One of the biggest and most dangerous things facing our society today is bullying. It is fast becoming, if not already, the biggest factor in the suicide of young people today. Whether it’s from physical and constant harassment, or the hatred displayed on social media it’s a menace to society.
What exactly is bullying? By definition bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
As a candidate for my local school board during the 2018 election cycle, bullying was one of the biggest issues that I heard about in my community. Parents shared stories about some of the bullying their kids faced practically every day while they were in school, and were really upset at the lack of attention they were getting from the school administrators. I heard from a lot of parents that either moved away or sent their kids to other schools due to the lack of help from school administrators.
Kids that are perceived as being different, whether it’s wearing glasses or being overweight, or just living in a particular part of the city, are more often than not the victims of bullying. The chart below details some different categories of kids that were bullied between the years of 2015-2017.
The fastest growing factor in bullying is the cyberbully. Through social media, kids can hide behind their keyboards and dish out as much hatred as they can muster without worrying as much about getting caught.
It’s not easy dealing with bullies, especially when you are the victim and are scared to speak up. It gets even worse when you things posted online about you and you know that all of your friends and family see the horrible things that are written. It’s that feeling of hopelessness that sends kids over the edge.
The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming:
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
- Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
- A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
- 10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
- According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying
Bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.
And bullying isn’t just happening to our school kids. Even as adults we experience bullying in some form or another. I know it’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s true.
I think the best tool to help in the fight against bullying is to keep bringing awareness to it and letting people know that it is not going to be tolerated. The statistics presented in this post are all found online through various websites. I am thankful to organizations like Speak Out Against Bullying, Inc., Free2luv, and others for their continued efforts to provide support and guidance for victims of bullies.