What’s Physical Bullying?
Physical bullying is using one’s body and physical bodily acts to exert power over peers. Punching, kicking and other physical attacks are all types of physical bullying.
Unlike relational and verbal bullying, the effects of physical bullying can be easier to spot.
Effects of Physical Bullying:
Physical Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.
Kids Who are Bullied:
Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:
Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
Kids Who Bully Others:
Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:
Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
Engage in early sexual activity
Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults
Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults
Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:
Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
Miss or skip school
The Relationship between Bullying and Suicide
Media reports often link bullying with suicide. However, most youth who are bullied do not have thoughts of suicide or engage in suicidal behaviors.
Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home, and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. This risk can be increased further when these kids are not supported by parents, peers, and schools. Bullying can make an unsupportive situation worse.
How to stop bullying?
Bullying can take many forms, but all forms of bullying cause harm. Even if there is no physical contact between a bully and their target, people who are bullied may carry the emotional damage of what they experienced for the rest of their lives. That is why it is important to put a stop to bullying. If you are being bullied, then there are things you can do to deal with the bully. If you witness bullying, then there are things you can do to stand up for someone else. You can also work to raise awareness among your peers and learn about the different ways that you can ask for help.
Ways on How to Stop Bullying:
If the situation seems threatening or dangerous, it’s best to get away from the bully. Even if it is not a dangerous situation, remember that you don’t have to listen to someone saying mean things to you. The best thing to do might be to calmly walk away from the person. This will send the message that you won’t put up with this kind of treatment.
Try to walk towards other people, such as towards a teacher or someone else who will not put up with bullying.
Tell someone so the bully will stop.
It’s important to report bullying right away so that someone in authority can put a stop to it. By telling someone that you are being bullied, you will be standing up for yourself and showing the bullies that you will not put up with their abuse.
Find a teacher, parent, school counselor, or someone else who can help you and immediately tell them what the bully has been saying or doing to you.
You can also write a note to explain what is happening. Deliver the note to your teacher, school counselor, or principal.
Tell someone else if the first person you tell does not do anything about the bully. Don’t accept that you will have to put up with the bullying.
Ask the bully to stop if you feel safe doing so.
If you don’t feel physically threatened, using direct, assertive communication and body language is a good way to address a bully. If a bully continues to harass you even after you have walked away, calmly let them know that you will not put up with the behavior. Turn and face the bully and tell them to stop.
Don’t try to confront the bully if you feel like doing so might put you in danger.
To use assertive body language, stand up tall and face the bully. Look the bully in the eye when you are speaking to them. Don’t look down and don’t try to make yourself smaller, such as by folding your arms or bringing your knees in close to your body. Pull yourself up to your full height, keep your arms at your sides, and your feet about shoulder width apart.
Don’t compliment or insult the bully. If you say nice things to a bully after they have been insulting you, putting you down, or physically threatening you, then this will only increase their sense of power. Calling the bully names may enrage them and increase their efforts to hurt you.
Is the bully’s goal to get an emotional response out of you, so do your best to keep calm and avoid showing them how you feel. Try your best not to show that you are angry, sad, or frightened. The bully may feed off of these emotions and increase their efforts.
Take a few deep breaths and think about something that makes you happy, such as getting a good grade on a test, playing with your dog, or something fun that you are planning to do with your family over the weekend. Doing this may help you to take a step back from the situation and avoid reacting to your emotions. Make sure that you keep your eyes open and maintain eye contact with the bully as you do this.
Respond to the bully in a calm way. For example, you might say, “Jack, I know you think you’re funny, but you’re not. Stop.” Or, “Stop now or I’m asking the teacher to move you away from me.”
Be sure to talk about how the bully made you feel with someone else later on. Talk with your parents, a school counselor, or a teacher.
Take immediate action
Do not wait to deal with bullying. If you see or hear about someone being bullied, then step in to stop the bullying right away. If you cannot intervene yourself, then find someone who can. If you’re an adult intervening in a bullying situation, you may also want to get help from a second adult.
Separate the bully and the person being bullied if you can.
It is important to keep the bully away from the person they are bullying. If you’re helping a peer who is being bullied, go with them to a safe space away from the bully. If you’re an adult trying to stop a bullying situation, do not force the two parties to be in the same room together or to shake hands and make up. Put them in separate rooms and talk with each one individually.
Take bullying seriously.
Bullying is a serious problem that can escalate and cause serious damage if it is not stopped. Take any bullying that you see or hear about very seriously, and don’t hesitate to tell someone who can help. You might even need to contact the police or call emergency services in some situations. You may need to involve the police or seek medical attention for the person if:
A weapon is involved.
There are threats involved.
The violence or threats are motivated by hate, such as racism or homophobia.
The bully has done serious physical harm to the person.
Sexual abuse is involved.
Anything illegal has happened, such as blackmail or robbery.
Make sure you aren’t participating in bullying behavior at school.
Examine your own treatment of your classmates. Is there anyone you may be bullying, even unintentionally? If you ever pick on someone, even if you wouldn’t consider it bullying, you should stop. Try to be nice to everyone, even if they’re not your friend.
Stand up for people if they’re being bullied.
If you see someone getting bullied in your school, stand up to the bullies. Not participating isn’t going far enough. Make sure that you are actively taking a stand to prevent the victim from getting harmed further. You can interfere by speaking with the bully if you feel safe doing so, or telling a school administrator what you saw.
Spread the word that bullying has to stop.
Many schools have anti-bullying campaigns led by students who want to keep their schools safe and friendly. Join a group or start one at your school to spread awareness about the problem of bullying and figure out ways to solve it.
Agent of Change: DESCARTESIAN