Do you know India stands third in terms of the number of children and teenagers being bullied online in the category of 8-17 years age- 54% as against the global average of 72%? This is besides a large number of others who are being bullied in schools, neighborhoods, streets, etc.
Put the issue in its proper perspective, in fact, there is currently no concrete legal framework to tackle the problem of bullying. In schools, where maximum bullying takes place, mostly authorities look the other way. Bullying is one of the most disconcerting social and psychiatric issues the parents are faced with today.
Scar in mind
One of the serious dimensions of the problem is that bullying leaves behind a deep scar in the mind of the victim. It has also a long term social and psychological repercussion for the perpetrator of the crime. This in itself makes it an issue of utmost importance needing urgent attention.
What is Bullying?
Bullying can be in the form of threats, teasing, name calling, excluding, preventing someone from going where he or she intends to go or doing what they want to do. It can be in the form of pushing, hitting, and all types of physical violence.
Bullies vs Bullied
According to a study bullies are more prone to post-bullying complications like depression and anxiety. In many cases they are more likely to drop out of school or perform worse than their peers in the classroom. As per another study by the US based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 5% of high school bullying victims may take recourse to suicide
- 9% of middle school bullying victims may take recourse to self-harm
- 4% of high school bullying victims may be physically hurt by a family member
Solution to problem!
That brings us to the most important point of how to find a solution to the problem. Experts who have successfully dealt with the problem of bullying say that the onus lies on both parents, schools and the students themselves. They say:
- It is important that early signs of bullying are red-flagged.
- There is a need to educate teachers, parents and students on how to prevent and stop bullying
What Schools can do?
- Teachers can be trained to recognize and prevent bullying
- Students and teachers can be told about effects of bullying and how to prevent it during school assemblies
- Flyers can be mailed to parents with specific talking-points on dangers of bullying that can they can discuss with their children
- Posters and flyers can be placed at strategic locations highlighting points raised about at school assemblies
- Students/parents/ teachers can be educated through flyers and posters on how to prevent and stop bullying
- A system can be developed that enables students, parents and teachers to report on bullying anonymously for quick preventive action
- It is important to set age-specific rules to prevent bullying in schools
- It is important to clearly enunciate the punishment for breaking rules and rewards for abiding by the rules
Finally, in India unlike in the West bullying is yet to assume a gargantuan proportion. There are, however, already clear signs of it snowballing into a serious socio-psychological issue. The need of the hour is collective action to nip the problem in the bud.