How many times have we heard bullying dismissed as "kids being kids"? But from the countless news stories about bullied children and young people committing suicide, we know that it's more than mere child's play.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released their findings in a study on bullying—and what they found is eye-opening. By analyzing a survey of youth in Massachusetts, the CDC concluded that health risks and home environment for teens involved in bullying are much worse than for kids who have no experience with bullying.
Compared to other students, middle-school victims of bullying were almost three more times likely to be physically abused at home; bullies themselves were 4.4 times more likely, and those who were both bullies and victims were 5.0 times more likely. For the three groups, the odds ratio of witnessing violence at home was, respectively, 2.6, 2.9 and 3.9.
High school students fared the same. The odds ratio for a high school student to be physically hurt by a family member was 2.8 for victims, 3.8 for bullies, and 5.4 for bully-victims, compared to students who were not involved in bullying; for witnessing violence at home, the odds ratio for high school students was 2.3, 2.7 and 6.8, respectively.
According to the survey, bullying was defined as being "repeatedly teased, threatened, hit, kicked or excluded by another student or group of students."
Researchers wrote that they hope that these findings will encourage more prevention programs, as well as comprehensive programs and strategies that involve families, given that family relationships and behavior play a factor in bullying.
Almost 30 percent of U.S students will experience being bullied during their lifetime, and every year almost 168,000 students miss school to avoid being bullied. Past studies have found that bullying is linked to failing grades, dropping out of school and mental health issues. And while the media doesn't always do the best job illuminating that bullying is our problem too, it is prevalent in our community. Whether the bullying is LGBT-related, race-related or gender-related, African-American children are impacted.
The real question is what are we going to do about it?
To learn more about what you can do about being bullied, how to protect your children from being bullied and how to bully-proof your child, click here.
(Photo: Dennis Brack/Landov)