This is actually kind of scary. We know that being bullied makes for some big-time backlash for the young dudes who get bullied. What we didn’t know until recently is that being bullied also makes some physical changes in the brains of those kids who get bullied.
Yeah, that’s right. Young dudes who get bullied actually suffer permanent changes to the structure of their brains because of the bullying.
If we thought there was a reason to crack down on bullying in schools before, brother, you’d better believe there’s more of a reason now.
They lurk in hallways, bathrooms, around the next blind corner. But for the children they have routinely teased or tormented, bullies effectively live in the victims’ brains as well — and not just as a terrifying memory.
Preliminary evidence shows that bullying can produce signs of stress, cognitive deficits and mental-health problems.
Now University of Ottawa psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt and her colleagues at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario plan to scan the brains of teens who have been regularly humiliated and ostracized by their peers to look for structural differences compared with other children.
“We know there is a functional difference. We know their brains are acting differently, but we don’t know if it is structural as well,”said Vaillancourt, an expert in the biology of bullying.
According to Vaillancourt, she finds changes to the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.
Bullied young dudes have already been found to score lower on tests that measure verbal memory and executive function, a set of skills needed to focus on a task and get the job done. Mental-health problems, such as depression, are also more common.
Come on, dudes. This is ridiculous. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in schools that’s actually enforced all the time, every time. Kids need to feel safe when they’re at school, trying to learn.
I mean, come on. How can you learn if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, fearing the next push or the next time someone starts name calling?