New research shows bullying has lasting effects on children

COLUMBIA, Mo. - New research Monday shows that bullying is having a long term effect on children.

In the past, studies have been on children and teens being bullied at one point in time.

This new study conducted by three universities surveyed more than 4,000 children in the United States. Of those children, one third said they were bullied.

"They both need assistance," said Donald Smith, a licensed counselor with Grace Counseling in Jefferson City.

What Smith is referring to is the bully and the victim. According to research 60% of bullies have a criminal record by the age of 24.

"Long term effects for the victim can be any number of things," said Smith.

The study showed those bullied had a lower quality of life and did poorly on mental and physical tests.

"Stress can have a lot of psychosomatic kinds of tendencies in our bodies physically when we are under a great deal of stress," said Smith.

The study emphasized the need for early intervention in the bullying. Smith told ABC 17 News that intervention often starts with the parents noticing changes in their children.

"It's wise for the parents to talk with some of the school officials- the teacher in the classroom that has some observable evidence on what is going on," said Smith.

Smith tells me one of the most important things parents can do is talk to their kids about school.

If they do think their child is bullied or is bullying there are several counseling options.

"For children, play therapy is a wonderful way to help them relax in the surrounding and open up," said Smith.

Since children can be bullied as young as preschool play therapy is an option for those younger children who have trouble communicating.

The counselor is able to see behavioral traits by the way the child plays. 

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