A: School bullying can be described as a situation in which one or more students (the 'bullies') single out a child (the 'victim') and engage in behaviors intended to harm that child. A bully will frequently target the same victim repeatedly over time. A child who bullies can dominate the victim because the bully possesses more power than the victim. Compared to his or her victim, for example, the bully may be physically stronger or more intelligent, have a larger circle of friends, or possess a higher social standing. Bullying can inflict physical harm, emotional distress, and/or social embarrassment or humiliation.
Q: What impact does bullying have on its victims?
A: Victims of bullying may experience problems with academics, because they are too preoccupied with the task of avoiding the bully to concentrate the teacher's lecture or school assignment. They may engage in specific strategies to dodge the bully (e.g., feigning illness and being sent to the nurse to avoid gym class) and may even develop an apparent phobia about attending school.
Bullying can also leave a lasting imprint on its victims. Victims of bullying are often socially marginalized to start with, having few if any friends. Unfortunately, as these children are bullied over time, they may experience increased rejection by their peers-who blame the victims for the suffering that they endure at the hands of the bully. In time, these victims too may come to believe that they themselves are responsible for the bullying. Individuals who were chronically bullied as children may show symptoms of depression and poor self-esteem as adults.