What is bullying?

Bullying or school harassment refers to the psychological, physical or verbal abuse that occurs between schoolchildren, both in the classroom and on social networks (cyberbullying). It usually occurs over a prolonged period of time. Those affected are usually boys and girls of pre-adolescent age, and often suffer emotional sequelae of this stage for much of his life.

Some forms of bullying are social exclusion, teasing, threats, aggression, harassment or coercion.

Symptoms of bullying

The child victim of bullying will feel the emotional consequences of feeling harassment and verbal or physical aggression. Thus, they will feel sad, nervous, scared and lonely, affecting their social relationships. Because of this situation their school performance may also be affected, and the child will not want to go to school. In some cases the affected person may have thoughts of suicide.

Causes of bullying

The aggressor who provokes bullying does not necessarily have a serious personality disorder, but often presents some psychopathology, such as a total absence of empathy or distortion of reality. In many cases the aggressor has witnessed violence in his or her environment on a regular basis.

The school environment also influences bullying, as it is important to create a pleasant atmosphere of coexistence among all students. Bullying is more frequent among girls, and also among students with a difference such as Down syndrome or autism. For this reason it is very important that educators foster a climate of respect and empathy in the classroom.

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Prevention of bullying

The way to prevent bullying is based on the education of children and adolescents, seeking to promote respect and empathy, as well as avoiding harassment and exclusion of any student. Teachers have a very important role in the prevention of bullying, acting at the first signs of violence among students.

It is also very important that parents educate their children in values contrary to the use of physical or psychological violence.

Treatment of bullying

The victim of bullying will require psychological therapy to overcome the negative effects that the bullying is causing him/her, even to be able to fight it and to be able to continue with his/her school life. In many cases the child will require psychiatric help and pharmacological treatment to overcome depression or even suicidal thoughts or self-harm. It is possible that the victim of bullying may need therapy from a psychologist some time after the bullying has stopped, as this type of bullying causes serious after-effects that can last for many years.

The aggressor may also need psychological therapy to treat the causes that lead him/her to exert violence and harassment on other people.