Bullying in school is a very serious problem that can contribute to teen violence. Bullying can be physical or verbal and can escalate into violence, and in some cases, the victim may resort to violence in response to the extreme nature of harassment. Victims of bullying often suffer emotional, social and physical damage, so it's important to talk to teens about bullying and teen violence to ensure they better understand the severity of the problem.
Violence is sometimes used as a defense mechanism against bullying. This could include bringing a weapon to school or engaging in physical fights as a means to thwart school bullies. Violence in the form of suicide or self-injury can also result from the depression and anxiety that is associated with bullying. A teen may fear going to school school or withdraw from social activity as a result of bullying.
School shootings and widespread violence is often the result of a teen seeking revenge for years of being bullied. This reaction to bullying can be the most devastating. According to a national study on lethal violence in schools, conducted by Edward Gaughan Ph.D. and colleagues, 87 percent of the teenagers questioned reported that being hurt, bullied or teased was the primary reason for seeking revenge in the form of lethal violence.
Cycle of Violence
A person who is bullied often responds by treating others in a similar fashion. This cycle of violence can stem from wanting to feel stronger after having dealt with school bullying. According to a study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association," poor psychosocial development was associated with both perpetrating and experiencing bullying in sixth through 10th graders. Issues with socialization can make it difficult for a teen to relate to peers and make friends, which can lead to bullying behavior.
To Fit In
To fit in with a specific group of peers, a teen may resort to violent bullying behavior. This may occur as a way to show similarity to the other members. Teens who have difficulty making friends, don't fit in at school or are considered "different" are typically more susceptible to bullying.