The effects of bullying

Bullying is serious and these sort of statements are not helpful:

  • "Bullying is just a part of growing up"
  • "It helps children deal with the 'real world'"
  • "It helps children toughen up"
  • "It never did me any harm"
  • "It made me who I am today - the bullies did me a favour"

Research shows us that bullying experiences can be devastating long into adulthood, and should never be seen as an inevitable part of growing up.

Bullying doesn't just affect the target and the children who are bullying others, but everyone who is involved in the incident - either in school, the community or online.

Impact on children and young people

Children who are targets of bullying are more likely to:

  • Have low self-esteem
  • Develop depression or anxiety
  • Develop mental health issues 
  • Become socially withdrawn, isolated and lonely
  • Be excluded from school
  • Truant from school
  • Have lower academic achievements due to time out of school and/or struggling to concentrate
  • Struggle to form trusting, healthy relationships with friends or partners in the future

Impact on children who bully others

Children who frequently bully others are more likely to:

  • Drop out of, or be excluded from school
  • Engage in criminal behaviour
  • Develop depression or anxiety
  • Be abusive towards their sexual partners, spouses or children as adults

Impact on bystanders

Children who witness bullying are more likely to:

  • Feel powerless
  • Live in fear and guilt

Impact on schools

Schools that do not take significant action against bullying are more likely to:

  • Create a negative environment based on a culture of fear and disrespect
  • Have poor student engagement, staff retention and parent satisfaction
  • Give students the impression that teachers have little control and do not care
  • Instill insecurity, low self-esteem and lack of ambition in their students
  • Fail in helping students to reach their full academic potential

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