Bullying can be defined as a form of aggression that involves a systematic and repeated abuse of power with the intention of harming the receiver or victim. Bullying crosses the line of good natured teasing and is usually hostile in nature. If the victim of the teasing is someone who is targeted using religious or ethnic slurs or is less powerful or popular than the perpetrator, then the interaction can be considered to be bullying and should not be tolerated.
Statistics show that anywhere between 10-30% of youth are involved in bullying, and these numbers are relatively stable across the world. (C. R. Cook, Williams, Guerra, Kim, & Sadek, 2010; Guerra, Williams, & Sadek, 2011).
Bullying can be of many types. The four main types of bullying are as follows:
- Physical bullying- This comprises of any unwanted physical contact including kicking, punching as well as stealing, destroying property etc.
- Verbal bullying - This includes offensive and threatening comments as well as teasing and name-calling related to an individual’s sex, ability or race.
- Social/ Relational bullying - This involves manipulating intentionally with an individual’s friendships, reputation or social life in general. This can be in the form of spreading rumours, dissuading people to be friends with a person etc.
- Cyberbullying- This includes any bullying that takes place on a social media platform such as Instagram, snapshot etc. and may include leaving hurtful comments, leaking private information etc.
Bullying is an issue that needs to be addressed because both bullies and their victims are at risk for academic, psychological and behavioural problems in the long run.
Bullying has specific consequences for its victims- and it is estimated that around 1 in 10 children are chronic victims of bullying. These individuals in turn prone to having low self-esteem and are more likely to feel anxious, lonely, insecure and unhappy, which has implications for their mental health.
It is also noteworthy that certain groups of students- individuals who are obese, have disabilities or are members of the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to be bullied than their peers.
As per Amnesty International, bullying denies children to a safe, secure and dignified environment; which qualifies to bully as an abuse of human rights. Apart from this, there are several other reasons why bullying should be rooted out. Apart from mental health consequences as enlisted above, bullied students perform poorly at school, are more disconnected from their peers and teachers and are more prone to substance abuse. Even reaching into adulthood, victims of bullying may face difficulties in forming social relationships and holding onto jobs.
In the Indian context specifically, bullying remains a huge problem. A survey from Times of India indicates that 42% of school students are bullied in India (Gyanesh, 2017). Furthermore, a survey by Symantec shows that 8 out of 10 individuals face cyberbullying in India.
This Bullying Awareness Month, it is important to recognize the impact that bullying has on young lives and the urgency with which this matter needs to be addressed.
- Bully No More - Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bullynomore.in/.
- Gyanesh, A. (2017). 42% of kids bullied at school: 42 per cent of kids bullied at schools, says survey:
Bengaluru News - Times of India. Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/42-per-cent-of-kids-bullied-at-schools-says-survey/articleshow/59801107.cms.
- How to Prevent Cyber Bullying in India – Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India. (2018). Retrieved from https://ifflab.org/how-to-prevent-cyber-bullying-anti-cyber-bullying-laws-in-india/
- Woolfolk, A. (2014). Educational psychology. Pearson Education India.