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Bullying is a consistent or continual form of abuse between an individual or group and victim/victims, most notably seen in children and school populations. The abuse can take many forms such as physical, emotional, cyber, and verbal bullying. The bully is usually more physically powerful and uses bullying to coerce, intimidate, and embarrass their victims. Victims are chosen due to their physical, personal, ethnic, or sexual orientation. At present the United States has started passing laws in select states to make bullying a crime especially when the victim’s abuse leads to detriment in their psychological or physical well-being, some victims are lead to believe suicide is their only way to escape the abuse. This differs from regular childhood relationships in that the victim on average is likely to internalize the abuse and believe what the bully indicates they are (moron, loser, etc) and on average only 30% of victims report the bullying to a teacher or parent. Retaliation is less common but also occurs if the abuse continues over a significant amount of time and depends on the disposition of the victim.

Types of Bullying

  1. Physical- Use of physical force either from the bully punching, kicking, constraining victims or using a weapon to accomplish the same purpose which is physical harm and fear in the victim.
  2. Verbal- These tactics consists of name calling and offensive language (examples- ethnic slurs, slut, nerd, idiot, and sexual orientation language used to make the victim submissive and passive)
  3. Cyber- With the advent of the internet and cell phone communication bullying has expanded on a new front. Spreading rumors and gossip, photo shopped media, and insults to significant portions of the student body.
  4. Emotional- Any of the above types of abuse that leads to emotional distress or results in a psychological disorder (depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc)

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1.In a nation wide survey taken in 2014 the following statistics were calculated, alarming many parents and schools who were unaware about its large presense in schools and comunities:
2. 3.2 million children (age 10 to 17) reported being a victim of bullying in the past year
3. Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.
4. 17% of American students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month or more within a school semester.
5. 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.
6. Over 67% of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.7. 1 in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying. 8. Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.
Intervention/ Prevention Efforts against bullying
  1. Individual level- Parents, Teachers, and/ or school psychologists can sit down with the bully and victim and work to resolve a specific instance of bullying, allowing the bully to understand the harm he has caused and possibly receive punishment and/ or be observed afterwards to see if the bully continues to abuse other children
  2. Classroom/ School Level- Have a class period at the beginning of the school year devoted to discussing the awareness of bullying, encourage victims to seek adults in cases of abuse, and to make clear the consequences if someone is behaving in a bullying manner. Informational videos like the one below can also encourage any of the listed classroom ideas.
  3. State/ Federal Level- Increased funding for awareness campaigns to be implemented in schools. Each year the number of states that are enacted laws aimed at bullying is increasing along with the nationwide awareness and media highlight on suicides that result from chronic bullying.
Documentary about bullying in the US
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Sources: Written by Christopher Warschauer
Garbarino, J. & de Lara, E. (2003). And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence. The Free Press: New York NY.


Ormrod, Jeanne (2011). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners. Boston, MA. Pearson Publishing. p. 87-90