In 2018, a national survey listed the U.S. States based on bullying frequency. All of the states have enforceable anti-bullying laws or anti-bullying policies. According to the facts about bullying, short and long-term after-effects plague the victims and bystanders.
Today, the act of bullying occurs in schools, workplaces, and daily lives with the advent of cyberbullying. Forms of bullying vary from unwanted attention and false rumors to physical harm and social media intrusions.
Bullying in school is associated with an intent to cause harm
Bullying in school is associated with the intent to embarrass, intimidate, or hurt another individual. Ongoing statistics on bullying report more victims attempt suicide compared to surviving victims developing depression as adults. Another attribute linked to bullying facts and cyberbullying is the impact on student performance at school. Why? Triggered by mental and physical health disorders and filled with emotions of fear, students make every attempt to elude potential encounters by avoiding the school campus.
More distressing is the expansion of bullying categories. New targets include certain demographic groups and sophisticated forms of stalking through the use of digital media. Girls are more likely to have been bullied at school than boys.
Federal, state, and local authorities, along with school administrators, have implemented anti-bullying laws and intervention programs. The purpose is to minimize the damage and prevent instances of bullying in schools. For students, parents, and teachers, intervention practices involve counseling, community education, and school faculty training about statistics on bullying and how to work with students to develop coping skills.
Awareness of harmful behavior
Here are some facts about bullying from a kid’s perspective and why they choose to suffer in silence. The biggest concern for bullied children is fear and not knowing how to deal with the situation. Most kids already have a sense of being different from the crowd; bullies tend to amplify their differences by presenting them as flaws.
Bullies leave their victims feeling embarrassed or ashamed and too afraid to confront the bully or the issue. Added to this fear is peer pressure, concerning the possibility of being labeled as a tattletale. Victims see the easier solution as accepting the behavior and walking away from the situation. Sometimes, bullied kids doubt an adult will believe what happened.
In 2017, a University survey revealed astonishing bullying facts about middle and high school students:
- 73% reported they had been bullied at school.
- 44% occurred within 30 days of the survey.
- 88% were called mean names or were made fun of in a hurtful way.
- 77% were excluded from school groups.
- One in five were threatened with a weapon at school.
- 70% of students reported they had witnessed bullying.
Facts about bullying show students attempt to gain power over another, especially when the other student is afraid to challenge the bully. Peer groups can sometimes instigate the act of bullying as a form of social acceptance, retaliation, or prejudice. Kids who live in abusive homes are more likely to take their frustration out on other kids. There are instances where some kids find bullying as a source of getting attention or simply find humor in hurting someone’s feelings.
Survey statistics on bullying accounted for:
- 32% admitted to bullying other students.
- 12% bullied others within the previous 30 days.
- 51% called someone a mean name.
- 43% excluded other students from a group.
- 18% forced another student to do something against their will.
Repercussions of bullying
Many professionals believe a student’s bullying behavior is prompted by a dramatic event. In some instances, facts about bullying are associated with harmful behaviors related to an intense relationship with parents, teachers, siblings, or other children.
Here are two incidents where bullying is likely to happen:
The first occurs within a group in which cliques are formed. Members are expected to honor the leader’s request at any cost. Members refusing to take part in bullying are excluded and often bullied themselves. Sadly, the banned member remains silent and is left to suffer.
The second incident occurs when a victim becomes a bully as a method of self-protection or revenge. Often, these ‘victim bullies’ want to express the pain they suffer and will mimic bullying behavior. Frequently, these types of bullies are loners. Left alone, they choose the wrong course of action instead of talking to an adult or teacher.
Studies on bullying show that bullies may lack certain individual qualities such as confidence:
- Children experiencing bullying often suffer from anxiety, eating disorders, or trouble sleeping.
- Witnesses also suffer from health disorders as a result of the trauma.
- Lower test scores and grade point averages occur along with truancy and dropping out of school.
- Bystanders are also subjected to the fear of reporting bullying.
Psychology suggests that bullies generally do some research before selecting the target.
Periodically, when a student pushes back or threatens to report the incident, the bully will back down. Health evaluations of bullies reflect a likelihood of:
- Substance abuse.
- Willingness to destroy property.
- Physical exchanges, arguments, or fights.
- School dropouts.
Anyone witnessing or experiencing bullying needs to take the necessary steps to stop it. Depending on the situation, the bully could be a dangerous perpetrator and needs to be reported to the proper authorities. Reporting bullying is the best method of prevention. Getting a professional involved can help stop bullying behavior.
- Individuals who witness bullying need to speak out.
- Report the behavior to a trusted adult.
- Doing nothing can escalate the situation.
Realities of technology
The advent of technology and social media has opened different platforms for bullying. Cyberbullies are less direct with their actions; they generally surprise close friends, neighbors, or family members when their bullying acts are exposed. They attempt to gain false trust or develop a friendship with the intent to harm the other person.
Today, cyberbullying statistics report an increase in incidents. Although there is no physical contact, cyberbullying is a severe invasion of a person’s online privacy. Both schools and the IT industry have taken the initiative to implement systems capable of protecting students. These new practices are helping to reduce campus incidents and expose online cyberbullies.
Past years of comparable cyberbullying statistics:
- In 2017, 30% of boys and 36% of girls were victims of cyberbullying.
- In 2016, 28% of students were victims of cyberbullying.
- In 2015, 34% of students reported some experience of cyberbullying.
In most cases, cyberbullies target easy prey. The definition of cyberbullying is when the bully repeatedly, with intent, threatens or harasses a person online, via a cell phone or another electronic device.
A university survey taken in 2017 reported the following cyberbullying statistics facts about middle and high school students:
- 34% of students experienced some form of cyberbullying.
- 17% experienced an incident within the last 30 days of the survey.
- One in five students received cyberbullying messages online.
- 70% experienced unfavorable comments online.
- 64% of the students experienced poor school performance as a result of bullying.
One in ten students admit to having pictures taken with cell phones and posted online. A survey on cyberbullying statistics noted experiences and forms of bullying:
- 12% admitted to cyberbullying others.
- 6% experienced cyberbullying 30 days before the survey.
- 60% of the incidents involved spreading rumors.
- 58% encompass hurtful comments.
- 54% threaten to hurt someone.
What is scary about all of the facts on bullying and statistics is that more than half of the students attending schools acknowledge some level of cyberbullying. More frightening is that these students have remained silent, and many parents, teachers, or friends are unaware of the situation.
Transgression of social bullying
There are several forms of cyberbullying and different social categories, where bullying frequently occurs. For the most part, social bullying is defined as targeting specific individuals from a particular community group. The difficulty involves getting someone (the bully) to accept an individual who may have physical differences or different briefs. Prejudicial bullying is when someone is not accepting of another person’s lifestyle or ethnicity. In this case, a bully intends to cause harm to the person. Sexual bullying refers to the use of damaging photographs, physical injury, or hurtful verbal comments.
Statistics on bullying report a higher level of abuse toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. According to the statistics, the risk of bullying doubles compared to traditional school peer groups. As a result of the sexual orientation findings, this group may be more vulnerable to experiencing both on-campus bullying and online cyberbullying.
- 74% were verbally bullied.
- 37% feel unsafe at school.
- Many cope with adverse effects influenced by the use of drugs and alcohol.
- Several miss multiple classes at school each month resulting in lower GPAs.
- Suicide risk is four times higher.
Bullying is more frequent among minority groups. The focus of this bullying is on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. Statistics show that students with health impairments or educational disorders are more at risk for bullying than other students.
Bullying statistics of minorities in schools:
- 35% suffer from behavioral or emotional disorders.
- 33% of autistic students are targeted victims.
- 24% have intellectual disabilities.
- 20% live with health impairments.
- 19% have learning disabilities and face higher levels of bullying.
Signs of bullying and intervention
Although many students remain silent, bullying facts acknowledge certain signs associated with bullying. Students, friends, parents, teachers, or other trusted adults should become familiar with these signs. If you notice unusual behavior, you may be able to make a difference. Avoiding the possibilities or not believing bullying is happening will do not make it go away.
Here are possible signs that someone is suffering from bullying:
- They are extremely nervous with texts or any electronic communication.
- They avoid going to school.
- They spend less time on the phone or computer.
- They remove all social media postings.
- Their personality changes from being outgoing to reserved.
- They prefer isolation to be with friends or family.
- They stay away from certain friends or peer groups.
Students of all ages go through healthy development and behavioral changes. The change becomes extreme when bullying is the cause. Keep in mind, bullying signs are as individual as the person and it affects both physical and mental well-being.
If you notice a friend, child, or student changing behaviors – try to talk with them. Let them know it is okay and safe to seek professional help. If a student is unsure about talking with a teacher or an adult, go with them as a form of support.
Signs to watch:
- Sleep problems.
- Changes in personal appearance.
- A difference in eating habits.
- Complaints of headaches or stomachaches.
- Suicidal conversations, thoughts, or attempts.
- Difficulties with schoolwork.
Interventions are about helping someone through a difficult event. Prevention and recovery from bullying is a process that involves knowing what to look for, how to deal with it, and where to find help. It’s not okay to stand on the sidelines and watch. Do not take sides with the bully by remaining silent.
Here are some tips that can help:
- Get involved and talk about what is happening.
- Show an interest in the student’s well-being.
- Let them know you care; your involvement is to help not to abuse their privacy.
- Pay attention to aggressive behaviors at social gatherings or school activities.
- Recognize a student’s vulnerability to peer pressure.
Many schools have implemented bullying practices, policies, and programs. Parents are encouraged to get involved. By learning more about bullying, you can protect your child. Do not wait for your child or someone else’s child to become the next target.
Here is where you can help:
- Get involved in your child’s life.
- Help foster a positive friendship with a child’s friend.
- Talk about online manners and acceptable behaviors.
- Teach them how to protect their online privacy – passwords, personal information.
- Demonstrate how to respond to negative comments posted online.
Talk with your child about bullying and be a role model. Help them understand why it happens and how they can help another student who may be going through it alone. Provide details about the potential damages that can happen. Listen to your child. You want them to be comfortable about coming to you for help.