Bullying is an aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying is repeated over time and can take many forms, such as hitting, punching, or shoving (physical bullying); teasing, taunting, name-calling, or sexual remarks (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures, spreading rumors, or social exclusion (psychological or social bullying).
- Bullying is an aggressive behavior involving unwanted, negative actions.
- Bullying involves a pattern of repeated behaviors over time.
- Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.
Nearly 1 in 3 students (27.8%) report being bullied during the school year. SEE MORE BULLYING STATISTICS HERE.
Where Does Bullying Occur?
Bullying can occur anywhere, including at home, school, church, the park, malls, playgrounds, work, etc. It generally occurs in unsupervised or hidden areas. These areas usually include places where supervision is minimal or anywhere where the chance of getting caught it small (i.e. locker rooms or restrooms).
What Types of Bullying Occur?
- Verbal Bullying: Saying or writing mean things (I.E. Name-calling, teasing/taunting, threatening, insults, inappropriate remarks and comments, etc.)
- Psychological (or social) Bullying: Hurting someone's reputation or relationships (I.E. Spreading rumors, isolation, telling others not to be friends with them, embarrassing someone publicly, exclusion, etc.)
- Physical Bullying: Hurting a person's body or possessions (I.E. Hitting, slapping, elbowing, shoving, spitting, kicking, breaking or taking someone's belongings, etc.)
What are the Signs Bullying is Occuring?
Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than their peers to exhibit several symptoms.
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, and cuts
- Trouble sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick, or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like skipping meals or binge eating
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms:
- Loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities
- Feelings of helplessness, anxiety, or decreased self-esteem
- Seems sad, moody, or depressed
- Self-destructive behaviors (ex: cutting)
- Suicidal thoughts or ideas
- Frequent complaints of illness to avoid attending school
- Sudden decrease in academic performance (declining grades or loss of interest)
- Fear of going to school, riding the bus, walking to school, or taking part in organized activities with other peers
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
Why Does Bullying Happen?
Anyone can engage in bullying behaviors for a variety of reasons. Bullying behavior can arise from distrust, fear, and misunderstanding, among others. A person is more likely to engage such destructive behaviors if they:
- Don't like another person
- Are seeking revenge on another person
- Think it will make them popular
- Want to feel tough, strong, and in control
What are the Effects of Bullying?
Bullying, especially among youth, can result in lasting, life-changing effects, often times controlling that individual's daily life. The effects of bullying can include, but are not limited to, the following:
Psychological and Mental Health Effects:
- Significant drop in self-esteem, often lasting into adulthood
- Likeliness to struggle with negative emotions everyday, effecting their outlook on others and themselves
- Higher rates of depression
- Ongoing stresses
- Physical ailments caused by psychological distress, such as chronic headaches or stomach aches
- Limitations in their own ability to form friendships or other relationships
- Lack of trust and wariness of other people
- Lower levels of confidence
- Fear or avoidance of school in general
- Sudden decrease in academic performance
- Increase in stress which later interferes with memory, retaining information, learning ability, or trouble focusing
- Alteration of person's academic views (i.e. no longer desires to pursue higher education or wants to drop out)
The above information was disseminated from published material by contributors: Aldebot-Green, Garcia, & Terzian at Child Trends (2013) and National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (2002).