Learn something new every day More Info... by email
The different types of child harassment include verbal abuse, cyberbullying, physical violence, property damage, threats, stalking, and peer pressure. Essentially, any repeated behavior by a bully intended to be hurtful may constitute a form of harassment. Some children engage in these behaviors toward other children in school. The various types of child harassment may escalate into the use of weapons or suicide.
Child harassment through verbal abuse occurs through name calling, derogatory jokes about a victim, teasing, racial or sexual remarks, or telling lies about the victim. Bullies simply attack a victim directly with foul remarks. Attacks may also occur indirectly with bullies spreading rumors or lies about a particular victim.
Verbal abuse may lead into cyberbullying or cyberstalking, which is another type of child harassment. This occurs when the perpetrator transmits attacks over the Internet through instant messaging, postings on social networking sites, or emails and text messages. Cyberbullying may not be easy to stop because it can occur anonymously. Physically stalking also occurs when the offender follows a child to intimidate or threaten.
Physical violence is another type of child harassment. This occurs through hitting, kicking, grabbing, or pulling hair. Physical attacks may escalate into children using weapons against each other. Bullies may take weapons to school to intimidate other children. Some victims of child harassment have even taken guns or knives to school for self-defense or retaliation.
Destroying or stealing property is another method of child harassment. Children often take various types of items to school such as iPods, cell phones, or books. A bully simply takes away the property from younger or weaker children. and hides, destroys, or keeps it. Children do not necessarily report this type of behavior because they are fearful of further attacks.
Peer pressure is another type of child harassment. Through peer pressure, a bully may cause other children to stay away from a victim. Those children ignore the victim or give a victim the silent treatment. As a result, the victim feels isolated with no friends.
The various types of child harassment may cause victims to perform poorly in school. The effects may also damage self-esteem, which could be long lasting. In extreme cases, children may commit suicide or retaliate with greater forms of violence. This may occur because schools have either ignored pleas for help or fail to address the problem effectively. In other instances, the victim may not report the problem to parents or school officials.
You really need to try and keep tabs on what your child gets up to in school. Try to keep an open dialogue with them, so they feel safe that they can tell you things and you won't go against their wishes.
I think kids get scared that their parents will try to intervene and make things worse with the bully, or that they will be judgmental, or even that their parents have enough worries without them adding another.
It's tough to negotiate those waters, but damage from being bullied can haunt a kid for years. You owe it to them to make sure they don't suffer from it.
@pleonasm - It's being addressed in some cases, but in others, not so much, or not quickly or well enough.
A good example is the number of GLBT youth who have committed suicide recently. Often, even if they do ask teachers for help, they don't get it. I've even heard of a teacher telling a student to stop "acting so gay" to stop bullying. As though that's how it works.
For a child to feel so alone and tormented that it drives them to suicide is just wrong. Even if you are "anti-gay" you have to be able to see that. It's just plain child abuse.
One good thing though is that there are quite a few help organisations now for young people to call if they are being bullied.
The Trevor Project is one example that's geared towards queer youth (although it can be used by anyone) but there are many others if you do a quick search for "youth hotline" plus your area.
Seek help. You aren't alone.
People think of bullying as not being all that much of a big deal.
But they are thinking about people who have a network to fall back on, like most adults have.
Even if your boss doesn't treat you well, you still probably have a wife to complain to, friends to make you feel better, and so forth.
And even then, harassment at work is considered a serious offence for a good reason.
But often a bullied kid has no one to turn to. They don't feel like they can talk to their parents (perhaps because they don't think they'll understand, or perhaps because their parents aren't very supportive), often they don't have many or any friends, and they have no way of understanding what is happening.
They only know that every day they have to endure what amounts to torture, and if they lash out in any way, they could be punished. This leads to suicide and violence.
It's a terrible thing to happen and I'm glad it's being addressed by more schools.