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Signs and Consequences of Bullying

Signs and Consequences of Bullying

Children and youth who are being victimized often show a change in behaviour and/or emotions:

  • Anxious, fearful, over-reactive
  • Exhibits low self-esteem and makes negative comments about him/herself
  • Expresses threats to hurt himself/herself or others
  • Headaches and stomach aches
  • Injuries, bruising, damaged clothing, broken things
  • Lower interest and performance in school
  • Loses things, needs money, reports being hungry after school
  • Not wanting to go to school or participate in extra-curricular activities
  • Trouble sleeping, nightmares, bedwetting
  • Unhappy, irritable, little interest in activities
  • Bullying is about power, and the behaviour is generally developed over time. It’s not always easy to spot bullying in action.

Here are some possible indications of bullying behaviour:

  • Aggressive, angry behaviour
  • Aggressive behaviour with peers, such as yelling, hitting or throwing
  • Extra money, clothes, or boasting about taunting someone
  • Kids grouping together and intentionally leaving others out
  • Lack of empathy–not understanding or caring if someone is hurt
  • Laughing when other kids get hurt
  • Name calling of siblings or friends
  • Passing off teasing someone as a joke


Kids comments about being bullied:

  • A boy threatened my friend and tried to force her to do something she didn’t want to do. She got so frightened she talked to an older student about it.
  • A girl at school is constantly being made fun of and excluded. The group pretends to be friends and they make her do tricks. Then they laugh at her and imitate her behind her back.
  • I am teased for being very smart. I hope someone of higher authority will give a warning to the person who is mean.
  • I felt like not coming to school because the teasing was so horrible. I felt really bad like I was rotting inside and I couldn’t do anything about it.
  • I felt really sad and I didn’t know what to do when I was left out of a group. I think it was because I wasn’t cool enough.
  • I have people in my class who leave me out, even though I would like to be friends with them. I would like someone to stand up for me, or I wish I had the courage to say what I feel.
  • My brother’s friend keeps beating me up. I’m scared and I can’t get away from him. I wish he would stop hurting me.
  • My brother sometimes likes to get together with his friends and pick on me and I can’t fight back. I wish I could get him back, but mostly I just wish he’d STOP.
  • My friend decided to be friends with the popular girl. She made fun of me because I wouldn’t swear and told lies about me to my friends.
  • My friend had a party and invited everyone but me. I felt bad and I thought she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.
  • My friend is always being teased because she is overweight. She is called names like “oinker” and “fatty”. I wish I could help her.


What are the effects of bullying?

Bullying can have long-term physical and psychological consequences. Bullying makes children feel lonely, upset, unhappy and frightened. It can make them feel unsafe and think there must be something wrong with them. Children can lose confidence and may not want to go to school anymore. They may feel withdrawn from family and school activities, wanting to be left alone. Victims of bullying typically are very unhappy children who suffer from fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem as a result of the bullying. They may try to avoid school, and to avoid social interaction, in an effort to escape the bullying. Some victims of bullying are so distressed that they commit, or attempt to commit suicide. It may even make them sick.

Some signs to watch for:

  • Being exhausted
  • Headaches
  • Nightmares
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Panic Attacks
  • Shyness
  • Sleeping too much
  • Stomach-aches

Even when bullying does not drive victims to the extremes of suicide, victims experience significant psychological harm which interferes with their social and academic and emotional development. The sooner the bullying is stopped, the better for the long-term outcome for victims. If bullying patterns are allowed to continue unchecked, there are long-term consequences for the victim.

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