I was 11 or 12 in high school and I remember the vice-head saying this aloud in assembly.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones….but words will never hurt me.”
This message stuck in my head because, a couple of days earlier I had received a scrunched up note from someone in my class, with quite nasty remarks, and it was something that stuck in my head. (Up until today!!)
Being of such a naive and young age, it was exactly what I needed at that time, and I was impressed. Yes. That’s right. I was impressed. I wasn’t bullied physically in school. No. But at phases in high school I have had nasty words been said to me. And this quote actually grew on me…. I mean anything is better then physical pain and bruises?! Right?….Right?
But how true is this really?
Emotional pain is usually disregarded because it cannot be seen. If a person is suffering from a ‘broken heart’ for example, we advise a person to get over it, over a couple of days, we may even get fed up of the person dealing with it. Yet with a ‘broken leg’ we are likely to sympathise until the cast is off, and the person is walking again.
So the same can be said of Verbal abuse. We have a tendency to tell people to forget it, and ignore it without thinking of the consequence, the actual emotional and mental frustration the person could potentially be going through. I myself have been told on numerous occasion not to say anything back, because its not good to ‘stoop’ to the levels of others. But as I grow older i’m realising that it is not good to push this aside, especially when it comes to children.
With the younger generation being more cognitively, and emotionally sophisticated than was understood before. Warning signs have to be looked into earlier. Studies have shown that children who have been bullied in school are more likely to struggle later on in life, whether that be in relationships, in the workplace, or mentally within themselves.
The concept of Bullying has been around for years, its nothing new, and in all honesty unfortunately it will be around forever. However bullying for the younger generation is a completely different culture to that of my age. With the uprising of social media emotional bullying is more evident. It’s called ‘Cyber Bullying’. And the worst part of cyber bullying is… That it’s permanent and it has a wide reach. There is a scar that can be found on the internet, and usually accessed by loads of people.
With Social media it is so much more easier to spread a rumour, to share a embarrassing or humiliating picture or video, to ‘tag’, ‘share’ or even comment on a common page- for the WORLD to see. And the worse part is, it can all be done Anonymously. And a child or adult cannot get away from it, they cannot run away home or a safe place. The internet is something we have access to everywhere and is always with us.
Bullying can make a person feel lonely and worthless, they may develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, lack of appetite, or even go into substance abuse all of which has impact on the health of the individual.
So Sticks and Stones can break Bones, but Words can actually be detrimental to mental health. And both forms of bullying should be looked into.
Signs a person is being bullied include :
Random bruises, withdrawal symptoms (wanting to be alone or not talking much), loss of appetite, changes in behaviour (getting more angry at home for no reason), constant stomach aches or headaches. Loss of confidence, missing personal belongings, Mood swings.
A person who goes through bullying tends to shy away to talk to loved ones on most occasions. If you do notice signs that you may think a loved one is experiencing bullying here’s a few helplines that may be useful for yourself and the loved one:
Youngminds Crisis Messenger:
Text YM to 85258
A 24 hour text service for individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Text are free from most service providers.
Childline: www.childline.org.uk or 24 hour helpline 0800 1111
If you are 19 or under, then either call in or email the above helpline. Online chatting is also available on the website.
The Mix: www.themix.org.uk or 0808 808 4994
For 25 and under, once again can either call or email, or go online for online chat service with specialised staff
Always look out for signs in friends, family or children, if they become reserved, obtrusive, angry, irritable. Sometimes it’s a sign of mental health issues.
And more importantly #saynotobullying.
Love and regards