Bullying affects children of all ages in school, and can have lifelong consequences. It often involves teasing, name-calling, and physical violence. In addition to physical injury, the consequences of bullying can affect academic achievement and cause depression, low self-esteem, and a variety of health symptoms such as headaches and difficulty sleeping. Preventing bullying has been largely avoided in the past, but there are now many tips for doing so, including both teacher interventions at school and parent interventions. Policies can also be implemented at companies to prevent workplace bullying, which can have a profound effect on job performance and personal well-being.
Preventing bullying begins where it takes place; the most apparent location is at school. Any school safety program should include policies that address bullying, and have a plan for disciplining students who engaging in bullying behavior. Staff and students should be made aware of the warning signs. This bullying awareness comes with the willingness of adults in the school to act accordingly when someone is bullied, and also involves a general cultural attitude that aggressive behavior is wrong.
Children can also be taught to be proactive in order to prevent classroom bullying. Activities such as role-playing can build confidence, but preventing bullying is achieved with real-world actions, such as looking someone in the eye and standing up straight to demonstrate self-confidence. Since bullies tend to choose targets that seem vulnerable, acting self-confident is a significant way to prevent bullying at all times. Bullies tend to act during unsupervised activities, so children should be involved in structured activities as much as possible when in school.
Preventing bullying is not only important for those who are victimized, but for the bullies as well. Various studies have shown that children who bully others have a high likelihood of committing crimes and abusing their children and spouses as adults. Schools can also educate parents on what to look for, and get them to participate in the bullying prevention process. The more parents and teachers allow children to be open, the more likely a child will talk when a bully is affecting them, so other preventative measures can be implemented early on.
Policies in both the school and workplace are important for preventing bullying. At work, actions perceived as bullying may seem more covert, but by monitoring employee behavior patterns and relationships, and having a way to handle complaints, work safety can be improved when it comes to bullying. Bullying should always be addressed because it has a direct, negative affect on school and job performance and the victim’s well being.