Bullying 101: Get the Facts

Get all the facts you need to understand and prevent bullying, at school and online.

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Bullying Defined

Bullying is an intentional act. The bully typically has an advantage or power over the victim, and harasses the targeted child repeatedly.

Gender Differences

Boys are often physically aggressive. They're more likely to bully and be bullied. Girls often bully indirectly, through gossiping with peer groups.

Affecting Our Kids

Generally, one out of three children are bullied at school, in the neighborhood, or online—and one out of three children bully others.

Adverse Affects

Kids who are bullied are at risk for anxiety, low self-esteem and even substance abuse. Bullies are more likely to fight, steal and become criminals.

Why Kids Bully

A host of factors—including uninvolved parents, physical discipline, positive views of violence, and desire for social power—are reasons for bullying.

An Age-Old Problem

Bullying isn't anything new—often victims keep quiet, bystanders do nothing, and adults don't intervene, and the problem isn't dealt with effectively.

Breaking the Habit

Ending bullying means putting a stop to playground power struggles and expected peer dynamics. Social aggression is learned—and it can be changed.

Victim Signs

Pay attention to symptoms that indicate your child's being bullied, including depression, academic issues, lost belongings and sleep cycle changes.

Is He a Bully?

If you suspect your kid's a bully, look for these warning signs: lack of empathy, disobedience, a positive attitude about violence and impulsivity.

The Bully-Victim

Some kids bully because they've been a victim in the past. They struggle with emotional outbursts, an inability to control anger, and peer rejection.

Parenting a Perpetrator

If your kid's a bully, explain that is unacceptable. Brainstorm positive social activities, see a counselor and be sure to supervise his interactions.

Help the Bystander

Witnesses can help end bullying by telling the aggressor to stop, supporting the victim, walking away or reporting the bully to a trusted adult.

Parent Interference

If you see bullying, stand between the victim and bully, reiterate anti-bullying rules, and notify the parents. Don't tell them to just "work it out."


While bullies often have an inflated self-view that helps them justify bad behavior, victims are more likely than their peers to have low self-esteem.

Victims: Long-Term Effects

Kids who are bullied report depression and low self-esteem, are likely to skip school, complain of headaches and are susceptible to substance abuse.

Bullies: Long-Term Effects

Unsurprisingly, aggressive kids often grow up to be aggressive adults—60 percent of childhood bullies have a criminal record by the time they're 24.

How to Help

If you think your child's been victimized, then you should listen, find out which anti-bullying methods he's tried, and contact the school.

Part of the Solution

You can prevent bullying: talk to your kid a lot, spend time at school, lead by example, make anti-bullying rules at home and look for warning signs.

Show Support

Your child's been bullied—it's time to get more information. Ask questions, validate his feelings and discuss ways he can avoid bullies at school.

Spread the Word

Advocate for anti-bullying programs that educate kids, have clear rules, focus on peer relations, put adults in hot spots and require a group effort.

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