Bullying often starts in elementary school outside on school grounds and on school buses and typically becomes most common in middle school. By high school, it is less common but still occurs.
* 28% of students in the U.S. in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying.
* Around 30% of students admit to bullying someone else.
* 70.6% of students and 70.4% of teachers say they have seen bullying in schools.
* The most common types of bullying are verbal and social. Physical bullying happens less often. Cyber-bullying happens the least.
* Only 20-30% of bullied students notify adults about incidents.
Bullying can be hard to define.
Kids who bully usually pick on someone who is weaker or more alone, and they repeat the actions over and over. Bullying can take many forms, including:
• Physical bullying: using physical force or aggression against another person ( hitting).
• Verbal bullying: using words to verbally attack someone ( name-calling).
• Social/relational bullying: trying to hurt someone through excluding them, spreading rumors or ignoring them (gossiping).
• Cyber-bullying: using electronic media to threaten, embarrass, intimidate, exclude someone, or to damage their reputation ( sending threatening text messages).
Children who are being bullied may be embarrassed and not want to talk about it, so it is important to recognize the signs. Your child may:
• Have physical injuries. Bruises, cuts, scrapes, and scratches etc.
• “Lose” items frequently – bullies may take belongings or steal lunch money or prepared lunches. Children may come home from school without favorite toys, clothes, or other items.
• Sleep poorly and develop frequent headaches, stomachaches, and other physical problems. (Children may also pretend to be sick or make other excuses to avoid certain people or situations.)
• Suddenly receive lower grades or develop learning problems.
• Talk about suicide.
By being aware of these signs, parents and caregivers are more likely to be able to help. Bullying is a serious problem; kids who are bullied are more likely to have low self-esteem and are more likely to struggle with their mental health.
There are many things that you can do to help your child if he/she is being bullied.
• Seek help from your child’s teacher, principal or school counselor.
• Help your child come up with strategies to deal with a bully.
• Encourage your child to take part in after-school activities, such as sports or drama, to help raise their confidence.
• Teach your child not to reply to bullies online and to ignore text messages from bullies. Ask your child to show an adult the message. Block any more messages from the sender.
• Remind your child to accept messages only from people he/she knows.
It is also important for parents and caregivers to teach children the importance of standing up for others. Bullying can be stopped if people pay attention and take action.
If you think your child is being bullied, or is bullying someone else, take action to stop the abuse.
The 2019 theme is to “Choose Kindness.” She asks, “If everyone was being kind to one another could bullying exist?”
Let’s all work to prevent bullying. Get involved.