Kids and teens are emotionally sensitive and fragile. Even the most little thing that others do can affect their feelings, thus, reacting “socially different” towards their environment. Just like other states in the US, the local government of Tennessee also receives thousands of reports related to harassment and bullying. In fact, all of the states in the strictly prohibits bullying regardless of the reason except to the state of Montana (where bullying is not considered a crime). Did you know 27.5% of Reported School Bullying Cases are Not Bullying?
In 2012 the Tennessee General Assembly, in the USA adapted legislation requiring the department of education to report the number of bullying cases reported during the year and publically state how they are being dealt with. This open approach gives an insight into what is happening in schools around the world when it comes to bullying. The Tennessee district has over 950,000 students across its school districts. It is very interesting to see how many students actually reported being bullied and harassed within schools – but also those who felt they were being harassed, but after investigation – found it was not true bullying. This leads to many questions around how we actually define bullying and if we (parents, media and anti-bullying promoters) are blowing bullying way out of proportion?
Here are the actual reported bullying cases in the schools in Tennessee:
Tennessee Bullying Statistics School Year 2012-2013
7,555 harassment and bullying cases are filed within the school year
5,478 of these cases were confirmed after a strict investigation
695 bullying cases were reported involving gender or sex discrimination
564 reports is related to “cyber-bullying”
321 cases involve race, skin-color and nation of origin
168 reports involve bullying due to a person’s disability
When we work out the figures, it shows that 27% of reported cases were found not to be real examples of bullying and harassment. Does it actually show that we over use the word bullying? Or that our children do not understand the real meaning of bullying? Or is it possible – we have not defined bullying in the best way for our young children to understand?
There is a definite difference between the harmless play acting of children in a playground, sometimes people get hurt in this – but knowing what this is compared to bullying is an important lesson that we must continue to re-enforce within our schools and home settings. We do not want to be seen crying wolf in the media, but most definitely focus on educating our children in the best possible way.
This very point has been discussed at length in interviews with psychologists from the NoBullying website, including –
We should applaud the General Assembly for taking steps to publish this report and keep people accountable for investigating reports. We can only hope it helps to encourage more people to report actual bullying and harassment cases happening in our schools. Sometimes it is hard to take that first step forward, to move out from the shadows.
Development of Bad Habits among Bullied and Bullying Teens
Bad habits can be obtained by people who suffer and initiate bullying. Some of these bad habits are:
Some bully teens love to stalk their prey (the bullied). They do this to find the weak spot of the person they are bullying. They do it by anonymously following them, get to know their friends, check their social media accounts and more. Once they have gathered enough information, they send threats to the person regardless of the damage they are going to cause. They can send threats through letters, e-mails, unknown phone calls and more. Stalking is not necessary used exclusively for bullying, but bullies can develop this habit and continuously practice this activity until they grow up.
Gossiping is not new to bullies. They are fond of making fun of the person they are bullying. They spread rumors, whether the rumor is true or not. This can be dangerous for teens that are most likely to keep this habit once they hit adulthood. They can be sued for libel for spreading malicious rumors.
Teens who are bullied can develop behavior that can may lead to violence. Some of them can turn abusive as they grow-up. This is because of the anxiety, depression and the feeling of being oppressed due to bullying. They tend to transfer these feelings through acts of physical abuse to their future kids, spouses, employees and to all people around them.
This can also occurs to a person who suffered from a long-time bullying. Just like physical abuse, they transfer all the negative emotions they experienced from bullying by means of cursing, insulting, and habitually yelling to someone. Verbally abusive people can lower self-confidence and can cause depression to people. Who would want a person to be consistently insulted and humiliated because of other person’s suffering?
Mental and Emotional Conditions
Being bullied can cause anxiety and depression among people, especially in children and teenagers who are mostly sensitive with their environment. Anxiety and depression is people’s reaction to stress obtained from being consistently bullied throughout their childhood. It can be managed, but some people who seriously suffer this mental condition can have a hard time dealing with it. Some people even commit suicide. Here are some statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health -
Anxiety Statistics in the USA
- 25.1% of Teens in the USA ages 13 to 18 suffer from anxiety disorder
- 8% ages 13-18 suffer from “severe” anxiety disorder
- 30.1% of teens with anxiety disorder are female
- 19% of males are most likely to commit suicide
- 40 million adults have anxiety disorder
Depression Statistics in the USA
- 20% of teens in the USA experience depression
- 10-15% of teens in the US show symptoms of depression at least once in their lives
- 5% of teens suffer from a serious depression
- 2% of teens suffer from Dysthymia, amild yet long-lasting type of depression
- 15% of teens suffering from depression are most likely to develop bipolar disorder
- 30% of teens are more likely to develop alcohol and drug abuse because of depression
Children and teens, most of the times are sensitive. They are easily affected with events in their lives and the situations in their environment. It is a responsibility of every parent and guardian to guide their kids to overcome bullying and help them improve their personality despite of their bad experiences during their childhood.
The statistics shared show that continued education is needed to make a difference in understand, preventing and dealing with bullying and harassment. The impact on our society can be very severe, especially on our young children. We hope you found this article interesting – we would love to hear your comments in the comment box below – do also check out the following related articles: