Bullying is aggressive, threatening and persistent behavior that intentionally harms another person, physically and/or emotionally. Obvious forms of bullying may include hitting, fighting or name-calling and secretive or non-obvious bullying may include gossiping or purposely excluding someone. The acts are intentional, willfully done and deliberate. The person being bullied typically has difficulty preventing the behaviors that are directed towards them and usually struggle with defending themselves. The following facts about bullying will provide valuable information for parents, educators and those being bullied.
There are a number of reasons why bullying occurs, but the fact is bullies intentional hurt other. For safety reasons is important for children as well as adults to understand how severe the consequences of bullying can be.
Facts about Bullying:
- Each year there are more than 3.2 million students who are the victim of a bully
- Bullying is the reason about 160,000 teens skip school each day
- It is estimated that about 1 out of every 10 students drop out of school due to being repeatedly bullied
- 90% of all students in grades 4th through 8th have reported being a victim of bullying
- 75% of school shooting incidents has been linked to bullying and harassment
- Studies have shown that physical bullying rises in elementary school, has a peak in middle school and slightly declines in high school, however, verbal abuse is consistent throughout
- A survey in 2009 found that 9 out of every 10 LGBT students reported experiencing verbal harassment in the previous school year, because of their sexual orientation
- 1 out of every 4 teachers do not see anything wrong with bullying and only intervene about 4% of the time
- About 56% of all students have personally witness bullying of some form while at school
- In grades K through 12, 1 out of every 7 students has either been a victim of bullying or is a bully
- Approximately 71% of all students report bullying incidents are a problem at their school
- More than 2/3 of all students think their school has a poor response to bullying and a high percentage of them believe that adults infrequently help and if they do, it is ineffective
More Facts about Bullying
Different Types of Bullying
It is important to note that both the children who are being bullied as well as those who are bullying other may result in serious, long lasting problems. Bullies use different forms of power such as embarrassing information, physical strength or their popularity as a source of controlling or harming others. Although bullying typically occurs inside the school building, it also happens in neighborhoods, on the internet, on school buses, the playground and other places and it can occur before, during and/or after school hours. There are three different types of bullying and they may occur individually or as a combination of all three.
- Verbal bullying is when mean things are written or said. This type of bullying may include name calling, teasing, taunting, inappropriate sexual comments and/or threatening harm.
- Physical bullying is hurting someone’s body or their possessions. This may include spitting, hitting, pinching, kicking, pushing, tripping, rude/mean hand gestures and/or breaking or taking someone else’s things.
- Social bullying, also known as relational bullying, is hurting someone’s relationship or reputation. This type of bullying may include telling other kids they shouldn’t be friends with someone, publicly embarrassing someone, purposely leaving someone out and spreading rumors about others.
Identifying Victims of Bullying
A victim of a bully typically displays signs of being distressed. Signs may include anxiety, withdrawal, depression, cutting class and/or decrease in school performance. Some kids may become the victim of a bully simply because they are considered to be a minority, such as religious minorities, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, low economic status or simply because they are smaller than the bully. However, anyone can be the victim of a bully, without falling in one of the above categories. Although victims of bullies vary, it is common for children who are different in some way than others to fall prey to a bully. Students who are mentally and/or physically handicapped are frequently targeted by bullies. Indicators a child is being bullied differs among each person, but some of the most common behaviors may include changing their daily routine, such as taking a different route to school. Some victims be become severely unhappy, introverted and the most severe cases, suicidal.
Causes of Bullying
There are several reasons why a child may be a bully, but the one thing that most all bullies have in common is the lack of empathy he or she has for their victims. Some kids learn bullying behaviors at home due to poor supervision or from observing aggressive behaviors at home. Jealously and feeling inadequate are also common causes of bullying. Sometimes bullying is due to a prejudicial attitude toward a victim’s culture, race, sexual orientation or social standing. While a bully is typically someone who lacks empathy and compassion, it may also be due to a weakness and/or the inability to adequately learn self-control. A lack of consequences for inappropriate behavior will also empower the child to dominate other children, both at home and at school. Parents who were themselves abused as a child may often find it difficult to set clear boundaries for their children or they may view discipline as a type of abuse, therefore the child who bullies does not receive the necessary consequences. A bully may also be acting out of feelings of jealousy or inadequacy and may resent the victim for receiving attention.
Prevention of Bullying
Children of all ages can fall prey to bullies and as a result may experience lifelong consequences. In the past preventing bullying has been avoided, however, there are now many tips for students, parents and teachers, including interventions of all parties, to help prevent bully behaviors. It is vital that no bullying policies be put in place in schools, social arenas and the workplace. The most apparent place to begin a policy to prevent bullying is at school. School safety programs should include a policy that addresses bullying and have a disciplinary plan for all students who engage in this type of behavior. It is important that children are taught proactive measures of prevention in the classroom. School activities such as role playing are beneficial in building confidence and preventing bullying in a real world scenario. The idea of prevention is not only vital for the victims, but for those who are the bullies as well. Studies have shown that a child who is a bully has a higher risk of abusing their children and/or spouse during adulthood as well as a higher likelihood of committing a crime.
One of the most important facts about bullying is that modern technology has made it possible to bully someone else without a face-to-face confirmation. Cyber bullying differs from the face-to-face form in that it can occur, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Previously a child who was being bullied felt safe at home and it was easier to identify when a child was the victim of a bully, today a bully can wreak havoc on someone else online. Cyber bullying is when someone is harassed through rude, mean and/or hurtful emails, text messages, social media sites or website postings. It is when someone is spreading lies or rumors about someone through the internet. The bully could accomplish this by creating videos, websites or a social media profile with the sole intention of humiliating, making fun of or embarrassing others. Children who are the victim of a cyber-bully will experience many of the same symptoms as someone being bullied in person. The child may have lower self-esteem, increased health problems, a change in school grades, be unwilling to go to school or social activities and may experience post-traumatic stress disorder.