Whether your a brand new parent years away from the first day of school or the mom of a teen getting ready to graduate high school, understanding bullying facts can help you keep your child safe from this emotional epidemic.
Bullying can cause so much damage to a child. At best, it causes anxiety and depression. At worse, children engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting, drug abuse and even suicide attempts. Take a look at these bullying facts that every parent should know.
Ten Bullying Facts You NEED to Know
1. The definition is vague, making it difficult to pin down the act.
Before you can stop bullying, you need to know what it is. The thing is, there isn’t really a clear-cut definition. Most agree that bullying involves hurtful words or physical aggression from one person or group to another person or group. Some believe that it has to be a repeated event to count as bullying. For example, words exchanged in a heated one-time fight don’t really count as bullying.
2. 1 in 4 kids have been bullied at school.
Wow. Think about that for a moment. That’s 25% of children who have been bullied at some point. As parents, we like to think “it won’t happen to my kids!” When 25% of kids are bullied, though, the sad fact is your child has a good chance of having it happen to him. This in one of the most important bullying facts because it shows you the reality of just how bad it is.
3. Children who are depressed are more likely to get bullied.
Talk about adding insult to injury: if your child is already depressed, anxious or has low self-esteem, she is at a greater risk of being bullied. Bullying, in turn, makes these conditions worse. Other less surprising risk factors: kids who are seen as “different” than the crowd and those who have a hard time getting along with others.
4. School prevention programs have been met with very little success.
While it’s important for schools to have some sort of bullying prevention program in place, sadly these programs rarely succeed on a grand level. Some have had moderate success while others just fail miserably. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying though, it just means schools haven’t found the magical formula that works. Perhaps schools could take a cue from Kate Walton and her bullying prevention tips.
5. Bullying alone typically does not cause suicidal behavior.
Statistics show that the relationship between bullying and suicide is not as strong as we may think it is based on the media coverage we see. Typically, children who commit suicide have numerous other risk factors aside from just being bullied. Remember, kids who are depressed are more likely to be bullied. They’re also more likely to attempt suicide.
6. Bullying is NOT a crime in the United States
There is no federal law against bullying. The only time that it is actually considered a crime is when there is an element of harassment involved. Harassment, sadly, is incredibly difficult to prove. States may have legislation that defines parts of bullying as a crime but again, they seem difficult to enforce. Hopefully these laws will become more solid and easy to navigate, making it easier to report bullies and put a stop to their actions.
7. Kindergartners can be bullied too.
Perhaps one of the most alarming bullying facts is that it can start as early as kindergarten. In some cases, even as early as in preschool! As if young kids don’t have enough to be nervous about when starting kids. Now you have to prepare your kindergartner for dealing with bullying on top of everything else!
8. Bullying is typically a group activity.
While movies would have us believe that there is a single bully in every class, the truth is that kids often bully in groups. Sometimes, kids end up bullying other kids simply because they want to be part of that group. Peer pressure is a very strong motivator, especially among teens.
9. Adults sometimes just don’t get it.
According to StopBullying.gov, there is a disconnect between the way kids see bullying and the way we as adults see it. We tend to blow things off as kids being kids or hand out platitudes like “just ignore them and they’ll stop.” Our children, on the other hand, take those hurtful words much more to heart than we would at our age. That’s why we loved talking to H.G. Sansostri. He gave us a great perspective on how kids deal with bullying.
10. You are your child’s best role model to prevent bullying
I saved one of the most important bullying facts for last. If you want to prevent bullying or stop your child from becoming a bully, you need to model good behavior. Be kind and compassionate, not just towards your kids but to everyone. Kids often follow in their parent’s footsteps. If you are prone to hurling insults in the midst of a fight, don’t be surprised if your child is too.
What do you think of these bullying facts? Do any of them surprise you?