Scars of Bullying

By Chris Mudd, Eagle Life Writer

The ever-increasing connectivity brought to us by the age of the Internet has ushered in a new revolution of information and communication, but it also reaps a new format for bullies and antagonistic behavior.

Every few months, a story breaks of a student hurting themselves, or worse, due to the bullying they have encountered at school or online.

While it is known that bullying and harassment are inherently bad, new statistics have arose, proving that the impact goes far beyond the playground or online forum.

A study from King’s College in London determined that bullying can have a heavy impact on adult life. The study found that children who are bullied are far more likely to experience depression, anxiety, have suicidal thoughts and be in worse physical health as adults than those who were not.

The impact bullying and harassment had on students has had a range of influences on them. For some, the impact was substantial. For others, it remains quite inconsequential.

“I got picked on a lot in middle school,” said EWU junior Audrey Carter. “I got stereotyped a lot. People thought I was a dude, and if not that, then I was clearly a lesbian. At this point, it’s become white noise, I just accept that people say things like that are either ignorant or stupid.”

While some are able to block out and ignore the insensitivity and brutality from their peers, everyone has their limits.

Another EWU student, who wished to remain anonymous due to their own personal trauma, said, “It was bad, I’m still dealing with depression from it all.” The student was visibly uncomfortable when recalling the particulars, “It’s pretty substantial. A lot of self-harming came from it, but that’s why I’m seeing a therapist.”

Professor Louise Arseneault, lead author of the study from Kings College said, “We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing up. Teachers, parents and policy-makers should be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions.”

As we delve further and further into a connected future, working together to end bullying and harassment both online and off has never been so viable. It is suggested for students to contact police in the case of a threat or to visit the EWU Counseling and Psychological Services office in Martin Hall.