Bullying among kids is a serious problem that can lead to depression and, in the worst case, suicide. Most parents would go above and beyond to ensure that their child stays out of the crosshairs of potential bullying, but identifying why 1 in every 4 kids is bullied and what puts kids at higher risk of being bullied is difficult. There is no single factor that indicates a child will be bullied, and bullying can and does happen everywhere and to all types of kids.
However, there are some surprising risk factors that increase a child’s chance of being bullied. Perceived social isolation or weakness are obvious risk factors, but new studies have revealed these seven shocking factors that might put a bullying target on a child’s back.
Contrary to the idea that the social outcasts are the only kids who fall victim to bullying, a new study shows that popularity may actually increase a child’s chance of being bullied. Especially with the new social networking of teens, a rise in popularity makes for a more “attractive target” for bullying.
Turns out you may want to scale back on screen time for your toddler if you want them to have a healthy social life later on. A recent study found that toddlers who watched more than two hours of TV a day ran a higher risk of being bullied later in life. When too much time is devoted to TV, emotional intelligence suffers, leading to social problems further on down the line.
Attending a school with an anti-bullying program
Yes, you read that right. Schools that have implemented anti-bullying programs to curtail negative behavior among kids actually see higher percentages of bullying. This is possibly due to students learning bullying language through the programs themselves, coupled with students being better able to come forward and identify bullying when it happens.
Taking ADHD medication
A new study suggests that there is a correlation between teens who take ADHD medication and higher levels of bullying. Instances of bullying among kids with ADHD increased substantially when students sold, shared or traded their ADHD drugs compared to those who didn’t take medication or had no recent prescriptions.
Having overprotective parents
Poor parenting, including overprotective parenting, greatly increases the risk of childhood bullying. Children with overprotective parents often don’t get the independence they need to develop socially, which leads them to become easy targets of bullying later on.
As if life for a preemie wasn’t hard enough, it turns out that being born premature can increase a child’s risk of being bullied. This is often due to anxiety as well as physical and learning deficits, though the effects of bullying far outlast adolescence.