In 2014, The Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Education reported on the first uniform definition of bullying. The core definition included three elements:
- Unwanted aggressive behavior
- An imbalance of power
- Repetitive behaviors.
To be considered an act of bullying, the action in question must contain all three elements. There are different types of bullying and each one involves a different type of behavior. Bullying is either direct (targeting one specific person face to face) or indirect (spreading rumors or lies and all forms of cyberbullying). Physical bullying involves actions like pushing, shoving, punching, spiting and in its’ most heinous forms stabbing and shooting. Verbal bullying involves name calling, teasing and offensive gestures. Relational/Social bullying deals with spreading rumors or lies, ignoring or leaving someone out. Property Damage bullying happens when items are stolen, damaged or broken. Electronic bullying involves use of electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones or computers to target someone. This type of bullying is also known as cyberbullying. The prevalence of bullying has been measured by the National Center for Education and the Bureau of Justice. They have cited the 1 in 4 students have been the victim of bullying. In a survey of students in grades 6 to 12, 28% indicated that they had been bullied at least once at school. The survey also indicated that 25% of students in grades 9 to 12 had also experienced some form of bullying at school. When asked if they had every bullied another student, 30% indicated that yes, they had bullied others. In general, over 70% of students and teachers have indicated that they have seen instances of bullying while at school. When asked about cyberbullying, 9% of students in grades 6 to 12 and 15% of students in grades 9 to 12 said that they had been the victim of cyberbullying. An interesting note here is that over 55% of LGBTQ students who responded said that they had been cyberbullied. It is also important to note that these figures are not truly complete because only 20-30% of students report being bullied or seeing someone else being bullied. These results lead to the question of who is at risk of being bullied? While every student may be at risk for bullying, research indicates that students who are perceived as being different from their peers are at greatest risk. LGBTQ students, students who dress differently, eat differently, practice different religions, have different interests…you get the idea. Students who are antagonistic with their peers or who isolate themselves are also more vulnerable. Students who are perceived as not being able to defend themselves due to physical or mental constraints are prone to being targeted as well. In our next blog post, we will be taking about who is affected by bullying. It just might surprise you that the bully and their target are not the only ones affected…. For more information on this topic, visit www.stopbullying.gov If you want to be notified when our next blog post is up, hit the subscribe button below. You will be added to our email list and receive a free guideline about the warning signs of bullying. If you have any questions or concerns about the presentations we provide regarding bullying, contact us here.