Bully Talk

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly a third of all students aged 12 - 18 reported having been bullied at school in 2007, some almost daily. This page gives a general background on school bullying

Tyler Clementi
Bullying has long been a problem among children and teenagers, but new technology has increased the types of bullying that occur, making it harder to recognize or prevent. School bullying is still a serious problem with consequences for the victim and the bully. Adults need to intervene to help the bully and the victim. The victim should not be encouraged to fight the bully or to try to work it out with the bully; both need independent counseling from adults.

Bullying is when one teen hurts or scares another. It happens when one teen has perceived power over another, making the victim feel helpless. The power can include strength, verbal wit, wealth, or social standing. The bullying can happen once or over and over. Bullying can occur at school or outside of it. With modern technology, bullying does not only take place in person. Teens may bully each other on the Internet in chat rooms (cyberbullying) or on web pages, or through cell phones, via calling or texting. Fifteen to 25 percent of young people are frequent victims of bullying, and about 15 to 20 percent bully others.

Preventing or stopping school bullying can be difficult, especially if adults do not take it seriously. Bullying usually requires an adult to intervene. The victim should understand that it is not his or her fault that he or she is being bullied.

Parents can help their children by taking the time to talk to them every day for at least fifteen minutes. Parents should listen to what their child has to say, and take school bullying seriously if it is occurring. They should not encourage the teen to fight the bully or try to work it out with the bully; instead, adults should try to help the bully and the victim separately.

If a teen has a friend who is being bullied they can help by being there for the friend, not letting the friend be alone around the bully, and, if it is safe, telling the bully to stop. If the bullying continues, they should tell an adult who will listen to them.

Teens who have been bullies or the victims of school bullying should talk to a counselor or other professional to receive help coping with the effects of bullying.

Types of School Bullying

There are different categories of school bullying, and some of the categories overlap. Here are some of the most important categories that are frequently discussed:

  1. How Many Bullies:   Pack bullying is bullying undertaken by a group. The 2009 Wesley Report on bullying prepared by an Australia-based group, found that pack bullying was more prominent in high schools and characteristically lasted longer that bullying undertaken by individuals. Pack bullying may be physical bullying or emotional bullying and be perpetrated in person or in cyberspace. In person, it can take place in schoolyards, school hallways, sports fields and gymnasiums, classrooms, and on the school bus. Individual bullying is one-on-one bullying that may take place either in person or online, as well as being physical bullying or emotional bullying. The Wesley Report found it to be more prevalent in elementary schools. It can take place everywhere that pack bullying can, and also in smaller areas into which a pack can’t fit, such as bathrooms. 
  2. Mode of School Bullying: Physical bullying is bullying that takes the form of physical abuse, such as pushing, shoving, hitting, fighting, spitting, and tripping. Threats of physical harm and attempts to force people to act in ways they would prefer not to are also included. Emotional bullying is bullying that involves factors other than physical interaction, such as insults, derogatory remarks, name calling, and teasing. Also included are attempts to ostracize the victim, such as being left out or ignored, which is sometimes referred to as social bullying, as distinguished from verbal bullying. Emotional bullying could also take the form of purposely misplacing or hiding someone’s belongings. Emotional bullying can be done in person or through cyberbullying. 
  3. Medium of School Bullying: Face-to-face bullying is bullying in which students confront each other in person.
  4. Cyber bullying: is bullying that takes place online, through either email, chat rooms, social networking services, text messages, instant messages, website postings, blogs, or a combination of means. Cyberbullies may conceal their identity so that their victim experiences an anonymous attack. The content of cyberbullying can consist of all of the types of content mentioned in emotional bullying above, including posting insulting and derogatory comments about someone or sending such comments to someone; sending mean or threatening messages; gossiping about someone online including posting sensitive or private information; impersonating someone in order to cast that person in a bad light; and excluding someone from an online page or group. Unwanted contact, also known as harassment, is another form of cyberbullying.

Specific Targets of School Bullying
  • Homophobic bullying is sometimes distinguished because it has a particular target population. 
  • Bullying of students with disabilities is another type of bullying with a focused target population. 
  • Racist bullying is a third type of focused bullying that targets people of a specific race or cultural. 
  • Religious bullying targets people who have specific religious beliefs. 
Facts About School Bullying 
The NCES report reveals that There is noticeably more bullying in middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) than in senior high school.

  • Emotional bullying is the most prevalent type of bullying, with pushing/shoving/tripping/spitting on someone being second.
  • Cyberbullying is - for the middle grade levels - the least prominent type of bullying, but it is greater in the last three years of high school than in grades 6 - 9 

  • Most school bullying occurs inside the school, a lesser amount on school property, and even less on the school bus. The least occurs in other areas.
    • Middle school students, and particularly 6th graders, were most likely to be bullied on the bus 
    • Sixth graders were the most likely students to sustain an injury from bullying, with middle schoolers more likely to be injured than high school students and the percentage going down every grade from 6 to 12.

    Victims of bullying display a range of responses, even many years later, such as:
    • Low self-esteem 
    • Difficulty in trusting others Lack of assertiveness 
    • Aggression Difficulty controlling anger 
    • Isolation Sources 

    The behaviors mentioned above are key in helping to find out if your teen is a bully or is being a bully. Regardless, it is important for every parent to know how to stop bullying. If your child or teen is a bullying victim, it is important to talk to them about their experiences with the bully.

    With the Internet and social networking, there are many different types of bullying your child could be the victim of including physical, verbal and cyber bullying. If your teen is experiencing any kinds of these types of bullying it is important to let the school administration know there is school bullying occurring. Other methods on how to stop bullying include encouraging good self-esteem with your teen. If your child  is confident and unafraid of those who are mean and hurtful, they are less likely to be the victim of a bullying attack. It is also a good idea to have your teen avoid places where the bullying is often taking place. Overall the best way to find out how to stop bullying with your teen is to encourage open communication. Get your teen to talk to you if they ever feel threatened or unsafe at school or around their peers.

    If your child is exhibiting violent behaviors and has been reported by other parents and teachers as a potential bully, it is a good idea to get your teen help. Often times, bullying results because the child or teen is experiencing underlying emotional issues like low self-esteem, frustration with having difficulty learning in school. Your child also might be behaving in violent behaviors because they are being bullied themselves. When it comes to knowing how to stop bullying, the best way to stop it is where it starts. This means that if your child or teen is the bully they need help to stop bullying and demonstrating negative behaviors with their peers. Some teens and children might have troubles with anger management issues and simply need a more effective form of releasing those frustrations and anger. Sports and exercise are a great outlet to help channel that unnecessary anger toward a more positive outlet.

    Unfortunately bullying can lead to serious consequences for both the victim as well as the bully. In some instances, teens who are victims of bullying don't know how to talk to their parents or teachers about feeling like a victim. Instead they turn their emotions inward and this results in cases of low self esteem, eating disorders, self mutilation and even in some severe cases, suicide. Teens who are the bully also experience serious consequences of their actions like troubles with drugs, alcohol, violence, crime and domestic violence later on in life. It is important for parents and their teens to know how to stop bullying before these actions get taken too far.

    Sources: stopbullying.gov

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