Effects of Bullying

Bullying can sometimes lead to violence and bullying can also be an effect of violent behaviors. Being the subject of bullying can have short and long-term effects, as can being a bully. For a greater understanding of the effects of bullying, keep reading.

What are the Effects of Bullying?

The effects of bullying can be immediate, short-term, and long-term, partly depending on how frequently the bullying takes place and how severe it is. Bullying effects not only the victim and his or her family and friends and the bully, but also witnesses to the acts of bullying. Bullying can inspire fear, feelings of inadequacy, and extreme stress in victims and to a certain extent in witnesses, while bullies may gain notoriety or punishments. For some witnesses, bullying may provide a localized reality show, played out before their eyes and on their own turf, and given the prevalence of bullying on television, they may see bullying as entertaining, rather than disturbing. Effects of bullying will differ markedly depending on the response of authorities, which can alleviate some of the fear and pain that bullying can cause, or exacerbate them, especially in cases in which an innocent victim is blamed or a provocative victim's role in the dynamic is not recognized.

Specific Effects of Bullying

Here's a run-down of some of the effects of bullying. Depending on how they act, witnesses may exhibit the same effects as victims.

  • Feeling of Complicity Witnesses who do not report the bullying, possibly because they're too scared or because the bully has threatened anyone who tells, may feel that they share guilt for the bullying.
  • Fear of Places Victims of bullying may manifest fear or dislike of the places where the bullying has taken place. This can include the workplace, school hallways and play yards, buses, and bathrooms, or just school in general. In some cases, people may simply refuse to go to the place they are bullied, or may act as if they're going, but ditch, run away, or be truant.
  • Social Isolation Victims of bullying may lose friends and support, especially if the bully is particularly trying to effect isolation.
  • Injuries Victims of violent bullies or bullies who demand that their victims engage in dangerous or injurious behavior may have cuts, bruises, damage to their clothing, or be dirtier than usual.
  • Damage to Property Bullies who may or may not physically injure their victims may not refrain from damaging, ruining, breaking, or stealing their property.
  • Mood Swings Victims of bullying may become depressed or may have definitive mood changes when it's time to prepare to go to the place where they are bullied. Those who are bullied at home may do their best to avoid the family member who bullies them. Victims may also show signs of depression.
  • Drop in Accomplishment Victims of bullying may be less productive and effective and school and work, with consequent downturn in grades and evaluations.
  • Changes in Eating and Sleeping Loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping may result from being bullied and the fear that accompanies it.
  • Desire for Protection Victims may seek the protection of a friend/protector or a weapon to fend off the bully.
  • Change in Attitudes Victims may become suspicious of others, untrusting, nervous and/or anxious. They may become apathetic and be unable to concentrate. They may even develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • Exacerbated Behavioral Problems Bullies are more likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs as teens than other young people. They are also more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior as an effect of bullying.
  • Self-Harming Behavior In some cases, repeated and widespread bullying has led people to commit suicide.
  • Victims Become Bullies In other cases, victims of bullying have become bullies themselves, and - in the most dramatic turn-arounds - have murdered the bullies who tormented them.

The devastation that can be wrought by bullying makes it important that authorities in places in which bullying takes place - whether in the family home, at school, at work, or elsewhere - take a stand and prevent bullying.



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