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The Effects of Bullying

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Bullying in teens is a proactive issue that has occurred over consecutive years. In most cases, teenagers fall victims at the age of 13 years. There has been bullying scenarios outside the teenage bracket but has few mental and physical effects in health. Studies conducted on bullying indicated that the young ones are not occasionally bullied. Bullying has been associated with long-term effects at the stage of adolescent. Bullying takes various shapes. The common phases of bullying have been associated with verbal bullying or physical bullying. Long-term effects associated with bullying are: developing depression, behaving violently and experiencing anxiety disorders. Some of the factors that contribute to bullying, as Douglas (2004) says, is the increasing availability of violent video games and other forms of adolescent etertinment.

Patchin and Hinduja (2010), in their study found that bullying has a great correlation with low self-esteem. They identified that both the bully and the bullied had low self-esteem. Their study was intended to identify the effects of cyber bullying and they found that cyber bullying, unlike the traditional bullying, had other dynamics because in this case, both the bully and the victim had much lower self-esteem. This study used a random sample of 1963 schoolchildren with an average age of 12.6 years. This study is important in understanding he effect of bullying and the causes as well. For instance, their conclusion that both victims and the offenders have much lower self-esteem is a clear indication that bullying has a clear psychological dimension.

Carlyle, &. Kenneth (2007) tried to identify how the two dimensions of bullying, that is, aggression and victimizations. The study was directed towards understanding how different demographics are related bullying. The study used a sample of 9,492 students from 16 school districts. The study showed that aggression was strongly related with substance abuse while victimization was related with depressive effects. This study is also useful in the understanding how bullying is related with the health of the victims as well as the perpetrators.

This study tries to connect bullying to depression, suicides and suicide attempts. The study used a self-report survey that considers teenager of between 13 and 19 years old in grades twelve through twelve. The study was done with the hypotheses that teenage bullying has a major contribution in the suicide rates among the teenagers. The study found that bullying is a great factor in teenage depression and suicide. Brunstein Klomek’s findings (2006) are supportive of this study in that they indicate that bullying has a very close relation to the health of the victims.

Different people respond differently to stimulus, some people portray different disorders like overeating and prolonged silence and so on. The effects result in the adolescents performing poorly in schools that affect the later life permanently (Milson & Gallo, 2006). Adolescents associated with fighting may find themselves in jail serving sentences, which in turn alters the lives of adolescents permanently.

Children bullying in early years of their development tends to overcome the effects of bullying with ease. Alcohol in turn shapes the lives of the children mentally and physically. The adolescents under the influence of alcohol become less responsible leading to neglect of duties and education. Some children turn to organized crimes that have eternal effects on their lives.

Bullying inflicts anxiety and depression leading to sleepless nights; research done on bullying indicated that teenagers feel withdrawn and sensitive. Therefore, it is associated with a high level of stress. Teenagers bullied in their early years respond normally to bullying. They develop a sensitive attitude to violence. Research done on bullying has indicated that gender differences result to different response to stimuli. Female teenagers in most cases turn aggressive when provoked while the male teenagers turn to drugs.

As Klomek et al. (2006) say, the effects of bullying are closely related to the development of stress hormone system. This hormone matures during the puberty stage where puberty stage presents various challenges to different people. The abnormal stress hormone results to aggression leading to bullying. Therefore, bullying is serious and at times leads to loss of lives. Teenagers commit murder over issues that could be solved amicably and professionally through simple dialogue. The challenge posed before teenagers, especially when indulged in dialogue is that most of them tend to pose as ‘know- it - all’ kind of people. They ignore instructions citing to understand all life issues. Grohol (2010) argues that ignorance and arrogance posed by teenagers fuels bullying.

Bullying has been a topic in the high school profiles where harassment has been associated with indication of a rite of passage from one stage to another. This has led to suicides in the recent years. It has also been associated with struggle in coping with the school life. Teenagers in groups pose threats to the whole school community. The teenagers carry weapons, use drugs and get into constant fights. This leads to psychological torment that is real in many teenagers. Majority of the senior citizens have experienced some sort of torture but they tend to ignore it as simple harassment that happens at teenage stage. Most victims get over it with time and reserve it as a tale to tell. This has enabled the practice to thrive over years. Time is changing and bullying has taken over a new shape. This has gone to the extremes where teenagers are committing suicide and murder. This was not evident in earlier years; the government and the school authorities have cited the need to eliminate this vice due to the long-term effects associated with bullying.

As Anat Brunstein Klomek, P. et al (2006) found out, bullying has a very big connection to teenage suicide rates. Bullying hurts the feelings of the teenagers leaving behind indelible marks in the brains of the victims. Research has indicated that bullying disconnects the brain of the teens leading to sabotage in growth of new neurons. Scars associated with neurological resemble those of children who were sexually assaulted or physical assaulted in the early childhood. Bullying alters the brain growth leading to childhood trauma which also indicates that bullying is an unfortunate practice in the rite of passage. Swearer, D. L. (2010)  argues that peer groups have a high contribution in creating bulying tendenceies in young adults and that addressign bullying must be able to look at this.

Bullying also causes anxiety to the parents and guardians of the teenagers that is because they fear that something bad may happen to their teenage son or daughter in school. Swann et al (2006) identified that the psychological instability caused by bullying could be contributing to the increasing teen pregnancies. This affects their productivity and their parenting abilities since they become paranoid on everything about their child’s life outside home. Schools have noted the changes and considered policies on anti-bullying. Grohol (2010) argues that peer harassment or bullying will lead to medical problems due to the aftermath of traumatic experiences. This has led to various teenagers being measured by usage of brain scans yielding to new kinds of treatments. Teenage abuse has been considered a cause of many medical complications over a long time. Understanding the dynamics as well as the effects of bullying has assisted in reducing the problems associated with bullying. According to Milson & Gallo (2006), the psychological problems arising from bullying can be treated medically and have been associated with improved responsibility and performances by the students. The dented emotional teenagers are counseled in the best way to handle bullying and emerge happy adults with time.

Research done on adults who experienced bullying at one time indicated that the brain was affected and that the damage caused by bullying is beyond emotional problems. The brain development was short-circuited by the physical abuse or sexual harassment. Adults who were verbally abused during their childhood displayed child abuse tendencies to their own children. This means that the effects of bullying can be a cycle that grows over years. Verbal abuse as indicated by researchers damages the psychological functioning.

Young adults previously not exposed to bullying indicated that being harassed by the application of ridicule, teasing, screaming, criticism were searing in their later years of development. Emotional abuse damages mental and physical health (Grohol, 2010). Teenagers facing bullying display abnormal traits in part of the brain referred to as the corpus callosum. The thick fibers connecting the left and the right hemispheres of the brain are associated with memory, visual processing among other functions of the brain. Neurons found in the corpus Callosum indicate limited myelin.

Myelin is found in the brain and speeds up communication in the cells of the brain. Damage in the brain indicates that people abused in the later years and those who were not abused at all behave differently. Therefore, brain is a vital organ operating and coordinating numerous body functions.

Bullying has been proved to affect physiological processes of the victim such as the pumping out of the cortisol hormone. This hormone is normally driven out of the brain when individuals are subjected to mental or psychological stress. Research done by various scholars indicated that boys who are exposed to bullying had higher levels of the cortisol hormone than their peers did. On the other hand, as David-Ferd & Hertz (2007) found out, those girls who were subjected to bullying were found to have abnormally less cortisol hormone compared to their peers.  Low levels of cortisol hormone in the brains are a clear indication of a chronically stressed individual. The brains adapts to the prevailing level of stress. Grohol’s (2010) observation was that the level and amount of bullying is inversely proportionate to mental and physical well being of the victim that means that the more a child is exposed to bullying the less healthy he or she will be mentally.

Reduced cortisol in the brain weakens the physical functioning of the immune system creating a leeway for other opportunistic diseases to attack. High levels of cortisol kill or damage neurons in the hippocampus subjecting the individual to poor memories, which leads to poor academics. Researchers have indicated that teenagers bullied performed poorly in verbal memory than the teenagers who were not bullied. It has been noted that bullying leaves permanent marks on the individuals thus affecting the physical health as well as the mental health. Neuron survila in the brains returns to normal when bullying is eliminated. Animal models especially rats have indicated that brain development changes with bullying. The trauma caused by teenage bullying has long-term mark in the brain development alternatively affecting the individual lifestyle. People respond differently to the stimulus, majority of people developed physical or mental health issues citing the need to eliminate bullying in teenagers permanently.

Conclusion

Overcoming the mental and physical effects of bullying involves seeking social support from friends, school and family members. Teenagers who lack someone to share their experiences suffer the most. Researchers explain that it is important to shelter children from bullying at the early stages of their lives. This assists them when they attain the teenage stage (David-Ferd & Hertz, 2007). While this may sound awkward, it has been proven by a number of scholars that organizations, parents and guardians of teenagers are better placed or have the responsibility of addressing the issue of bullying. This is to ensure that when children reach the age of puberty will not be stressed up by bullying ending up in questionable behaviors like abuse of substances.

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