Bullying causes a lifetime of damage

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Bullies can hurt with their words just as much as they can with their fists.

No matter what school you go to or what grade you’re in, there is usually a school bully. Some meanies like to tease other kids because of the clothes they wear or how they comb their hair. Other bullies go so far as to hurt kids physically and make them cry.

The teasing doesn’t stop when school’s over either. Cyberbullying, or bullying through the internet, has become more common in the younger generations. Some people know this is a serious matter, while others believe it’s just a natural part of being a kid. However, according to psychologists from the University of Warwick and Duke University, the effects of bullying last a lifetime.

“We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up,” says Dieter Wolke, one of the psychologists in charge of the study. “We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem for both the individual and the country as a whole; the effects are long-lasting and significant.”

Just how serious is bullying? The researchers studied 1,420 kids 9-16 years old, and recorded data from them until they were 24-26 years old. They studied the effects on the bully, analyzed the life of the victim, and also the “bully-victim” – someone who is a bully and a victim. Surprisingly, the “bully-victims” faced the toughest adult life of all the groups. They were more likely to develop a serious illness, start smoking, or end up in a mental hospital!

Even though the bully-victim was the worst case, all of the groups had trouble later in life. As they grew older, it was very difficult for them to make friends and get jobs. Also, they had trouble saving money, so they were more likely to be poor.

“Some interventions are already available in schools but new tools are needed to help health professionals to identify, monitor, and deal with the ill-effects of bullying,” added Wolfe. “The challenge we face now is committing the time and resources to these interventions to try and put an end to bullying.”

If you are being bullied in school, be sure to tell a parent or a teacher. It may be scary to speak up, but it’s important to stand up for yourself, especially since it can affect the rest of your life. If you’re a bully and enjoy making fun of other kids, stop being such a mean punk! It will come back to haunt you.

Featured image courtesy of Ihtatho on Flickr. Baseball cap bullies image courtesy of Twentyfour Students on Flickr.