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The Battle Against Bullying
Episode 1431st August 2023 • What The Health: News & Information To Live Well & Feel Good • John Salak
00:00:00 00:11:20

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In this eye-opening episode, join host John Salak as he delves into the pervasive issue of bullying in various forms, from classic bullies in history to the rise of modern-day bullying. From schools to workplaces, bullying is a distressing experience that affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. While awareness is growing, so is the severity of the problem. This episode explores the different types of bullying, the profound physical and mental consequences it inflicts, and its tragic link to suicide. Learn how to spot signs of bullying, offer support, and help prevent lasting issues that can carry into adulthood. With valuable insights and strategies, this episode is a must-listen for parents, students, and anyone concerned about the impact of bullying.

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Chapter Summaries;

[00:00:31]: Introduction to classic bullies from history and movies.

[00:01:11]: Dealing with bullies throughout life and the rise of bullying.

[00:02:20]: Understanding the seriousness of bullying and its consequences.

[00:02:49]: Prevalence of bullying among children, teens, and adults.

[00:03:29]: Factors that make individuals vulnerable to bullying.

[00:04:03]: Explanation of different types of bullying: verbal, social, physical, and cyber.

[00:04:45]: Rise of cyberbullying and its impact on adolescents.

[00:05:24]: Physical and mental consequences of bullying, including suicide.

[00:06:25]: Lingering effects of bullying into adulthood.

[00:08:05]: Health Hack Segment: Strategies for dealing with bullying.

[00:10:41]: Closing remarks

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Remember Biff from Back to the Future. What about Roman Emperor Caligula, Senator Joe McCarthy, Wisconsin, Henry viii, king of the Britains, or Lucy Van Pelt of Peanuts fame. What do they all have in common? They're all classic bullies from movies in history. Okay, let's face it. Everyone has had to deal with a bully at one time or another.

Sure, maybe not a whacked out and psychotic Roman emperor, but from the first time many of us walked through a school door, negotiated our way through junior high and high school, spent summers at camp, sat through dysfunctional family gatherings or weathered friend circles that were well less than friendly.

Bullies have taken their toll. Heck, a surprising number of adults even get bullied at work. So it's almost kind of a rite of passage to have been bullied. One up until recently, that seemed annoying and disturbing, but not deeply harmful. Now we know better. Bullying is deadly serious business, and it appears to be on the rise and more dangerous than ever.

This badgering isn't limited to verbal abuse, a k a name calling. It can take physical form as well. Touching on the old and young and people of all gender identities and background. The good news is we know more about bullying than ever before. It's causes consequences and types. The insights that have been developed are important for getting the crisis under control.

But the bad news is that these same insights paint a troubling picture. Bullies as we all suspect, prey on the weak. That's why so much bullying goes on in schools and with young children in general. In the past, it was often assumed that victims would simply outgrow the annoying consequences of bullying.

Now, we know better bullying can take a devastating toll on its victims consequences that can be carried with them right into adulthood, leading to all sorts of mental, physical, and social issues. It can, at times, even exact a higher price when victims engage in self-harm or suicide. So right now, awareness is growing.

And that's great, but so is the problem. Welcome to the age of bullying.

Okay. We've stated the obvious bullying is everywhere and it is likely on the rise, but just how pervasive is it? Well, a shattering percentage of children, teens, and adults are bullied. Stents vary a bit, but conservative estimates report that at least 25% of school aged children and teenagers are bullied.

Some estimates place that level at twice as high. A Harris poll also indicates that 31% of American adults have been bullied. Which was defined as a repeated negative behavior intended to harm or intimidate them. What's more troubling is that 40% of adults say bullying is more accepted than ever. Now, what's common among all victims is that they are targeted because they're perceived as different.

Weak may have low self-esteem or socially awkward, or have limited support networks. It is not surprising then that children are a prime target, even though no single factor puts them at risk. And bullying happens everywhere and anywhere. Cities, suburbs, and rural towns, gay, transgender, and bisexual adolescents are at particular risk, as are students with disabilities or pronounced or seemingly different religious beliefs.

One thing that has changed in recent years is that we're more aware that bullying isn't limited to name calling, knocking books out of someone's hands, or stuffing a victim in a locker, as bad as all that may be. Yes, verbal, bullying, think name calling, and body shaming is still prevalent. In fact, it is the most common type of abuse, but there are others.

Social bullying, for example, is now a large and growing part of the problem. This takes the form of spreading rumors, freezing people outta group activities, and breaking up friendships. And then there is physical bullying, hitting, punching, shoving, and other actions to physically intimidate someone. This can even include sexual assaults.

Finally, there is a rage of cyber bullying, which leverages the internet, texting, email, and other digital technologies to spread rumors, information, and accusations to harm targets. Cyber bullying is exploding because it's easy, devastating, and doesn't require a personal or physical confrontation. In fact, over half of adolescents claim they have been bullied online.

Sadly, the same percentage admit they bullied someone else online. What's also troubling is that more than a third of adolescents report, they've received cyber threats and well over half of young people do not tell their parents when they're a victim.

There are real, physical and mental consequences to bullying at a minimum, victims can feel rejected, excluded, isolated, and suffer low self-esteem. Others may be faced with depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, eating disorders, aggression, and increased drug and alcohol use.

The consequences obviously harm academic performance and interaction with friends and family. However, the problems can get even more serious. Suicide is already the second leading cause of death in the us among people 15 to 24. More specifically, nearly 20% of high school students have seriously thought of suicide, and 9% have made an attempt to take their own lives.

Now, it's tough to get a handle on the precise connection between bullying and suicide. Though many studies have identified a correlation between being bullied and thoughts of suicide, self-harm in actual attempts. One British study even reported that 40% of bullying victims, and we're talking about adolescents here have considered suicide.

Unfortunately, the impact of bullying doesn't end when the abuse stops. The consequences can carry on through to adulthood resulting in ongoing issues that undermine a victim's quality of life. With the school year at hand, there is no better time for parents and students to get a handle on the problem, learn how to spot it, stop it, and get help.

Parents can take the lead by talking to their children about bullying so that if it occurs, a child feels more comfortable to letting them know what's up. They can also encourage your children to alert teachers and staff members if they're getting abused. Fortunately, schools are more prepared than ever to deal with bullies, but they can't do anything to stop it and protect victims if they're unaware it is happening.

As noted, too often, students don't let their parents know what's happening, which is why it is important for parents to be aware of signs something may be up. Any radical change in mood or habits is one signal. A problem could be at hand. This could include not wanting to go to school, talk of suicide, trouble, sleeping, listlessness, extreme fatigue, or maybe just acting out.

At a minimum, if a student is being bullied, the school needs to be alerted, but it is also critical to give the student the emotional support they need to reassure them that they are not the problem. Counseling or therapy may also be needed to treat a child. This can help resolve underlying feelings of inadequacy or fault Counseling can also help a child feel more confident, which makes them less likely to be bullied in the future.

It can also help prevent lasting issues that can be carried through to adulthood.

Before we move on to Health Hack, we want to again encourage listeners to take advantage of the hundreds of exclusive discounts WellWell offers on a range of health and wellness products and services. These range from fitness and athletic equipment to dietary supplements, personal care products, organic foods and beverages and more.

Signing up is easy and free. Just visit us at Go to Milton's Discounts on the top menu bar and the signup form will appear. Signing takes seconds, but the benefits can last for years. Alright, let's deal with some health hack for bullying. Bullying is dangerous, stressful, and insidious. Bullies prey on the weak, which makes it harder to stop.

But there are ways victims can protect themselves and parents and friends can identify when someone is being bullied and seek help as well. First off, as a victim, don't isolate yourself. It is easy to retreat and disconnect when being bullied, but there is strength and support in numbers. Connect to friends, classmates, siblings, colleagues, and mentors.

They'll provide a lot of support. Confronted by a bully. Try and hold your anger. Don't engage. Walk away. Also work to avoid situations where you might be isolated with a bully. Three. At a minimum as a student, let your parents know you're being bullied. They can reach out to school authorities for help.

Students, of course, can go directly to teachers and other staff members if they're being bullied and if they feel up for it. Four, it is essential to recognize it as a victim you are not the problem. The bully is the problem. This realization is essential for maintaining mental stability and reducing stress.

Five. Parents should be aware of the signs their children may be being bullied. These include changes in behavior, increased anxiety, mood swings, avoiding certain circumstances, and perhaps your child coming home with unexplained bruises, cuts, scrapes, or even damaged clothing. Six. If you suspect your child is a victim, talk to them and assure them they are not at fault.

Then let school officials know there is a problem. It's not easy to deal with bullying, but there are lots of online resources that can give you guidance for dealing with the issues. They're pretty easy to find. Just do a normal search. That's it for this edition of What the Health. We hope you enjoyed the broadcast and that you'll come back and listen to our other episodes.