The effects of bullying can be severe. Various studies say that it can cause anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and disrupted sleep patterns. Children are sometimes ashamed of being bullied and keep incidents from their parents, which can make the problem worse. And the problem is widespread. Some data shows that as many as 20% are bullied over the course of their childhoods.
The rise in social media usage likely has led to an increase in cyberbullying. While bullying is rarely the primary cause of suicide, peer-on-peer aggression can have serious and long-lasting effects on child development, including experiencing depression, low self-esteem, self-harming behaviors and even substance abuse later in life.
StopBullying.gov, a website on bullying prevention managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, confirms how bullying can have a profound and lasting impact on a child targeted with aggressive behavior by a friend or classmate. Depression and anxiety, physical ailments and poor academic achievement often plague the bullied youngster. Many students are forced to drop out of school to escape their tormentors.
To assess the scope of bullying among young people, the government developed the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Survey in 1990 to monitor health behaviors contributing markedly to the leading causes of death, disability and social problems among youth and adults in the United States.
To determine the state where bullying is the biggest problem, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of high school students who were bullied on school property in the past year from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Survey for the 41 states with available data.
Data on the share of students who were electronically bullied (including bullied through texting, Instagram, Facebook or other social media); the share of students who reported feeling sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more in a row and stopped doing some usual activities; and the share of students who seriously considered attempting suiсide also came from the CDC’s high school survey. All data is ranked by the 41 states.
Although the study only covers 41 states, bullying is a national problem. Nearly 20% of all high school students nationwide reported being bullied on school grounds. Another 15.7% said the behavior happened online. As many as 36.7% of high schoolers reported feelings of hopelessness and sadness, and nearly 19% contemplated suiсide.
Looking at individual states, Alaskan children suffer the most bullying, with 25.5% reporting being bullied on school property in the past year. More than 19% report online buying, the second-highest percentage on the list. Alarmingly, a quarter (25.3%) say they have considered suiсide, the second-highest percentage of the states considered.
Even the states rated as having less of a bullying problem reported distressingly high incidences of harmful behaviors. More than 14% in Texas reported being bullied at school, with 12% saying they were the victims of online bullying. Roughly 40% said they felt sad and hopeless, the eighth highest percentage, and 18.9% said they contemplated suiсide. Perhaps one day the percentages will hit zero.
Click here to see all the states with the biggest bullying problems.
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