Is it going to school and being beaten up? Is it being called fat, ugly, or stupid? Or could it just be the feeling that everyone in the world is against you? Sadly, bullying is all that and it affects a lot of kids:
- 77% of children are bullied mentally, verbally, and physically.*
- More than 160,000 students in the United States stay home from school each day because they are afraid of being the target of a bully. *
- On average, every 7 minutes a kid is being bullied.*
Bullies Often Start with Name Calling
Most often, bullying begins in elementary school. Imagine, children as young as 7 or 8, being bullied. They may not even realize what is happening. It could start out as a nickname that is funny for a day or two, but then even after it gets old people keep calling you that. If bullies realize they can get away with this, they can move on to other things like calling you other name or even pushing you around. After a while, you really get down on yourself and you might even believe some of the things they say about you. Ninety percent of 4th through 8th graders report they have been the target of a bully.^
Verbal bullying can be calling people names, criticizing a person’s size or weight, or even what they look like. This kind of attack can deteriorate a person’s self image, make you feel worthless, and lead to depression.
Bullying can be so painful that sometimes kids being bullied turn to substance abuse or even suicide for escape. Verbal bullying is most often used by girls, but boys use it as well.
About 282,000 kids are physically attacked by bullies every month.^ This means kicking, shoving, or even getting stuffed in a locker, anything that causes physical harm or embarrassment. It could even be the little things like pinching, spitting, or “accidental” tripping.
Cyber bullying is when somebody or even a group of people are harassing another person through the internet. They may never touch the person, but still cause them pain.
- 22% of kids say that they know someone who has been bullied online, and another *
- 19% say that they have said something cruel or mean to somebody through the internet. *
- 35% of kids have reported being bullied online, but many don’t say a thing. *
Cyber bullying is even more terrible because you can’t get away from it. Bullies use Facebook, Twitter, text messages and Skype to harass kids. Even if you are not around the bully, mean messages can be waiting for you when you log on.
Bullying can happen anywhere, and at any time. It could be at a park, on the street, or most common school. Forty-three percent of kids report they are terrified they will run into bullies in the bathroom at school. It happens on the playground, outside school, in school, and online.
How to Get Help If You Are Being Bullied
If you are being bullied, it is very important that you tell a parent or teacher. If it a serious crime, maybe you’ve been brutally beat, you should call 911 as soon as possible.
What You Can Do to Stop Bullying
If you see someone being bullied, tell an adult as soon as possible. If the bully is saying bad things about another person, show solidarity and stand up to the bully. Don’t yell or call them names – then you would become the bully!
All you have to do is just say you shouldn’t treat people like that. If you say it confidently, it should work but if it comes out nervous they will start in on you. That’s all it takes. Then the bully might just back off and become at least a little bit self-conscious.