The Problem of Bullying in the UK
What Is Bullying
What some consider teasing, others can see as bullying. There is no legal definition for bullying but it is usually understood as repeated physically or/and emotionally hurtful behaviour. It can take many forms, including:
- Physical bullying; it involves hitting, kicking and other types of physical harm including destruction of one’s possessions
- Verbal bullying; it encompasses name-calling, teasing, intimidating and spreading hurtful rumours
- Cyber-bullying; it involves sending harassing, threatening and humiliating text messages, emails, posts, blogs, etc. as well as spreading hurtful rumours via the Internet and calling on the phone at inappropriate hours
Who Is Vulnerable To Bullying
Any person can be bullied. Many are bullied for race, religion, sexual orientation and even the types of clothes they are wearing, while some are also bullied for no apparent reason.
Who Can Be a Bully
Any person who deliberately hurts another person either physically, verbally or via online/phone is a bully. Sometimes, however, they are not aware that their behaviour is perceived as bullying by the victim. Bullies can be other children of the same age or older who live nearby, go to the same class or extracurricular activities but bullies can also be adults and even family members. But when an adult is physically or verbally harassing a child, it is defined as child abuse.
Consequences of Bullying
All forms of bullying cause a serious emotional distress which often leads to anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness and depression. Children who are bullied are often also afraid to go to school and make up health problems to stay at home. Many, however, develop actual health problems due to the stress such as frequent headaches and stomach aches, and decline in school performance. The research reveals that bullied children are also more likely to think about committing suicide. According to some experts, 44 percent of suicides by young people in the UK are linked to bullying.
How Common Is Bullying in the UK
Government reports and results of research on the issue of bullying in the UK reveal that:
- nearly one half of children and young people said they have experienced bullying at some point of their lives
- nearly 40 percent of young people report to experience cyber-bullying
- more than 30,000 children called ChildLine due to bullying in years 2011-12
- nearly one fifth of bullied children don’t want to talk about it with their parents
- more than one half of gay, lesbian and bisexual young people experienced bullying due to their sexual orientation
- more than a quarter of bullied kids don’t tell anyone about it