Bullying is a huge problem. You have probably witnessed it, and you may have experienced it yourself. Bullying is not "just part of growing" up and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. The effects of bullying on your physical and emotional well-being can stick with you into adulthood. Just consider these statistics:
- About 56% of all students have witnessed a bullying crime take place while at school.
- About 282,000 students are reportedly attacked in high schools through the nation each month.
- More than 160,000 students in the United States stay home from school each day from fear of being bullied.
- American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims.
You are not alone and you CAN do something about it! It is time to Bullyproof our schools and communities!
What is Bullying?
Bullying can take many forms, can happen in different situations, and can have different impacts on different students. Here is a breakdown of the main types of bullying to look out for:
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
What should you do if you are being bullied?
Bullying is scary. And embarrassing. And emotionally and physically painful. It can also be a crime. You have the right to speak up and to be free from bullying. You have the right to attend school and to be safe at school. You have the right to enforce your school’s bullying policies and to report bullying when it is criminal.
Bullying is NOT "just part of growing up" and is NOT something that you have to endure. Find more information about how you can stop bullying below:
- 10 Ways to Respond to Bullying
- Tips for Victims of Bullying
- How Students Can Avoid School Victimization
- Advice for Teens Experiencing Bullying
- What to Do if You are a Target of Bullying
- Taking a Stand: A Student's Guide to Stop Name-Calling and Bullying
How can I stop cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
Here are some tips:
- Do not forward or respond to cyberbullying messages and communications.
- Keep evidence of the cyberbullying. Document the dates, times, and details when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. You can then use this evidence to report cyberbullying to internet and cell phone service providers.
- Many social media sites have ways that cyberbullying can be reported. Links to several can be found below.
- If the cyberbullying originates from or relates to your school environment, report it to your teacher or an administrator.
- In some instances, it may be appropriate and necessary to report cyberbullying to law enforcement. Some states consider other forms of cyberbullying criminal.
Cyberbullying can be especially difficult because it can happen virtually anywhere and at any time, and often it may seem that there is no way to stop it. But…there is!
- ADL’s Cyber-Safety Guide – this guide gives you the information about how to make complaints to many companies and products.
- Tips for Responding to Cyberbullying
- Confronting Hate Speech Online
- Internet Safety Strategies from ADL
- Strategies for Keeping Yourself Safe on Social Networking Sites
What should you do if you see someone being bullied?
If you see someone that is being bullied, do not participate in the bullying or do anything to encourage the bully. Also, do not put yourself in danger. However, as a witness, or a "bystander," to bullying, there are certain things that you can do to help make your school more Bullyproof. You can make a difference!
- Be a friend to the person being bullied. A simple gesture, like talking to the victim or inviting him to sit next to you, can make a world of difference.
- Tell an adult that you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to the adult, you can leave them a note or send them an email.
- Help the person being bullied get away from the situation. While you should never do anything that puts yourself at risk of injury or use violence yourself, you could create a distraction to allow the victim to get out of the situation. For example, if you feel it is safe to do so, you can say something like, "Mrs. Robinson needs to see you right now."
- Don’t give bullying an audience. Many times a bully will be encouraged if others are watching. Even if you are not participating in the bullying, by laughing or even watching, your presence might support the bully.
Here are some additional resources:
Do you want to make a difference in your school or community?
You are important, and your voice is important. You can make a difference! Be an advocate! Here are some great ideas to help you make your school Bullyproof!
- PACER’s Teens Against Bullying – this site has ideas for middle and high school to raise awareness in their school or community and to educate younger students about bullying prevention.
- PACER’s School Event Planning Guide – this five-step guide, from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, shows you to create a meaningful bullying prevention event; including how to form your committee, set the date and location, plan your activities, promote your event, and hold the event.
- Student Action Plan Against Bullying – this guide will help you develop an action plan to address a bullying, whether it is happening to you or to someone else.
- Changing the Culture: Ideas for Student Action – this paper presents a list of actions that students can take to make their schools and communities healthier places to challenge meanness and cruelty.
- Youth Leader Toolkit – resources for teens who want to help younger children launch a bullying prevention program from stopbullying.gov.