In today’s date, we fail to have a complete understanding of the difference between social and physical bullying. What is bullying? Bullying. It’s such a strong word, such a frightening word, and perhaps sometimes such a loaded word. It refers to a distinctive pattern of repeatedly and deliberately harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are smaller, weaker, and younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. The deliberate targeting of those of lesser power is what distinguishes bullying from garden-variety aggression. Bullying is of many types from which a few are:
- Physical bullying: Physical bullying includes any form of physical contact that would hurt or injure a person for example hitting, kicking, and punching. Taking something that belongs to someone else and destroying it would also be considered a type of physical bullying for instance if someone was walking down the street and someone came up to them and shoved them to the ground, that would be considered a type of physical bullying.
- Verbal bullying: Verbal bullying includes name-calling, making offensive remarks, or joking about a person’s religion, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or the way they look. For example, if in a group of kids one person is targeted about a specific vulnerability they may have it may fall under the description of verbal bullying.
Verbal aggression: Verbal aggression is a type of verbal bullying; it can include a bully threatening a specific individual, or aggression against someone’s personal property.
- Social bullying: Social bullying, sometimes referred to as covert bullying, is often harder to recognize and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation for example spreading false rumors about the person they want to bully, menacing or contemptuous looks, or damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.
- Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. Cyberbullying and cyberharassment are also known as online bullying. It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers, as the digital sphere has expanded and technology has advanced. Cyberbullying is when someone, typically a teenager, bullies or harasses others on the internet and in other digital spaces, particularly on social media sites. Harmful bullying behavior can include posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, victims’ personal information, or pejorative labels. Victims of cyberbullying may experience lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of negative emotional responses including being scared, frustrated, angry, or depressed.
Are bullies born? The answer is no, bullies are not born but they are made. People bully because it can be an effective way of getting what they want, at least in the short term, and because they lack the social skills to do so without harming others. Bullying also is a way of establishing social dominance, although over time, as children’s behavioral repertoires generally broaden, it becomes an increasingly dysfunctional way. Research finds that bullies have a distinct psychological makeup. They lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others’ feelings. They exhibit a distinctive cognitive feature, a kind of paranoia; they misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations. Others may not like them, but they typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully tend to have strained relationships with parents and peers.
Bullying is a serious threat to our youth today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying affects 20% of high school students, and cyberbullying effects 16% of high school students. Surveys compiled by the CDC also show that 33% of students ages 12-18 who reported bullying at school and 27% of students ages 12-18 who reported cyberbullying indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month. Middle schools reported the highest rate of bullying (25%), at least once a week. Bullies couldn’t exist without victims, and they do not pick on just anyone. Research shows that those singled out for bullying lack assertiveness even in non-threatening situations and radiates fear long before they ever encounter a bully.
According to various statistics, cyberbullying is among the most critical issues that have a direct bearing on young people around the globe. According to a study that included 25 countries, it was found that despite not being on top of the ladder Pakistan still has the twenty-second highest rate in cyberbullying. However, children in Pakistan do have a basic understanding of cyber-bullying and know what it means and how they might be subject to it; they still lack the awareness of how to deal when being subjected to such situations. Pakistan is in the list of the fastest-growing internet-using countries and hence, the need to take measures against cyber-bullying becomes even more important. Yet the existing laws and particularly, the implementation of them are far from what is required. It is also worth mentioning here that as compared to actual physical encounters, Pakistanis are more vulnerable to bullying online as not much education is given to the youth of Pakistan about the consequences of bullying and the effect it may have on individuals.
Bullying can have negative short and long-term consequences for both the victim and the bully. While traditional intervention for bullying tends to include getting help for the victim and establishing consequences for the bully, it should be noted that both the victim and the bully benefit from psychosocial support, All kids are different and are likely to exhibit varying behaviors during or after bullying by a peer. With relational aggression on the rise and cyberbullying easier than ever, it should be noted that bullying can be ongoing for long periods of time before students seek actual help for it. Bullying may have various short term effects on people which may include:
- Social isolation
- Feelings of shame
- Sleep disturbance
- Changes in eating habits
- Low self-esteem
- School avoidance
- Symptoms of anxiety
- Psychosomatic symptoms (stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches, other physical complaints with no known medical cause)
- High risk of illness
As bullying may have short term effects on victims’ sometimes excessive amounts of physical and social bullying may also lead to long term effects like:
- Anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Poor general health
- Self-destructive behavior, including self-harm
- Substance abuse
- Difficulty establishing trust, reciprocal friendships, and relationships
Bullying carries the implicit message that aggression and violence are acceptable solutions to problems when they are not. Cooperation and the peaceful resolution of differences support an increasingly interconnected world. Bullying not only harms its victims, but it also harms the perpetrators themselves. Most bullies have a downwardly spiraling course through life, as their aggressive behavior interferes with learning, holding a job, and establishing and maintaining intimate relationships
Due to the rise in bullying many countries have established different laws to prevent it, In Pakistan, violation of cyber-crime laws Pakistan can result in the following punishments:
- Up to three years imprisonment, Rs1 million fine, or both for unauthorized access to the critical infrastructure information system or data.
- Up to seven years imprisonment, Rs10 million fine, or both for interference with a critical infrastructure information system or data with dishonest intention.
- Up to seven years imprisonment, Rs10 million fine or both for the glorification of an offense relating to terrorism, any person convicted of a crime relating to terrorism or proscribed individuals or groups. Glorification is explained as “depiction of any form of praise or celebration in a desirable manner”
- Up to six months imprisonment, Rs50 thousand or both for producing, making, generating, adapting, exporting, supplying, offering to supply, or importing a device for use in an offense.
- Up to three years imprisonment, Rs5 million fine, or both for obtaining, selling, possessing, transmitting, or using another person’s identity information without authorization.
Therefore if you know someone or are going through the traumatic experience of bullying yourself please reach out and never think you are alone or not capable of getting help.