After the newest “copycat” video from Clarkville, Indiana showing middle school girls beating up a classmate, people are wondering just how prevalent bullying is these days. Parents are concerned. Is my child videotaping a fight and putting it up on YouTube? Could they do such a thing?
Many people underestimate how often bullying occurs. They turn a blind eye. I can’t tell you how many school principals have told me, “It doesn’t really happen here.”
Here are the facts:
- 10% to 15% of children admit to being bullied on a regular basis.
- It’s estimated that almost 30% of young people in the U.S. (over 5.7 million) are involved in bullying as “the bully,” “the victim,” or both.
- Children who bully have trouble with other relationships
- On average, one in ten students is bullied at least once a week.
- One in three students has experienced bullying as a bully or victim or bullying during the average school term.
- While there are three kinds of bullying, physical (hitting, kicking, taking away property, destroying property); verbal (name-calling, insulting); and emotional (shunning, spreading gossip), most bullying is verbal rather than physical
- Bullying at age 10 sets many children on the path to delinquency
- Boys bully both girls and boys. Girls tend to bully girls in particular.
- Bullying begins in elementary school, is most prevalent in middle school, and drops dramatically (but does not disappear) in high school.
- Bullies and bystanders tend to blame the victim for the treatment received.
- Bullying takes place most often at school.
- At school, bullying takes place most frequently in places where adult supervision is compromised such as on the playground, in the hallways, or in the classroom before lessons begin.
- While boys are more often involved in bullying than are girls, girls tend to bully in more indirect ways by inflicting emotional pain through manipulating friendships, ostracizing classmates, and spreading malicious rumors.
- Victims are most often taunted about their physical appearance although they often do not look very different than their classmates.
- Boys who are consistently victimized tend to be more passive or weaker than the bully.
- In middle school, girls who mature early are often teased and bullied by their classmates.
- Whether boys or girls, bullies tend to have more family problems than other children, a history of emotional abuse, and inconsistent boundaries, rules, or discipline at home.
- Spending an average of 28 hours a week in front of the television set (more than any other activity except for sleep), children are constantly bombarded by images and ideas. When these images and ideas misrepresent entire groups and races, children can grow up believing these damaging stereotypes. Children are impressionable and may use this information as fuel for bullying.
- Children who bully others may begin to develop prejudicial feelings, so that what starts out as something childish becomes entrenched in their thoughts and behavior. The name-callers, begin to internalize attitudes when they tease.
We can’t just turn a blind eye and say “kids will be kids.” Somebody’s child is getting hurt. It might be yours.