It is often the case that hurt children are bullies, perhaps in an attempt to regain their power, or to develop authority.
Being a teenager means that you are going through a period of growth and unforgettable experiences. But for many teenagers, the harsh reality of bullying leaves a bitter mark during these years. As a teenager, I too have seen the painful effects of bullying. This topic deserves attention, understanding and action. With this article, I aim to give my thoughts on the threat posed by bullying, in the hope that only by becoming collectively aware can we bring about positive change.
Bullying is defined as intentional harm to an individual or a group, by another person or group, where the relationship between the two parties involves an imbalance of power. As a negative phenomenon, bullying affects people all over the world, regardless of age, gender, religion, or ethnicity. It takes place in multiple contexts, such as schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and various virtual spaces.
Among young people in Kosovo, bullying mainly appears as teasing, physical violence, psychological violence, cyberbullying, etc. Bullies can be peers, but often also authoritative individuals in young people’s lives, such as the teachers. In Kosovo, it is reported that about 72% of children have experienced physical, verbal, emotional, psychological violence and bullying among peers.
Bullying affects everyone: the bully, the bullied and the bystander. Bullying is also closely related to negative phenomena such as poor mental health, substance abuse, and in the most severe cases, suicide.
Bullied children are more likely to experience bouts of depression or anxiety throughout their lives, changes in sleeping patterns, eating patterns, loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, which often carry over into adulthood. Besides these, those children who are bullied in schools have an increased chance of being absent from the learning process or even dropping out of school.
“Hurt people hurt others” they say. It is often the case that hurt children are bullies, perhaps in an attempt to regain their power, or to develop authority. Psychologists say that this happens because of the insecurities that those individuals have in themselves and bullying is a defense mechanism, in the sense that I hurt others, and so no one hurts me.
But bullying has a negative effect on the aggressor as well. Children who have been bullied are more likely to be substance abusers, engage in beatings, vandalism, drop out of school, have criminal convictions, or be abusive towards their romantic partners, as well as their own children in the future.
So, how should we act to reduce the occurrence of bullying in our society?
Creating a safe and supportive environment for all, continuing education on the effects of bullying, promoting diversity and inclusion, and intervening at the collective level are just some of the ways we can act to address this problem. The time is now.
Alisa Bajgora, 18 years old from Prishtina, 12th grade student at the “Sami Frashëri” High School