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Delhi: Bullying a big concern in schools, says survey

Tuesday, 2 September 2014 - 5:34pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

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A recent survey carried out in 300 schools of Delhi and its surrunding regions revealed that 96% respondents consider bullying a significant concern in schools as it has a traumatic effect on kids.

Also, 57% of the respondents feel bullying is most prevalent in the age group of 13-17 years, according to the survey by Fortis National Mental Health Programme.

"When we think of bullying, we usually tend to think of a bigger or stronger student physically threatening or beating up a smaller or 'weaker' person. 57% respondents as per pur survey feel that bullying is most prevalent in the age group of 13-17 years.

"However, there are other kinds of bullying that are just as prevalent, be it calling someone names and teasing them, spreading gossip and rumours about an individual, spreading malicious content online or singling them out and systematically isolating them from a group. While these forms of bullying may not endanger the student physically, their consequences can be just as devastating," said Dr Samir Parikh, Director of Mental Health and Behavioural Science, Fortis.

Instances of bullying have far reaching consequences for the victim, experts feel. During the survey, 61% respondents reported witnessing bullying in classrooms and 75% in school corridors. Children who are bullied may begin to experience difficulties in all spheres of their life, be it academic, emotional or social.

Since schools become a threatening environment for bullied students, school avoidance is not uncommon among these kids, said Parikh.

"They tend to withdraw from their social environment - both friends and family, and may prefer staying home. Victims of bullying may also show a decline in academic performance, with grades dropping sharply and otherwise unexpectedly," explaind Parikh.

Parikh said that physically, this might start affecting the child by way of unexplained aches and pains such as headaches and stomach aches. They might have difficulties sleeping, experience nightmares and their appetite might significantly get affected.

"A lot has been said about victims turning into bullies themselves and it is sometimes possible for victims of bullying to learn aggression as the only way of dealing with situations and so often run the risk of becoming more aggressive and apathetic themselves.

"It's been found that bullies are more likely to drop out of school and indulge in substance abuse, while passive observers may go through feelings of fear, powerlessness and guilt," he said. One of the biggest obstacles in tackling bullying, the danger is that it often goes unreported. It is therefore, up to parents and teachers to be aware of these signs that may point to a child being bullied. In such an event that a child is being bullied, psychological intervention by a counsellor is an absolute must.

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