By Mukutenda Mukuze
(St George’s College)
Bullying is the force, coercion or threat to abuse, dominate or intimidate someone both mentally and physically
Bullying is the pandemic that is prevailing in schools. Bullying mostly occurs to tweens and teenagers ranging from the age 12-18.Much like the corona virus the bullying pandemic is spreading rapidly and most of it is unreported.In the west bullying happens mostly in public schools which contrasts with Zimbabwe because bullying here takes place more in private schools. Some of the victims to bullying don’t report it because of fear of retaliation and having a reputation as a “Snitch.” In some instances the perpetrator may not know that they are bullying and may think they are just joking without realizing what they are doing is having a big impact on someone else
.There are various forms of bullying and many negative effects to a young student’s mental health when bullied. A few main forms of bullying are verbal, physical,social and cyber bullying.
Verbal bullying is when the perpetrator relies mainly on words and statements to try and gain power over the victim and hurt the victim.Physical bullying is the most common type of bullying it is when the perpetrator uses their physicality to hurt or irritate the victim.Physical bullies tend to be stronger and more aggressive than their peers.A few examples of physical bullying includes punching, kicking, slapping etc.
Social bullying (also called relational bullying) usually goes unnoticed by parents or teachers.Social bullying is when teenagers try to hurt their peers by sabotaging their social standing.Examples of this is spreading rumors, manipulate situations and break the victim’s confidence.Cyber bullying is when the perpetrator uses technology to go on the internet to harass threaten or embarrass someone else.Examples of cyber bullying are posting hurtful images, making online threats, or sending hurtful emails or texts.If an adult is involved in the harassment it is called cyber harassment or cyber stalking
Bullying has many effects on a student’s mental health and may damage that person’s mindset for the rest of their lives. A few short term effects may include social isolation, feelings of shame, sleep disturbance, low self esteem, school avoidance and many more.Some long term effects for the victim may include anxiety disorders, poor-traumatic stress order, substance abuse and self-destructive behavior including self harm.One of the worst things that bullying can lead to in students is suicide.Approximately 1 in 20 adolescents experience a suicide in a single year (Andriessen, Dudley, Draper and Mitchell, 2018).Usually bullying is caused by discrimination amongst peers. Some of the factors may be religion, gender, race, disability, and many more.
In Conclusion Bullying is an issue that needs to be addressed for it has many negative effects on young students.Teachers and Parents need to look more into a child’s day to day life and notice if the child is bullying or being the bully. We as a community should also try and address this issue and do our initiative as well.