26 April 2019
Bullying at school can leave a child with emotional scars that can be long-lasting. Photo: Reuters
Bullying at school can leave a child with emotional scars that can be long-lasting. Photo: Reuters

Bullying at school: Why it should be taken seriously

One of the main reasons why some children develop emotional problems at school is bullying or taunts by their peers. 

Generally speaking, bullying is defined as a physical or mental aggressive behavior towards a weak individual by a stronger individual or group.

It usually occurs under power imbalance and it is a repetitive behavior. A study in Hong Kong has found that more than half of the interviewees admitted to the bullying phenomenon. Some were bystanders, some were the bullies and some were the victims.

Nowadays, parents are more sensitive towards bullying problems. Some even treat pranking and messing around between friends as bullying and will follow up seriously.

However, there are also many parents and teachers who see bullying as normal conflicts between peers. It is necessary to further understand the definition of bullying and not be confined by the above two generalizations.

Educators should not treat bullying as a ritual that everyone must experience. This generation of teenagers values their personal feelings, which means they are more likely to be emotionally unstable.

Given this trait, they might lack the skills to solve problems and conflicts. Sometimes a few jokes can easily start a fight.

Studies have also proved that violence is a learned behavior, usually learned from family, friends and social environments. Children may learn violence from their parents since childhood.

When school-aged children are involved in the bullying sub-culture, they become numb and indifferent and may find it hard to feel empathy for one another.

In order to help kids from bullying problems, it is the best to start educating them at a young age.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 18

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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FHKAM (Psychiatry)

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