A difficult problem to escape
One in five children in the U.S. ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied during the school year in 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Most of it came in the form of social and verbal bullying—with 13.4% of kids reporting being the subject of rumors and 13% who say they were made fun of, called names or insulted.
The CDC says bullying is a common problem in public schools. Nearly 12% of public schools report that bullying happens at least once a week, according to the CDC.
Bullies might target people for their looks, behavior, social status, race, religion, sexual identity or gender identity, kidshealth.org says. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says on stopbullying.org that there are three types of bullying.
These days, we carry our bullies with us in our pockets. Cyberbullying takes place over text, chat, apps, social media, forums or online gaming. It can include sending, posting or sharing negative, harmful or false things about someone else, stopbullying.gov says. Cyberbullies might also post private and embarrassing information.
Cyberbullying is particularly concerning because digital devices and the internet are difficult to get away from. Experts say it also may be hard to recognize because it mostly takes place online.
Another concern about cyberbullying is that most content posted on the internet stays on the internet, stopbullying.gov says. This can make it harder to get into college or find a job.
Bullying should not be considered a normal part of growing up. According to the CDC, it can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm and even death. It also increases the risk for depression and anxiety and can lead to problems with sleeping and performance in school.
Parents should be on the lookout for signs their children are being bullied, as their kids might not want to talk about it. Hesitation about going to school, decreased appetite, crying, nightmares or general depression and anxiety might be signs your child is a victim of bullying, the American Psychological Association says.
It is also useful to teach your child how to deal with bullies. Kidshealth.org has several suggestions:
- Report it to a trusted adult
- Ignore the bully and walk away
- Don’t bully back
- Talk about it to a friend, counselor or family member.
- Find a true friend and avoid being alone
- Practice feeling good about yourself
- Stand up for others you see being bullied
And bullying doesn’t stop when you reach adulthood.
And bullying doesn’t stop when you reach adulthood. According to the American Psychological Association, bullying in the workplace may cause high turnover, absenteeism and even lawsuits. To prevent this, researchers suggest workplaces identify the root causes for the aggressive behavior and foster better communication among coworkers.
- Supporting a child’s healthy development by promoting family environments
- Provide quality education early in life
- Strengthen skills with school-based programs
- Connect youth to caring adults and activities
- Create protective community environments
- Intervene to lessen harms and prevent future risk