The act of bullying is one that every adult and child needs to take seriously. Bullying goes beyond schoolyard scuffles and routine arguments that children of all ages are bound to have. Bullying is persistent and aggressive behavior that can be both physically and emotionally harmful to the victim. In fact, research has shown that bullying has a lasting impact on a victim’s life, with many wearing the scars of the trauma well into adulthood.
Both educators and parents need to be aware of bullying facts and statistics and they need to remain vigilant in order to spot the signs and symptoms of bullying.
What is Bullying?
For many years, people had different ideas and opinions on who a bully is and what is defined as bullying behavior. Fortunately, in 2014, the federal government came up with its own concrete definition for bullying. Essentially, bullying is considered to be any act of unwanted aggressive behavior that repeats frequently. An individual is being bullied if there is a real or implied imbalance of power, in which the bully has control over the actions or feelings of the victim.
Noteworthy Bullying Facts and Statistics
Some bullying facts and statistics worth noting include:
- 20 percent of U.S. students between the ages or 12 and 18 report that they have experienced bullying.
- 56 percent of students who were bullied felt that the person bullying them had the ability to influence their peers’ perception of them.
- 43 percent of students who reported being bullied said that the actions took place in the school hallways. About 42 percent reported that bullying took place in the classrooms, while 26 percent said it took place in the cafeteria.
- 15 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported that they were bullied online or via text message.
- 13 percent of those who were cyberbullied said that the bullying actions focused on spreading rumors or lies about them.
- 13 percent of those who were cyberbullied said that the bullying focused on name-calling.
Signs and Symptoms of Bullying
Parents, teachers, and students should be aware of the signs and symptoms of bullying. If they notice these signs or symptoms, it is important to take action as soon as possible. These are some of the more common signs that a child is being bullied:
- A child is showing signs of anxiety, including frequent bouts of nausea or headaches.
- A child has inexplicably lost personal items repeatedly, such as clothing items, books, or toys.
- A child is suffering from insomnia.
- A child is no longer spending time with their friends or peers.
- A child is showing signs of destructive behaviors.
- A child has had a significant change in their academic performance.
Resources for Help with Bullying
There are anti-bullying laws in place at the local, state, and federal levels, so any parents, teacher, or student who is dealing with bullying will have resources at their disposal in order to solve the issue. It is important that anyone who is experiencing bullying or who has witnessed it firsthand seeks help as soon as possible, as this is the best way to curtail the issue and prevent it from becoming a long-term problem for the victim.
10 Writing Prompts that Focus on Bullying Awareness
These are a few writing prompts that students can use to write about bullying awareness and bullying prevention. For more journal prompts, check out our post on bullying awareness writing.
- Imagine that you saw one of your close friends being bullied at school. How would you feel? What actions would you take?
- There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of being an ally. What is an ally? Do you consider yourself an ally? What could you do to be an ally to someone who is being bullied?
- How do you think it feels to be bullied? Do you think those feelings last a long time? How could bullying impact a person as they grow older?
- Your school is creating a bullying awareness campaign. What can you do to help prevent bullying at your school?
- Write a fictional story about a bully and their victim, and write a resolution for their problems.
- Not all bullying takes place in the physical space. Have you ever witnessed cyberbullying? Do you think cyberbullying is a more prevalent issue than bullying on school property?
- What are three ways that you can prevent cyberbullying among your peers?
- Imagine that you have heard a friend saying a joke that intentionally makes another person feel bad. What should you do in that situation? Write three jokes you could tell that are funny without being hurtful.
- What do you think makes a person become a bully? How can you help a bully feel better about themselves?
- Write down three people that you could talk to if you were experiencing bullying or if you witnessed bullying. Why did you choose those people?
While students are likely familiar with the concept of bullying and aware of its damaging impact on the school community, they may not always know how to properly address it. By giving them an opportunity to write about bullying and promote bullying awareness in their own words, they will feel both empowered and informed. When it comes to tough topics, you should always encourage your kids to keep on writing!
Bullying Resources & Links
- Anti-Bullying Activities for Middle School Students
- Anti-Bully Programs for Elementary Schools
- 56 Bullying Facts
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