Bullying – A plague of our modern societies

The Greek non-governmental organisation Smile of the Child issued on Wednesday a report about the phenomenon of school-based bullying in Greece. The Greek authorities have designated 6th March as the national anti-bullying day. The report revealed some disturbing realities. Approximately 35% of students in Greece has faced a bullying incident at least once in his/her lifetime. Further, 4% of bullying victims claim they have victimised other peers as well. Finally, 42% of teachers and educational staff believes that intra-school bullying and ragging are hushed up often by the victims themselves.

In addition to these indicators, the report argued that for the year 2018 Smile of the Child received on 447 anti-bullying calls in its national hotline. Of them the greatest majority were to victims of bullying and not bystanders who wished to refer to an incident. This number is complemented by the report’s conclusion that only one out of ten victims of bullying in Greece receives specialist treatment from accredited doctors, psychologists and health centres.

Causes of Bullying

The origins of bullish behaviour are easily spotted. Bullying either it refers to victims or perpetrators indicates a rough childhood. Bullied children are exposed to long-term victimisation or even child abuses and sexual harassment, within their family premises, at school or even in virtual gaming communities. Bullied children naturally then become bullish adolescents projecting their traumas to other seemingly sensitive peers.

Bullying represents an activity of physical, verbal or psychological torment. Victims may be hit, mocked, threatened or even extorted money. Bullying also applies when children spread falsified rumours about their peers or comment on social media platforms, during physical sports or virtual gaming activities. The difference between bullying and teasing lies in the systematic victimisation of sensitive children, who cannot respond in the same way to their harassers.

Both bullies and their victims project antisocial behaviours and are often entrapped into vicious cycles of addiction with alcohol, tobacco, drugs or even food and the internet. In extreme cases, they may conduct illegal activities as well. High distress levels observed in both categories of people often leads to long-term depression, anxiety and low-self esteem. Suicide may also embody an option for these people in later stages, when total loss of self-control has taken over.

Countering Bulling

Most children even if they perpetrate or suffer from bullying activities do not inform their parents or teachers. In cases where parents or teachers notice visible injuries or bruises they must immediately report to the educational authorities and seek for medical assistance. Behavioural signs entail sleepless nights, fear, skipping daily routine activities or sluggishness to do anything, from playing video games, going out with friends or even going to school.

In these cases, parents must consult with the respective authorities but also initiate direct talking sessions with their children. Talking must take place in an unbiased way, not forcing children to admit victimisation or perpetration of bullish activities. It requires a more roundabout way for instance developing hypothetical scenarios and asking children of their opinion or discussing within TV context how children would react to these events.

Above all, the optimum choice is to educate children speak about bullying and report to the relevant authorities when they witness such events to take place against their peers. Talking is of foremost importance, either this relates to parents, teacher or children hotlines.

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