Teen Bullies: Future Criminals?

Telling a bullying victim that their tormentor was suffering twice as much, while making their life unbearable,  seems like an incredulous idea, but it is true. The real source of the aggression bullies unleash upon their victims, originates from what is happening in their own lives.

In no way is this a justification for bullying, but it is a lesson for parents, teachers and school administrators to take stock of. Expelling perpetrators from school as consequences of bullying only serves short term goals, exploring the real reasons behind a teen’s cruelty may bring forth a more lasting and productive solution. In some cases bullies can even go on to become criminals. 

Bullying and Criminal Behavior

In another research, boys who had been bullies at age 14 were monitored till they were age 18 and then till they were 32, covering a span of 18 years.

  • It was reveled that 18% of all boys turn into adult bullies, that’s 1 in five boys. This bullying stayed a part of their lives till they hit the age of 18, and by the age of 32 they were still indulging in bullying.
  • More than half of these adult bullies (61%) were found to be overly aggressive even at the age of 32 and 20% of them had been convicted of violence.
  • The reason for relating bullying with criminal behavior later on in life is further endorsed by these numbers: 60% of those who bullied in grades 6 to 9 had at least one criminal conviction by age 24; 35-40% had three or more convictions.
Gender Factors

Another interesting fact uncovered by these researches was that the reaction to bullying and bullies is different in both genders. Male victims and perpetrators both experienced a greater risk of becoming suicidal; female were at a greater risk of developing agoraphobia and becoming anti-social.

The fact that mental and emotional health was greatly disturbed even after decades of the ordeal being over, proves that both victim and perpetrator went through a hard time dealing with their issues. According to lead author William E. Copeland, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University; psychological damage doesn’t disappear as soon as the issue does, the affects of bullying and being bullied are long term and stay with people for a very long time.

Too Close to Home?

If you have even the slightest doubt that your teen might be bullying other kids, then it is important that you do something about it. Teens who are not held accountable for bullying, end up accepting aggression as a natural part of their lives. In later lives they may take it out on their own families and keep the cycle of bullying going on through their own kids.


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