Bullying children who are overweight and other forms of bullying is becoming an increasing problem as they are often immediate targets of verbal harassment, insults, forced isolation and physical abuse. They suffer at the hands of those who aim to threaten, intimidate and undermine their confidence. With advances in Internet technology bullying has gotten worse. Social media creates an environment where cyber bullies launch relentless attacks 24 hours a day rendering some victims to feel helpless.
Some of the documented effects of bullying include:
• Withdrawal from friends and family
• Low self-esteem, decline of self-love
• Angry outbursts
• Declining memory and forgetfulness
• Eczema and ulcers
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Headaches and migraines
• Constant fatigue and lack of sleep
• Anxiety attacks or fearful of attending school
A prevalent concern second only to bullying itself is the lack of swift follow-up or intervention by adults when bullying occurs. Too often bully complaints are submitted but never processed or investigated. The lack of urgent resolution creates an environment that may abandon a child in perpetual isolation & danger and allow a bully to think it’s okay to attack vulnerable children. Bullying videos for kids are trying to raise awareness of the problem but can often only scratch the surface.
Bullying has become a vicious cycle of small children being abused or witnessing abusive speech and behavior in the home and eventually becoming bullies themselves (source U.S. Dept. of Education “bully study”). The entertainment and mainstream media industry have produced bullying videos for kids but have also received on-going criticism for perpetuating negative stereotypes and behaviors toward obese adults and children.
The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University study found that 64 percent of obese children claimed they were bullied at school. 92 percent claimed they were bullied by peers and 70 percent by peers they considered friends. The most alarming find was the high rate of bullying by adults. The study found adults who bully obese children represent;
• 42 percent by high school gym coaches
• 27 percent by teachers
• 36 percent by parents in the home
The overall high statistic of adult bullying is alarming, especially the figures for bullying by parents. Many children are suffering and sometimes guardians and caregivers do the most damage. These scenarios rapidly lead to depression which statistically result in adolescents having a higher rate of substance abuse problems. Legislators have increased the dialogue of bullying but very little has effectively changed the bully culture.
Unfortunately the cyberbully era has spawned unprecedented acts and new terms like bullycide. Coined by Neil Marr and Tim Field in 2001, it describes a child committing suicide as a result of bullying. Our generation has thousands of households where parents laugh-along with their adolescent and teenage children as they post hateful messages and cyberbully. As a result an increased number of elementary school-high school students have hung themselves, jumped from bridges and shot themselves and others as a result of bullying. Suicide has become the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year old’s and 6th for 5-14 year old’s. It’s also often overlooked that some suicides don’t result in death and instead youth living with serious disabilities and injuries.
Three quarters of mass school shooting perpetrators report they were victims of bullying on more than one occasion. In most cases other adults knew or official complaints were filed. The U.S. Dept. of Education identified that 160,000 children stay home each day because they are afraid to attend school as a result of bullying.
Parents can begin with identifying self-communication styles and make modifications if necessary. This is to ensure parents or family members aren’t contributing to the bullying. Parents should put the child’s needs first. Be compassionate and pay attention to what they have to say. Let them know they have support and dedicate time and energy to help them end bullying. Also remember that when a child feels support from a parent or concerned adult their self-esteem can spike and accelerate the process of healing.
Bullying videos for kids can help but are rarely enough to resolve the issue. It is recommended to obtain third party counselor when dealing with a bully situation. It is important to choose someone who has a proven track record and professional reputation. The third party individual can be a board certified counselor, hotline agency, religious leader, school counselor or school administrator. The goal is to directly address the problem. If diplomatic dialogue with school officials don’t stop bullying or the bully’s parents are not helpful, it may be necessary to seek legal counsel, get law enforcement involved or seek assistance from an anti-bullying organization.