So what is the difference between teasing and bullying?
Bullying in school remains an area of concern for parents all over the world. Anyone who has ever been bullied knows that there is a difference between being bullied and being teased. Bullying develops fear in the young victims who feel helpless and isolated. Teasing occurs between family, friends or strangers. It’s often a response to one’s actions which may have been funny or odd. It’s been argued by experts in the field that teasing is the initial stage of bullying. There has yet to be a definitive definition to distinguish teasing from bullying. According to an editorial by the Waterloo Regional Record, “teasing becomes bullying when the target or the victim verbally declares it by stating, ‘Stop – you are bullying me.’ Once these words are spoken, the perpetrators have been notified and if they continue, then they are no longer teasing, but are bullying.”
More on the connection between teasing and bullying below…
The aim of such theories is to divide actual bullies from everyone else for the purpose of insight into bullying. The outcome of a situation in which someone is being bullied can be a dangerous one. The psychological trauma can lead the victim to harm him/herself or others. Tolerance for teasing is normally greater because the “teaser” or “teasers” aren’t as persistent as bullies in forcing their will upon the victim. If the teasing doesn’t stop, then the situation has become a matter of bullying.
Of course, the dividing line is an invisible one. But at an emotional level, bullying starts when a person’s feelings are hurt. Unfortunately, only the victim knows that the teasing has reached that level. According to Peter Graves of the Spokesman Review, “Teasing can be fun for all people involved. Just be careful about crossing that line.” Some teasing is considered harmless such as the teasing that occurs between young children who like each other. When there is no malice intended, then the situation doesn’t place anyone in harm’s way.
The teasing scale has been the focal point in the research and analysis of the causes of bullying. Large portions of the medical sector have dedicated countless hours to find out the exact moment when a person starts to feel victimized by the actions of another. It is viewed as a critical point of insight for scientists who want to prevent bullying at the onset, so that severe consequences don’t emerge.
Bullying became a concern for Karen Carlson, professor of nursing and dean of academic affairs at the University of New Mexico. She frequently saw children come into the ER complaining of headaches, abdominal pain, and other issues without any physical symptoms. “They (meaning doctors and nurses) know that there is something else going on with these children. And when they get down to it, they find that these children are being teased at school.”
Karen Carlson was involved in a study that was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Nursing and the National Institute for Nursing Research wanted to determine when teasing becomes bullying. In a study that costs both research institutes a combined total of $336,495, a group of 10 children from Albuquerque ranging from the ages of 11 to 14 discussed their personal stories.
It is commonly known that some bullying occurs as a result of physical differences, particularly to people who are short, overweight, or have physical problems. The study wanted to develop a method that school nurses and counselors can use to determine when a serious problem has developed. The researchers wanted to narrow common themes from the comments recorded from the children about their opinions of teasing. In the second part of the study, the children will range how offensive they find the comments to be. During the third phase of the study, a larger number of children will undergo the teasing test to determine if a child has a low self-concept or a high level of depressive symptoms.
Bullying has become a topic of large interest because of the traumatic effects it has on the victims. Once teasing has passed the point of fun and games, the person is now at risk of developing severe emotional harm. Children who are the victims of bullying grow up with low self-esteem and feel at risks when in public. “They are more guarded and less confident,” said Carlson.
Recent history has showed us the ultimate price that society pays as a result of bullying. The movement to educate our youth about the consequences of bullying is being assisted by highly funded research projects such as the one that Karen Carlson is doing. The deeper that the research investigates, the closer it will come to developing a method for detecting victims of bullying who are afraid to speak about their problem.
Spread the word on teasing and bullying and educate others to realize the difference between teasing and bullying now!