Back in school, kids face nasty bullying reality

The Columbus Dispatch/WBNS-10TV
In movies as diverse as A Christmas Story, Stand by Me and Back to the Future, Hollywood has treated bullying as a largely harmless — if not humorous — rite of passage.

In real life, bullying is anything but funny.

“Children who are bullied may be afraid to go to school,” stated a recent Mayo Clinic report. “They may complain of headaches or stomachaches and have trouble concentrating on schoolwork.”

Bullies and their victims, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests, are more likely to carry weapons and take part in fights that cause injuries.

Then there are the long-term effects.

“Children who are bullied have higher rates of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and other mental-health conditions,” the report said. “Children who are bullied are more likely to think about suicide, and some of these wounds may linger into adulthood.”

Since April, according to news reports, at least three children in the United States have committed suicide after being bullied.

More than 30 percent of schoolchildren are bullied at some point, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and that figure is likely to rise as more youngsters are given computers, cell phones and digital cameras — opening the door to “cyber-bullying.”

Cyber-bullying can take the form of harassing e-mail or instant messages, embarrassing digital images or intimidating Web sites or blogs.

Bullying has become so prevalent — with consequences so profound — that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement urging pediatricians to include signs of bullying in their patient assessments. Full story.


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