Why must we stop bullying?

Updated on Feb 11, 2009

It is important for all adults to understand that bullying does not have to be a normal part of childhood. All forms of bullying are harmful to the bully, the victim, and to witnesses. The effects can last well into adulthood.

  1. Impact on Victims: Children who are bullied are at risk of the following1:
    • Anxiety
    • Loneliness
    • Low self-esteem
    • Poor social self-competence
    • Depression
    • Psychosomatic symptoms
    • Social withdrawal
    • Physical health complaints
    • Running away from home
    • Alcohol and drug use
    • Suicide
    • Poor academic performance.2
  2. Impact on Bullies: Children and youth who frequently bully are more likely to3:
    • Get into frequent fights
    • Be injured in a fight
    • Vandalize property
    • Steal property
    • Drink alcohol
    • Smoke
    • Be truant from school
    • Drop out of school
    • Carry a weapon
    • Become a criminal. In one study, 60% of those who bullied had at least one criminal conviction by age 24.1
  3. Impact on Bystanders, Witnesses and Assistants. Children can be influenced indirectly by being witnesses to interpersonal violence.4 Witnessing others being victimized can significantly heighten feelings of vulnerability and lower feelings of personal safety.5


  1. Patricia McDougall, Tracy Vaillancourt, Shelley Hymel. What Happens Over Time To Those Who Bully And Those Who Are Victimized?
  2. Adrienne Nishina. Can Sticks and Stones and Names Really Make Youth Sick?
  3. Stop Bullying Now! U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Children Who Bully
  4. Shelley Hymel, Susan M. Swearer. Bullying: An age-old problem that needs new solutions
  5. Linda A. Cedeno, Maurice J. Elias. How Do You Know When Your Student Or Child Is Being Victimized and How Can You Help
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