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Bullying in America: Statistics and What to Do

We’ve all been there: being teased on the playground, left out from a birthday party invitation or classmates sneering and laughing at us from across the room. But not all of us have been bullied to the point of not wanting to go back to school or having our lives threatened, and with cyberbullying on the rise, now is the time to become educated, know resources on how to help and what measures you can take to prevent it. And, it’s not just an issue in youth (1 out of 5 students report being bullied (https://bit.ly/2iY55Km). Adults face bullying too – whether in the workplace, at church, or in their very own families.

In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, we’ve put together statistics, tips, resources and an overall supportive arsenal to have on-hand if this has been an issue in your life (or in those around you).

The Stats

  • For 12 to 18 year-old students, 35% reported traditional bullying, while15% reported cyberbullying (The Journal of Adolescent Health)
  • School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25% (https://bit.ly/2PW0XIm) and more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied
  • 40% of adults have experienced cyberbullying, according to a Pew Research Survey (https://pewrsr.ch/1z39L3u)
    • There are several different types of adult bullies, classified as:(excerpted from https://bit.ly/KtTSfM)
      • Narcissistic Adult Bully – the type of bully that is self-centered and cannot empathize with others.
      • Impulsive Adult Bully – An adult who has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. The type of bullying may be unintentional, but still hurts the one who is being bullied.
      • Physical Bully – Anything from the threat of harm to actually physically harming someone else.
      • Verbal Adult Bully – Bullies who use this tactic may start rumors about the victim or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person.
      • Secondary Adult Bully – This is someone who does not initiate the bullying (and may not agree with it), but joins in so that he or she doesn’t become a victim down the road.
  • Four in 10 LBGTQ youth (42%) say their community is not accepting of LBGTQ people (https://bit.ly/2x6X8d0)
  • Nine in 10 LBGT teens have reported being bullied at school within the past year (https://bit.ly/1cjWSBC)
  • Bullying is getting worse in American schools; studies have shown that increasing domestic violence at home are leading to an increase in bullying online and at school (https://bit.ly/1cjWSBC)
  • Biracial, multiracial, and ethnic minority youth represent groups of students who are at high risk for victimization
  • 44% of elementary school students and 33% of high school students who report being victimized because of their ethnicity also report bullying others for the same reason (https://bit.ly/2AsO9Ej)

What to Do

If you or someone close to you is being bullied, it’s important to remember these two things:

  • You’re not alone
  • It’s not your fault

As long as you are not being physically threatened, it’s best to try to deal with the bully yourself. Remember, they are trying to make themselves feel more powerful by trying to take away your power – don’t let them. Slinking off or matching anger with anger never helps. Give a few of these comeback phrases a try:

  • Do you feel better now?
  • Let’s move on.
  • Here we go again. This is boring. Let me know when you’re done.

Sometimes, you just have to walk away and not give them the attention they are so seeking.

If the bullying gets out of hand, talk to an authoritative figure, such as a boss, a parent of the bully, a principle, HR, a friend or a therapist for advice or to try to rectify the situation. There are also anonymous help lines if you feel you have no one to talk to, or need immediate help, call:

  • Stop Bullying Now Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • LBGTQ-specific support: The Trevor Project 9-866-488-7386

More Resources

  • Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433
  • Immediate Medical Assistance: 911
  • Crisis Call Center: 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
  • Crisis Text Line (U.S. only): Text HELLO to 741741
  • Youthspace Text Line (across Canada): Text 778-783-0177 from 6 p.m. to midnight daily.

Without going into the deeper psychology of why bullying happens, know that you can do something about it and that you’re not alone. Below are additional resources specific to Kansas bullying laws and organizations that offer empowerment and support. (https://bit.ly/2CJ3XUC)


Thank you in advance for reading, commenting and sharing with love, compassion and kindness. You help make our cozy corner of the world wide web an awesome place!

Sending love, healing, and self care,

The Self Care Club Team


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