Bullying is a form of youth violence. Bullying may include:
- Attacking or intimidating another with the intent to cause fear, distress, or harm.
- Repeated attacks or acts of intimidation between the same children over a period of time.
- A real or perceived imbalance of power between the bully and the victim.
Bullying can include aggression that is displayed physically, by hitting or tripping another, verbally, by name-calling or teasing another, and psychologically/socially, by spreading rumors or intentionally leaving another out of a group.
Bullying can also occur through technology - this is referred to as electronic aggression or cyberbullying.
How Can Bullying Affect Health?
Bullying is widespread in the United States. In fact, in a 2011 nationwide survey, 20% of high school students reported being bullied on school property over the past year, 16% reported that they have been bullied electronically over the past year, and 23% of public schools reported that bullying occurred among students on a weekly or even daily basis.
Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death. Those who are bullied are at an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and having difficulties sleeping and keeping up with school work. Those who bully others are also affected, as they are at an increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood.
How Can Bullying Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent bullying is to stop it before it starts. As research on preventing and addressing bullying is still developing and school-based bullying prevention programs are infrequently evaluated though widely implemented, it is imperative that we continue to work toward prevention.
However, there are things you can do to keep yourself or your children safe from bullying:
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Apologize if you hurt someone's feelings.
- Stand up for yourself: tell a bully to stop, or walk away.
- Stay away from places bullying may be likely to occur or stay near adults.
- Talk to an adult you trust.
- Keep passwords protected and personal information off of the internet.
- Tell an adult anything hurtful you encounter online.
- Stand up for others and get involved.
Information provided by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and StopBullying.Gov.