Bullying can happen anywhere children gather. Yet, with greater understanding of the extent, seriousness, and dynamics of this problem, the amount and consequences of bullying can be greatly reduced.

Each year millions of children and youth experience the humiliation and devastating effects of bullying. Bullying  damages the physical, social, and emotional well-being of its victims. It also hurts the children who bully, as well as those who watch it happen. In fact, bullying creates a climate of fear, callousness, and disrespect for everyone involved.

Did you know?

  • Six out of 10 American teenagers witness bullying in school once a day.
  • School bullying and cyber-bullying statistics show that 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally and physically and that one out of five students admits to doing some bullying.
  • 53 percent of students admit to saying mean or hurtful things to someone online.

Bullying is a form of emotional or physical abuse that has three defining characteristics:

  • Deliberate—a bully’s intention is to hurt someone
  • Repeated—a bully often targets the same victim again and again
  • Power Imbalanced—a bully chooses victims he or she perceives as vulnerable

Bullying occurs in many different forms, with varying levels of severity. It may involve:

  • Physical Bullying—poking, pushing, hitting, kicking, beating up
  • Verbal Bullying—yelling, teasing, name-calling, insulting, threatening to harm
  • Relational Bullying—ignoring, excluding, spreading rumors, telling lies, getting others to hurt someone

Get help if needed. If the bully is using physical force, or there is more than one bully, you may need to find an adult to help keep you safe or protect others.

Cyber-bullying is a growing form of bullying that is especially hard to see. Cyber-bullying involves sending or posting hurtful, embarrassing, or threatening text or images using the Internet, cell phones, or other digital communication devices. Using these technologies, cyber-bullies can reach a wide group of people very quickly. Their goal: to damage their victim’s reputation and friendships.

Cyber-bullying can involve:

  • Spreading rumors or posting false or private information
  • Getting other people to post or send hurtful messages
  • Excluding someone from an online group

Take bullying seriously. Pay careful attention to the warning signs and to people most at risk. Make sure everyone knows that bullying will not be tolerated and that you will work with them to make bullying stop.