most common reason being 'it did not affect me enough' and the least common being 'my teachers don't care'. 17% of people stated that they reported it however nothing was done. 31% of people claimed that they didn't report the bullying because they can handle it themselves. However, given that almost a quarter of young people self-harm to deal with depression, this may not be accurate. They may instead ignoring the problem, which could make it worse.
Speak up: You don't have to suffer in silence, there is always somebody there to help you like your parents, friends, teachers or anybody else who cares about you! Ask your friends or any other adult you know for advice and guidance. Make sure you report any bullying to your school/workplace, ongoing bullying is a form of harassment which is actually against the law.
Track it: Keep a journal of the things said or done and by who, this is evidence for if the bullying carries on after telling an adult, this will help to take action allow further action against the bully.
For parents: Try to avoid blaming the school as a whole. Though it can be frustrating if it continues after initial conversation, try to work with the school to come up with an effective solution. If you are planning to speak to the school, always make an appointment, do not go charging down there shouting, as that will get you nowhere. Before approaching the school, listen to the facts and write them down if you have to; be prepared.
Bullying in all ages can be distressing for both the person being bullied and the families/friends of those being bullied or bullying somebody. Just remember, it's not your fault. Some children are insecure and take their stresses out on others. It will get better.