As if we needed another reason to denounce bullying, a new study has found that bullies are more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness than non-bullies. Interestingly however, those who have been both bullied and bullies are even more likely to suffer similar hardships as adults than those who have only bullied.
According to the study, adults who have been on both sides of the bullying equation as children are six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, have trouble holding down a steady job, or have difficulty interacting socially with others than those who have not been exposed to bullying at all (although how anyone goes throughout their entire childhood without being exposed to bullying is a complete mystery).
This presents an interesting paradox.
If children are bullied and do not retaliate, they are pushovers and the targets of further bullying. If they do retaliate, they become bullies and face the same problems and consequences of them.
Can victims of bullying stand up to bullies without becoming bullies themselves? Of course they can. In fact, it is the only way to stop the bullying problem. But they can’t do it alone.
People like to think that bullying is a problem that affects a narrow range of people for only a short period of their lives.
They are wrong. Bullying is a problem that affects everyone and as such will only disappear when everyone stands together to combat it.
Everyone who is bullied is someone’s brother or sister or son or daughter.
That means bullying affects more than just the bullied and the bullies, albeit not directly.
This study is just one more piece of evidence to support the fact that the effects of bullying are lifelong.
What will the effects be on those children of adults who were bullies or bullied?
Every day, the evidence is piling up that bullying is a growing problem that is a lot more dangerous than we thought.
And with the Internet, email, Facebook and Twitter, sadly the bullies out there have a whole new range of ways to hurt others.
There’s been plenty of talk about the horrors of cyber bullying – with many tragedies as some youth are crushed under the onslaught of online assaults and take their own lives.
It’s easy for bullies to attack others behind the safety of a computer screen.
Ultimately, it is long past time that we started taking this problem more seriously and started thinking of some real effective solutions.