Illuminating Statistics On BullyingThere is unfortunately a lot of available statistics on bullying. While most parents are aware that bullying happens, the prevalence of bullying may shock you. Much of the bullying statistics below come from the past couple of years and are now finally available—and as the trends indicate, bullying doesn’t seem to be decreasing. So, keep that in mind as you read through the information below.
- About 160,000 teenagers chose to skip school just to avoid being bullied.1
- One out of five school-aged children ages 12-18 have experienced some form of bullying.2
- Middle school and high school staff are the most likely to see bullying, with over 70% of staff reporting that they have witnessed bullying, with 62% of school staffers saying they have seen bullying occur two or more times within the last month. About 41% of school staff have seen bullying happen at least once a week.3
- With students ranging from 7th-12 grade, 48% reported that they had been sexually harassed.4
- 74.1% of students who identify as LGBTQ—or the bully presumed orientation—experienced bullying.5
- 30% of school-aged children admitted to bullying others.6
- Only 36% of students report their bullying, with 64% of bullied students suffering in silence.7
- 75% of school shooting incidents have had bullying and harassment as the main motivation behind the violence.8
- Instagram is the social media platform where teens experience the most cyberbullying.9
Types Of Bullying Children ExperienceMany people still believe that there has to be some physical harassment present to qualify as bullying. But in reality, there are multiple types of bullying that children and teens can experience.
Verbal BullyingVerbal bullying is the most common form of bullying, and to a certain extent, this type of bullying is the most “accepted” of the different types of bullying. Often, verbal bullies will retreat behind the excuse that they were just joking when called out for making hurtful, racists, sexist, homophobic, or other abusive comments. It is frustrating, but often bullies who stick to verbal bullying can’t be easily addressed, as many adults brush aside hurtful language. Instead, building up the victim’s self-esteem and self-confidence is the best route to help.
Physical BullyingThe most visible type of bullying is physical bullying. With physical bullying, it can range from touching another person inappropriately to more painful hitting, shoving, kicking, and other forms of contact. Also, physical bullying can simply be using size to block or intimidate the victim. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, be sure to keep an eye out for unexplained bruises, scratches, or pained movements. Since bullies don’t always leave visible signs, be sure to keep an eye on your child’s behavior and watch to see if they are moodier or other changes from their normal conduct.
Social BullyingWhen it comes to social bullying, it is a form of bullying that is most often practiced by girls, as boys tend to opt for more direct forms like verbal and physical bullying. With social bullying, it can involve spreading hurtful rumors, group exclusion, and overall prevention of acceptance of the intended victim. While you can’t make other children stop social bullying, you can help your child find different routes to prevent social isolation. Maintaining a close relationship with your bullied kid is essential, so they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. Also, having extra-curricular activities where your child can make friends can help them to find social acceptance.
CyberbullyingModern adolescents are more susceptible to being cyberbullied, especially as they are connected to the internet and each other by smartphones and computers far earlier than other generations. When it comes to cyberbullying, it can take many forms such as social media messages, harassing texts, brigading—where a group of bullies harasses a person online—and other types of non-present bullying. Often, if you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, you can find them on their phone or personal computer and will hide the view when you are in sight. Bullied children will become moodier and more withdrawn, as well as wanting to avoid being physically around their bullies. When it comes to dealing with cyberbullying, it is best that your child not engage with the bullies and instead, block those who are contacting them to bully them.
What You Can Do To Help Stop BullyingAs parents, caregivers, and educators, it is our responsibility to step up and stop bullying. While you may not be there at the exact moment that bullying occurs, there are things you can do to help end bullying.
- Proactively ask - Plenty of children and teens have a hard time talking about being bullied and allow the pain to fester inside. Find ways to open up conversations about bullying—as well as directly asking—so if your kid is struggling, they can tell you.
- Believe when reported - Many adolescents have reported being ignored or brushed off when they report being bullied. It is critical that caretakers believe kids when they report bullying and take action.
- Address the bully - Working directly with the bully—and likely their parents—can be a direct way to resolve a bullying situation. Also, if it turns out that your child is the bully, and they won’t change their ways, a behavior modification program can help a bully understand why their bullying behavior is unacceptable.
- Intervene if you see bullying - In most cases, once a bystander intervenes between a bully and the victim, the bullying will end. So, if you witness bullying occur, even just stepping in and telling the bully to stop can be enough to end the bullying.
- Support anti-bullying legislation - Whether it is a local petition or a county bill, be sure to help support and bring awareness to anti-bullying legislation to help end bullying.
- Educate others on bullying - As October is National Bullying Prevention Month, it is an ideal time to start bringing up bullying prevention and educating others on the serious nature of bullying.