Bullying in the U.S. - Rates, Tips and Resources
Bullying can come in various forms, and we need the tools to deal with each. No one should be left to feel alone, hurt or ashamed due to harmful behavior. Included in this article are definitions, statistics, and helpful resources for stopping and preventing bullying.
Types of Bullying
These are various types of bullying, but they primarily fall into four broad categories: verbal, physical, emotional, and cyber.
- Verbal – This type of bullying can include name-calling, rumors, teasing, and other forms of abusive words and phrases, often with the intention of demeaning the target or pointing out differences including those related to appearance or perceived limitations.
- Physical – This involves physical violence and threats of physical violence. It may include pushing, shoving, hitting, punching, biting, and other forms of aggressive or unwanted contact.
- Emotional – This form of bullying involves exclusion, such as denying someone access to a social group or pushing them out of one.
- Cyber – Just as it sounds, cyberbullying is done on the internet via various forms of communication including (but not limited to) texts, social media, video, photos, and email.
To learn more about the various types of bullying, visit:
General Rates and Statistics in the United States
According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services article titled Age Trends in the Prevalence of Bullying available on PrevNet, ten to fifteen percent of children are bullied on a regular basis or regularly bully others.
They also note that:
- Bullying is a global problem.
- Bullying behavior tends to decrease with age.
- Physical bullying declines with age.
- Emotional, verbal and cyber bullying increase as children get older and enter junior high and high school.
- The peak time for bullying is in 9th grade.
To read more bullying facts and statistics, you can visit:
- Michigan State University School of Journalism: Bullying Statistics
- Journalist’s Resource: Youth Bullying Trends in the United States: Research and Data
- CDC.gov - Bullying Surveillance Among Youths - Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements (PDF)
- DoSomething.org - 11 Facts About Bullying
- American SPCC - Bullying Statistics & Information
How to Recognize Bullying
It is important to recognize and stop bullying before it can go on further. Bullying is often a continuing long-term situation, rather than a one-time occurrence, and should be treated as such.
According to the Kalamazoo College Stop Bullying Project’s article, Identifying Bullies and Victims, signs of bully may include:
- Damaging property of others
- Differences in physical strength (a bully may be stronger than a bullying victim)
- Feelings of superiority in the bully
- Short temper
- Low empathy
- Antisocial behavior
Signs of a bullying victim may include:
- Called names
- Made fun of
- Picked on
- Physically assaulted
- Unable to prevent physical assault due to size, strength or other reasons
- Frequent crying
- Withdrawing from fights
- Has had items stolen
- Bruises or torn clothing without adequate explanation
- Left out of peer groups
- Chosen last in sports and games
- Unhappy or depressed
For more signs of bullying, visit:
- Character.org: 19 Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied and What to Do about It
- Violence Prevention Works: Warning Signs of Bullying
- Education.com: Signs of Bullying - Warning Signs that Your Child is Being Bullied
Now that we know what bullying looks like, how can we stop it?
- Discussion – Have honest discussions with everyone involved. Explain that no one wants to be bullied and delve into the reasons behind the bullying as well as the harm it is doing to everyone involved.
- Remove the audience/other participants – Reduce the participation of others in bullying. The behavior has less of an effect when no one pays attention or feeds it.
- Build up the confidence and social group of victims.
- Supervision and advocacy – Have an adult involved and do not be afraid to speak out for the victim.
- Offer support for the victim.
To find out more ways that you can identify, reduce and stop bullying, visit:
- Stop Bullying Now: Information about Bullying and Other Forms of Peer Mistreatment
- American Psychological Association: Bullying: How Parents, Teachers and Kids Can Take Action Against Bullying
The best way to deal with bullying is to prevent is before it starts. An open and inclusive environment in which a would-be victim feels safe enough to share their concerns and where bullying is not supported is a great place to start.
Here are some ideas for creating that environment:
- Show proper behavior through actions – The first step to preventing bullying is avoiding becoming a bully yourself!
- Assess the situation – Talk to everyone, give surveys and seek to find the potential problem areas before they arise.
- Create a code of conduct that gives minimal room for bullying to occur.
- Increase adult supervision.
- Involve everyone in activities that are focused on bullying prevention.
For more ideas, visit:
Help for Students and Parents
Are you wondering what you can do as a parent or a student? Below are some great resources to get you started on your way towards a happier and safer school and community life.
Student and parent resources:
- Portland State University offers a brochure called A Parent’s Guide to Bully Prevention that discusses types of bullying and why children bully in addition to offering simple advice on what to do if bullying occurs.
- StopBullying.gov has a site dedicated to bully prevention and education. The Kids section has facts, prevention, videos, and games to play.
- Up TV offers a section, Tip for Parents, that goes into what to do if your child is a bully, being bullied, or has witnessed bullying.
- The Anti-Defamation League, called 10 Ways to Respond to Bullying, has a concise leaflet for students on what to do when you are being bullied.
Resources for Educators
Teachers are an integral part of bully prevention. Here are some resources to help!
- Tolerance.org offers a short list of Dos and Don’ts on their Bullying: Guidelines for Teachers for what to do in when a child has been bullied.
- The Penn State Extension offers a detailed 12-page guide, Bullying: What Educators Can Do about it for free on their site.
- Classroom Activities on Bullying Prevention via the American Federation of Teachers Union
- Bullying Resources from William Paterson University, https://libservices.wpunj.edu/library/Currmats/resource.cfm?SubjectID=40
- Excellence & Ethics - Prevent Bullying, Promote Kindness: 20 Things All Schools Can Do (PDF) – SUNY Cortland
- Bullying: A Module for K-12 Teachers from the American Psychological Association