There’s been so much attention brought to the idea of bullying in the past couple of years. More and more you will hear people speak out about how it can be done, the locations of bullying ranging from school to the online world. What many people do not fully comprehend is the negative impact that it can leave on one’s health. While it’s easy to say that moments like that are ones that can be overcome in time, it’s not always as simple as this.
A study was recently done by Boston Children’s Hospital and it looked into the long-term implications that bullying can have. If this is done over the course of several years without rest, medical authorities like Gabriel Pediatrics will agree that this can have an impact on not only one’s physical well-being but his or her mental state. Laura Bogart, PhD, pointed out that the sooner that bullying was taken out of the equation, the less of a risk these symptoms would have of rising to the surface. What can those who are either bullied, or have friends and family members that are being bullied, do?
Follow these three steps if you find yourself in one or both of these situations.
1. If you are the victim of cyberbullying, do not engage the person on the other side in conversation
It may seem tempting to respond but the truth of the matter is that it is in your best interest to instead collect all of the information that you can on the matter. With this in mind, create a collection of the various messages that you have received, either through your computer, phone, or what have you. You may also want to think about deleting your current account on your messaging platform if you find that blocking the contact does no good at all. You may not want to go about this – especially if you have many other contacts – but it is a way to make sure that you no longer a victim of cyberbullying.
2. You should never simply stand by and do nothing
One of my biggest problems with bullying in school is that, more often than not, both the bully and the victim have an audience that is on the side of the latter. They want to see this activity escalate, even though it is clear that it is wrong. If you find yourself in this situation, do not simply watch; get involved to make sure it does not happen. Even if you are not comfortable with stepping into the situation on your own, take it upon yourself to consult someone with a position of authority in the school. Whether it is a principal, vice principal, teacher, they will be able to take the appropriate steps to help the situation and you will feel better knowing that you did not facilitate said situation’s escalation in any way.
3. Try to get the story from all sides
If you are a parent whose child has been bullied, it goes without saying that you will defend him or her, no matter what. However, what about those situations in which the person who is bullied and the person performing the bullying aren’t as clear? If you were to confront someone who you believed to be the bully, how certain are you that this individual wasn’t simply defending himself after continuous harassment? It’s one of the many factors that, in my view, aids in this complicated matter. In order to be the most helpful in this situation, do not simply assume. Speak to everyone who has witnessed this occur and act based on those accounts. Sometimes the first impression you receive is not the right one.