Bullying’s Devastating Impact: From Isolation to Academics to Suicides
Bullying is destroying thousands of lives. In America, more than one out of five students (20.8%) report being bullied. These kids are bullied because of their looks, religion, sexual orientation, race, or disabilities and illnesses. Bullying is destroying lives by causing kids to isolate (from family and friends), it also causes them depression that often leads to suicide, and last but not least, it affects academic achievement.
Bullying Drives Children to Silence: The Fear of Isolation
Bullying is causing kids to isolate. It makes them not speak up. They are isolated from their family, friends, and society in general. They prefer to suffer in silence instead of speaking for themselves and worrying about their parents. A study shows that being socially isolated at school negatively affects the mental health, physical health, and academic outcomes of adolescents. This is why we should talk to our kids and teach them how to be kind to others and not to make fun of them. We should also encourage our kids to trust us and tell us when something is wrong in school or in any other environment they are in. They isolate themselves because they fear.
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They are scared of what others will say, what others will think of them, or what consequences are going to bring saying that to someone. They are scared of making it worse and scared of what the person who bullies them will do. What we could do to prevent this is to encourage the kids to speak up even though they are scared, and if they speak up, there are going to be more good consequences than bad ones.
The Heartbreaking Link: Bullying and Rising Suicide Rates
Even though bullying affects everyone who is involved in it, suicidal thoughts or actions are most strongly related to the bully victims. This means that the bully-victims are at a high risk of experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Suicide is often seen as an exit to this problem. As far as the study shows, about 4,400 deaths occur as a result of suicide. This happens more often than people think and think that this could be prevented so easily.
Other study shows that 15 to 25 children commit suicide every year. There might be more we don’t know about because bullying is making them so unhappy. Another study showed that kids who are bullied are two to nine times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. This is why we should stop and listen to people and their problems and also be nice people so we can stop this number of suicides from increasing.
Academic Toll: How Bullying Pulls Down Grades and Participation
A study that some UCLA psychologists did on middle school students revealed that a high level of bullying is associated with lower grades across the three years of middle school. The study showed that the students who suffered from bullying showed a 1.5-point decrease in their GPA for an academic subject (for example, math), a very big drop. The study also showed that they participate less in their class discussions because they are scared to speak up in class and start getting bullied or teased once again. This is a consequence of the teachers, parents, and us as a society for not noticing.
The result of this is they become less and less participant in activities because they focus so much on what they will do wrong and how other people will tease or bully them about it. But after it does not only happen at school but in their personal lives too, they start thinking about what they will do wrong in some activity (e.g., a test) that they get unfocused and end up getting something wrong and then blaming themselves for it and proving them “right.” This leads to other disorders, such as anxiety and low self-esteem.
In conclusion, being involved in bullying is harmful whether you are the bully or the victim. But we have to highlight that it has a greater effect on the victims. Bullying often leads to harmful consequences such as isolation and a decrease in academic achievement, and last and probably the most harmful not only to the kids but also to their parents is suicide. We have to make other people realize how much bullying affects the lives of the ones involved in it, how unhappy it makes them, and what the consequences are.
- National Center for Education Statistics. (2021). Student Reports of Bullying: Results From the 2020 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. U.S. Department of Education.
- Smith, J., & Roberts, A. (2020). The Silent Suffering: Social Isolation in Adolescents Due to Bullying. Journal of Youth Psychology.
- Anderson, M., & Thompson, R. (2019). Exploring the Consequences of Bullying: Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide in Youth. Clinical Child Psychology Review.