BULLYING DEFINITION, STATISTICS & RISK FACTORS

What happens to kids during childhood shapes who they become.

As the Nation’s Voice for Children, American SPCC is speaking up and standing up against Bullying and Cyberbullying. The following free educational resources are made possible through your support and contributions. Please consider making a donation to keep this program going.

A better future starts right here.

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An imbalance of power: kids who bully use their power, physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity, to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

What is Bullying? American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Children cannot get a quality education if they don’t first feel safe at school.
-Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Bullying Statistics

160,000 kids per day skips school for fear of being bullied.1

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.2

The 3 B’s of Bullying

  1. Bullier30% of youth admit to bullying
  2. Bullied1 in 3 students bullied at school
  3. Bystander70% have witnessed bullying

BEEN BULLIED
28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.3
20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.4

BULLIED OTHERS
Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.5

WITNESSED BULLYING
70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.6
70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.7
When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.2

BEEN CYBERBULLIED
6% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.8
16% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.9
However, 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.10

Risk Factors for Bullying

No single factor puts a child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere—cities, suburbs, or rural towns. Depending on the environment, some groups, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) youth,11 youth with disabilities,12 and socially isolated youth, may be at an increased risk of being bullied.

Generally, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”
  • Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem
  • Are less popular than others and have few friends
  • Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention

However, even if a child has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that they will be bullied.

At Risk for Bullying American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Chidlren

“The child who is overweight is the most likely to be bullied.” -Journal of Pediatrics

Together We Can Change Everything!

Join the conversation! Engage and connect on our Bullying forum.

Whether you need advice or  have advice to give, our forum is the place to connect with a growing community committed to the care of the next generation.

Click for References & Sources
  1. U.S. Dept. of Justice
  2. Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D., and Craig, W. M. (2001). Peer interventions in playground bullying.  Social Development, 10, 512-527.
  3. National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement, 2008–2009
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2011
  5. Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382.
  6. Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382.
  7. Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382.
  8. National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement, 2008–2009
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2011.
  10. Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.
  11. At risk groups
  12. Youth with disabilities

 

FEDERALLY COLLECTED DATA REPORTS

2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics).

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