In the United States, one in every four students is reportedly bullied in school. Even though Bullying can be considered a worldwide phenomenon that affects every student’s life, a new study suggested that it does not only cause serious issues to a child’s mental health and well-being but as well to the school environment.

Based on the study published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, a team of researchers found that harassment, bullying and cyberbullying decrease the equity, safety, and sense of connection in schools. According to the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services, associate professor and lead study author Bernice Garnett, S.c.D., bullying can “actually damage the entire school climate.”

The study

The recent findings pointed out the need for “comprehensive policies” that will address all forms of bullying.

PsychCentral noted that these policies will raise awareness and help “promote safe and equitable school environments” that are associated with academic outcomes.

The research also highlighted the findings that there are students who get to experience more than a single type of bullying, which is called “polyvictimization.” The most common victims of this type of victimization are females, transgender, and those students identified as “multiracial.”

Moreover, those students who experience polyvictimization show “worse” educational outcomes. According to Garnett, the study suggested the need to determine the “structural forces” that make victimization prevalent among certain groups of Children.

Children’s mental health

In a separate study published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers in the United Kingdom found that being bullied could have a major impact on the victims’ mental health, especially when the victims are children. According to University College London’s Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pingault, their findings suggested that bullied children between ages 11 and 16 are prone to mental health problems such as having paranoid thoughts, depression, hyperactivity, behavioral issues, anxiety and cognitive disorganization, Romper noted.

Furthermore, they also found that bullying affects children later in life. In fact, Medical News Today reported that its mental impacts could last up to two years but dissipated after five years. Due to its long-lasting and severe consequences, experts suggested the need to address this problem by boosting the children’s resilience when it comes to potential intimidation or harassment from peers.

Aside from primary interventions such as controlling bullying behavior in schools, experts also suggested to plan or create secondary intervention programs that concentrate on resilience tactics for kids at risk or vulnerable to bullying. Miami Herald also highlighted the importance of identifying the risk factors and warning signs of such behavior, as well as the possible treatments.

The definition

Meanwhile, as the world celebrates the National Bullying Prevention Awareness month, let’s define the word bullying.

As per the website, bullying is an aggressive and unwanted behavior among school-aged kids.

This behavior, which could start as early as 3-years-old, reportedly involves a “real or perceived power imbalance” and has the potential to be repeated. It includes actions like physical or verbal attacks, spreading rumors, intentionally excluding someone from a group and making threats.

Types of bullying

Bullying also comes in three types — verbal, social and physical victimizations.

Verbal victimization refers to the type of intimidation involving spoken or written mean or hurtful words such as harmful threats, teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments or taunting.

Social or relational bullying, on the other hand, is an act of intimidation that aims to hurt someone’s reputation or relationships such as spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public, leaving someone out on purpose, or intimidating others to not befriend someone. Physical victimization involves hurting someone’s possessions or body such as hitting, pushing, punching, making mean or rude hand gestures or breaking their things.