Bullying: More Serious Than You Think

What We’ve Learned about Bullying

  • Bullying affects all youth, including those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying. The effects of bullying may continue into adulthood.
  • There is not a single profile of a young person involved in bullying. Youth who bully can be either well connected socially or marginalized, and may be bullied by others as well. Similarly, those who are bullied sometimes bully others.
  • Solutions to bullying are not simple. Bullying prevention approaches that show the most promise confront the problem from many angles. They involve the entire school community—students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff such as bus drivers, nurses, cafeteria and front office staff—in creating a culture of respect. Zero tolerance and expulsion are not effective approaches.
  • Bystanders, or those who see bullying, can make a huge difference when they intervene on behalf of someone being bullied.
  • Studies also have shown that adults can help prevent bullying by talking to children about bullying, encouraging them to do what they love, modeling kindness and respect, and seeking help.

How Common Is Bullying

  • About 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide.
  • Students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them:
    • Had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them (56%).
    • Had more social influence (50%).
    • Were physically stronger or larger (40%).
    • Had more money (31%).

Bullying in Schools

  • Nationwide, 19% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey.
  • The following percentages of students ages 12-18 had experienced bullying in various places at school:
    • Hallway or stairwell (43.4%)
    • Classroom (42.1%)
    • Cafeteria (26.8%)
    • Outside on school grounds (21.9%)
    • Online or text (15.3%)
    • Bathroom or locker room (12.1%)
    • Somewhere else in the school building (2.1%)
  • Approximately 46% of students ages 12-18 who were bullied during the school year notified an adult at school about the bullying.

Cyberbullying

  • Among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15 % were bullied online or by text.
  • An estimated 14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Types of Bullying

  • Students ages 12-18  experienced  various types of bullying, including:
  • Being the subject of rumors or lies (13.4%)
  • Being made fun of, called names, or insulted (13.0%)
  • Pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (5.3%)
  • Leaving out/exclusion (5.2%)
  • Threatened with harm (3.9%)
  • Others tried to make them do things they did not want to do (1.9%)
  • Property was destroyed on purpose (1.4%)