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Why bullying should be taken seriously

ER24 speaks about the effect of bullying on a victim.

Parents must pay attention to their child’s behaviour to establish if they are being bullied, warned ER24. Speaking about the effect of bullying on a victim, ER24 said that the child could become withdrawn or undergo personality changes.

A once bubbly and happy child may now be quiet and depressed. There may be a change in school marks. They may also experience panic attacks and fear going to school. They said that it is wise to educate children and discuss bullying with them as early as possible. Grade R is a good time to start.

• Difference in bullying among boys and girls

It used to be a case of girls displaying more verbal and emotional bullying and boys displaying more physical bullying, this has now changed.

ER24 said, “These days, we find that girls also display physical bullying and girl fights are common. Boys now display more emotional bullying than before. Reasons for bullying, however, do not differ between boys and girls.”

Explaining some of the reasons for bullying, ER24 said these include anything from physical looks, weight, height and the fitting of braces on a child’s teeth. The difference in culture, race and colour, being poor, speech impediments or anything that makes a child stand out negatively is also food for bullies. There are various reasons why children become bullies.

They could be jealous of another child, unhappy with something in their own lives, feel a need to impress others around them and believe that bullying is the way to do it, or they may have a big ego.

Explaining further, ER24 said, “Bullies may be insecure about themselves and use bullying to feel more powerful and successful than the person they are bullying. Violence at home, on the television or TV games also has an effect to some degree. Bullies can also be victims of bullying. There are cases, for example, where children are bullied at home.”

Reasons for bullying, however, do not differ between boys and girls. Photo: cottonbro studio/ www.pexels.com.

• Types of bullying

Bullying, which refers to repeated behaviour by someone intended to hurt another person either through verbal, social or physical behaviour, could include anything from making threats, teasing or name calling, spreading rumours or pushing or tripping a person.

Emotional bullying is automatically part of the trauma experienced as a result of physical bullying. No bullying case is only physical. It is, however, possible to have emotional bullying cases that do not result in physical bullying. Children are affected when they are teased or when nasty things are said to them.

Bullying usually starts verbally and emotionally and usually only goes over to physical bullying when the child that gets bullied stands up for him or herself or displays behaviour that the bully does not like.

Bullying usually starts verbally and emotionally and usually only goes over to physical bullying when the child that gets bullied stands up for him or herself or displays behaviour that the bully does not like. Photo: Mikhail Nilov/ www.pexels.com.

• Long-term effect

Speaking about the long-term effects of bullying, ER24 said that victims never forget the bullying they experienced as a child, but can overcome it.

While bullying has a negative effect on some victims for the rest of their lives, others become motivated to succeed in life. A child can overcome the effect of being bullied, provided however, that the bullying stops.

Children can also overcome the effects of bullying if they receive lots of care, love and even counselling. Counselling is a great way to get help. School counsellors or educational psychologists are trained to help children. Parents, teachers or children should seek their assistance.

ER24’s Emergency Contact Centre can be reached 24 hours a day on 084 124 for any medical emergency.

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