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Cyberbullying Series: No escape, effects of bullying may last into adulthood

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Albany/HV: Cyberbullying Series: No escape, effects of bullying may last into adulthood
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Bullying traumatizes millions of children each year. It used to be once you got home, you could escape the taunting, but with Facebook, Twitter and smart phones, kids are constantly surrounded. Our Katie Gibas has more.

NEW YORK STATE -- "Rumors, images, comments are no longer just between or among a small group. And that, of course, increases the exposure, the frustration, the embarrassment exponentially," said Wendy Evers Gordon,PhD, Upstate University Hospital Child Psychiatrist, Juvenile Trauma Clinic Director.

And now studies are showing the effects of bullying can last years after the torment has stopped.

"The parents' view, the family view, for a period of time, becomes far less important than the peer view," said Evers Gordon.

Some studies showed the risk of health problems, like headaches, disturbed sleep and eating problems doubled in kids who were bullied.

Another study reported that victims of bullying were more likely to have an anxiety disorder and experience depression.

Men who were both bullies and victims were 18.5 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts in adulthood.

Evers Gordon added, "If you're self-esteem is poor to begin with and you don't have a core group of friends at school and you want to fit it and you want to be like everybody else and you have the misfortune of being the target of verbal or physical abuse, it just makes good sense that that is certainly not going to be helpful in reinforcing and continuing to build a sense of self-esteem."

A number of things factor in to whether the effects of bullying will last into adulthood.

Evers Gordon went on to say, "We know people who have experienced really unimaginable kinds of horrors and they're not just doing okay. They're doing exponentially well. And we say they're resilient or they have some support or they had some interventions or they were able to seek them out, to ask for help because a lot of kids who are being bullied don't do. Sometimes the parents have no idea."

One major key to reducing the effects of bullying is for schools to develop a strict code of conduct with consistent punishment for breaking anti-bullying policies, increase adult supervision and teach conflict resolution and peer mediation.

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