Impact of Bullying

Be a Friend, Not a Bully – Help Prevent the Effects of Bullying Now!

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

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What happens to kids during childhood shapes who they become. Bullying is often written off as a rite of passage as “kids just being kids.” However, bullying can have lasting physical, mental, and emotional effects.

No Winners

The bullied, bully & bystander are all affected

While the target of the bullying bears the brunt of the harm, everyone is impacted by it.

Bullying is a direct attack on a student’s status, sense of belonging, and core identity, often resulting in low self-esteem.

Bullying can result in reluctance to go to school, truancy, headaches, stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, anxiety, irritability, aggression, and depression.

The effects of bullying often continue many years into adulthood. In the most extreme cases, targets have taken out their anger and despair through school shootings or by committing suicide.

Target of Bullying American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children

Targets of Bullying

Kids often become targets for bullying when:
  • They 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.”1,2
  • They are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves.1,2
  • They are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem.1,2
  • They are less popular than others and have few friends.1,2
  • They do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention.1,2


Bullying has impact on bullies

Students who habitually bully miss the opportunity to learn an alternative to aggression. Research tells us that they often develop a habitual tendency to abuse power and are increasingly shunned as they reach the higher grades.

Approximately 25 percent of school bullies will be convicted of a criminal offense in their adult years3.

Bullies affected by bullying American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children
Bystanders are affected by bullying American SPCC The Nation's Voice for Children


Bystanders are affected by bullying

Students on the sidelines (the “bystanders”) commonly report extreme discomfort at witnessing bullying, but say that they do not know how to prevent it.

Many are silenced by their fear that they will be the next target of bullying if they dare to speak out.

Often they grow up believing that they are powerless to stop abusive behaviors in others.

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.4

Teen Suicide & Depression

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Click for References & Sources

  1. At risk groups
  2. Youth with disabilities
  3. Bullying and Victimization Among Children, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
  4. Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D., and Craig, W. M. (2001). Peer interventions in playground bullying.  Social Development, 10, 512-527.