6 Myths About Bullies and Victims

Get the facts about bullying.

Click on an item in the set below to see more info.

Bullies Have No Friends

Myth: Everybody dislikes the class bully.

Fact: Bullies have high status in the classroom and quite popular among their classmates who perceive them as especially "cool". Many classmates admire their toughness and may even try to imitate them.

Bullies Have Low Self-Esteem

Myth: Bullies are rejected by peers because they have low self-esteem.

Fact: Bullies have an inflated self-views, and that high self-esteem can sometimes encourage bullies to rationalize their antiosocial actions.

Being a Victim Builds Character

Myth: It's believed that being bullied and experienced peer harassmenet builds character in children as they try to fight back.

Fact: Children who are passive and socially withindraw are at heightened risk of getting bullied and that these children become even more withdrawn after incidents of harassment.

Childhood Victims Become Violent as Teens

Myth: Grown victims will lash out at their tomentors.

Fact: Most victims of bullying are more likely to suffer in silence than to retaliate. Victims often have psychological problem such as depression and low self-esteem, which may make them inclined to turn inward rather than outward.

Victims Are Introverts

Myth: All victims of bullying are shy and withdrawn.

Fact: Although certain personality characteristics indeed place children at higher risk for being bullied, there are also a host of situational factors (e.g., being a new student in school) and social risk factors (e.g., not having a friend) that increase the likelihood of a child being or continuing to get bullied. These situational factors explain why there are more temporary than chronic victims of bullying.

Bullying Involves Only Perpetrators and Victims

Myth: Bullying is a bullying-victim dyad problem.

Fact: Bullying incident involves more than just the bully and victim. There are bystanders, assistants to the bullies, reinforcers, and defenders of victims. By passively watching the bullying incidents, peers are reinforcing the bully's behavior.

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