Social Bullying

One of the most damaging experiences of adolescence is what psychologists term relational victimization or simply ‘social bullying’.  While most schools profess to have a zero tolerance policy toward physical bullying many are failing to address social bullying.  Granted this type of bullying is considerably more difficult to pinpoint and detect.  With the explosion of technology, high-tech gadgets, instant messaging, text messaging, and social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook bullying has evolved into an almost entirely different phenomena than did even a generation ago.  Social Bullying rather than threatening a child with physical violence is intended to target a child’s social status or relationships by shunning them, excluding them from social activities or spreading rumors about them.  In a recently published research study a link between social bullying and clincial anxiety and depression in young adulthood was discovered.  So rather than considering these events of adolescence as normal rites of passage it is important for all of us to recognize that children and teens carry these experiences with them into adulthood.  Right now there are few intervention or prevention programs established to address this so it is up to all of us to recognize this serious problem and prevent it from happening to the children and teens in our lives.