Defining Bullying Behavior
- Bullying is defined behavior that hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally, while the targets of bullying have difficulty stopping it and struggle to defend themselves.
There is overt and covert bullying.
- Overt bullying includes physical altercations, hitting, or name-calling.
- Covert bullying includes actions such as gossiping or purposely leaving others out of a social group or activity.
- Contrary to popular belief, bullying is not always “repeated”; bullying can be circumstantial or chronic.
- “It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly, and with deliberation to hurt or harm,” but there is some controversy with this statement as some assert that not all bullying behavior is done with intent or that the individual bullying realizes that their behavior is hurting another individual.
Bullying Risk Factors
- Children at risk of being bullied have one or more of the following risk factors: are perceived as different from their peers (under/overweight, wear glasses or different clothing, are new, race, perceived or real sexual orientation or gender identity/trans status), are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves, are depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem, are less popular/have few friends, do not get along well with others (are seen as annoying and provoking) or antagonize others for attention (Keep in mind just because a child has some of these characteristics does not mean that they will be bullied).
- 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.
- Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.
- Over two-thirds of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.
- 1 out of 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.
- Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.
Bullying Facts You Need to Know
- 20% of girls and 25% of boys reported experiencing either bullying, being bullied, or both 2-3 times a month or more.
- Boys and girls experience similar levels of verbal bullying, threats, and damage to property, but boys are more likely to experience physical bullying whereas girls are more likely to experience bullying as rumor-spreading and/or exclusion.
- Boys are typically bullied by boys, while girls are bullied by boys AND girls.
- Overall, boys are more likely to bully by 1.7x and are 2.5x more likely to bully AND be bullied.
- Kids bully for a variety of reasons, including issues at home, in their community, at school, and with their peers.
- Bullied kids are more likely to have depressive symptoms, harm themselves, have suicide ideation and actually attempt suicide, avoid school, and have lower academic achievement.
- Kids who bully are more likely to have delinquent behaviors, dislike school, drop out, bring weapons to school, suicide ideation and attempts, drink alcohol and smoke, support violence, may experience headaches, backaches, stomach aches, sleep problems, poor appetite, and bedwetting.
- 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.
- 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.
- 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
- 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out of 10 say it has happened more than once.
- 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.
- 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
School Bullying and Teasing Statistics
- Approx. 30% of teens in the U.S. are reported to be involved with bullying, either as a bully, the victim of bullying, or both.
- In a recent study of preteens and teens grades 6-10, 13% bullying, 11% being the target of bullying, 6% both.
- Girls are more often the targets of rumors and sexual comments.
- Adults who were bullied as teens have higher rates of depression and poorer self-esteem than other adults.
Bystander: One present but not taking part in a situation or event- a chance spectator.
- In a bullying incident, a bystander is one who observes the bullying take place, but does not take any actions.
The effects bystanders can have on the situation:
- Bystanders may contribute to the bullying by remaining silent. Silence is commonly misperceived by the bully and others as approval for bullying and violence. Silence also suggests that bullying is acceptable and a social norm.
- Bystanders provide bullies with an audience and the attention that they crave.
The barriers to reporting and intervening in bullying and violence:
- The fear of retaliation from the bully. Bystanders may not want to get hurt or become the next victim
- The belief that reporting the incident to an authoritative person will not help or it may actually make things worse
- The belief that they have no control over the situation
- The perception that there is a lack of support from school personnel.
- A lack of anonymity or protection for reporting the bullying.
- The perception that bullying is a social norm.
- The belief that, “It’s none of my business”.
- A lack of directions on to react and report bullying.
If you are being Bullied:
Where can you go and who can you talk to:
Listen, Believe, Be Supportive, Be Patient:
What can everyone do for the future:
Know your state laws with respect to bullying:
Bullying Laws by state: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/index.html
New York Law: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/new-york.html
What not to do: