By: Janae Webb, M.S.Ed., LMFTA
Bullying is defined as unwanted aggressive behavior, observed or perceived imbalance of power, and it can be direct or indirect (not in the presence of a target, such as spreading rumors). There are 4 types of bullying: physical, verbal, relational (efforts to tarnish the reputation or relationships of a targeted person), and damage to property. We know that bullying happens in many places, including in our schools and it can be even worse online. The awareness of bullying is certainly increasing, but how much do we really know about bullying?
Below is a List Of 10 Facts About Bullying and Some Ways to Get Help:
- Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 youth have been bullied. Fewer have been cyberbullied.
- Most bullying happens in middle school. The most common types are verbal and relational.
- Bullying is not generally a simple interaction between a bully and a target, it often involves a group of students who support each other in bullying other groups of students.
- 15% of students in grades 9-12 experienced cyberbullying in the past year, 55% of LGBTQ youth experienced cyberbullying.
- Only 20-30% of youth who are bullied notify an adult about the bullying.
- Bullying affects ALL youth: those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying. These affects can extend into adulthood.
- Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to feelings of loneliness, rejection, exclusion, and hopelessness, in addition to depression and anxiety, which may lead to suicidal/homicidal behavior.
- Bullying can happen with any young person, but LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk for being the target of bullying behavior.
- One large study found that middle schools students had experienced bullying in these various places at school: classroom (29.3%); hallway or lockers (29.0%); cafeteria (23.4%); gym or PE class (19.5%); bathroom (12.2%); playground or recess (6.2%).
- There is no federal law against bullying. Fourty-nine out of 50 states have anti-bullying legislation, but bullying itself is not against the law. If bullying becomes harassment, it does break federal law.
Promising Bully Prevention Strategies
Preventing bullying in educational settings involves strategies from many angles and involves multiple people, such as bus drivers, nurses, cafeteria staff, administrative staff, front office staff, teachers, students, and parents/caregivers in creating a culture of respect. Zero tolerance and expulsion have not been shown to be effective approaches to this problem. So, what do we do about this problem?
What To Do About Bullying:
- Talk with the youth in your life. Ask them if they have been a target of bullying. If they have, notify the school and encourage the youth to tell an adult at school if it persists. Most schools have a policy on bullying and can take action.
- Let them know that you are there to support them and want to know if there is any bullying going on in their lives. Keep the lines of communication open.
- Adults can prevent bullying by encouraging the youth in their lives to do what they love, model love and kindness, and to seek help if they are being bullied or know others who are being bullied.
- If you notice major changes in a student’s life, including lowering of academic scores or attendance, differences in eating or sleeping patterns, isolation, health complaints, substance use, or loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, seek help from a mental health professional. Our counselors and coaches are Crosswinds are here to help!