Bullies don't go away when elementary school ends; bullying
actually peaks in junior high. It continues through high school
and even into the workplace. It can lead to serious problems and
dangerous situations for both the victim and the bully.
Bullying is repeated and uncalled-for aggressive behavior, or
quite simply, unprovoked meanness. It's a form of intimidation,
which means behavior designed to threaten, frighten, or get someone
to do something they wouldn't necessarily do. Bullies have
learned that bullying works. They do it to feel powerful and in
control. There are things you can do to deal with the situation
without making things worse.
- Bullies keep bullying as long as it works — as long as
it makes them feel more powerful.
- Many children and teens are bullies or victims of bullies,
but the largest number of children and teens are bystanders — witnesses
- Eight percent of urban junior and senior high students miss
one day of school each month because of fear.
- Bullying takes lots of forms: it can be physical or verbal,
mild to severe.
- One in four children who bullies will have a criminal record
before the age of 30.
- Girls can be bullies too, although bullying by girls is more
likely to show up as spreading rumors, leaving people out of social
events, teasing about clothes or boyfriends, or threatening to
withdraw friendship. However, this doesn't mean that girls
don't use physical intimidation to bully.
- Although much bullying happens where adults can't see
or hear it, it also happens when adults are present. Often adults
don't do anything to stop the bullying.
Anyone can be the target of bullying. However, most victims are
often less — or feel less powerful — than the bullies. A
typical victim is likely to be shy, sensitive, and perhaps anxious
or insecure. Some teens are picked on for physical reasons, such
as being overweight or small, wearing different or "weird"
clothing, having a physical disability, or belonging to a different
race or religious faith.
Some bullies are outgoing, aggressive, active, and expressive.
They get their way by brute force or openly harassing someone. They
may carry a weapon. This type of bully rejects rules and regulations
and needs to rebel to achieve a feeling of being better than everyone
The Smooth Talkers
Other bullies are more reserved and tricky and may not want
to be recognized as harassers or tormentors. They try to control
by talking, saying the right thing at the right time, and lying.
This type of bully gets his or her power secretively through manipulation
As different as these two types may seem, all bullies have these
characteristics in common:
- concern with their own pleasure
- want power over others
- willingness to use and abuse other people to get what they
- feel pain inside, perhaps because of their own shortcomings
- find it difficult to see things from someone else's perspective.
If You Are the Victim
No one solution works well in every situation, but there are a
variety of strategies you can try.
- Avoid or ignore the bully.
- Hang out with friends. There is safety in numbers.
- Say no to a bully's demands from the start. If the bully
threatens you with a weapon, give in to the demands and immediately
tell an adult.
- Tell the bully assertively to stop threatening you (for example,
"I don't like what you're doing — stop it!"
or "Get a life — leave me alone.")
- Do not physically fight back: experience shows that this actually
increases the likelihood of continued victimization.
- Seek immediate help from an adult.
- Report bullying to school personnel.
- If your safety is at stake, walk away or run if you need to.
Stop the Bullying
It's everyone's responsibility to stop bullying. And
don't be afraid to get help when necessary. It takes courage,
but you will be preventing the intimidation from continuing and
possibly escalating. You can report the problem to authorities anonymously.
- Refuse to participate in taunting and teasing.
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
- Tell adults if you witness cruelty or hear about violence that
- Walk away from fights.
- Speak out against the bully.
- Stand tall and walk with confidence and in a way that commands
- Hang out with friends who don't get involved in bullying.
- Stand up for others who are being intimidated.
- Include the person who is being bullied in your activities.
- Show compassion for the victim.
- Work with the school administration and get students together
to develop or revise your school's code of conduct.
- Start a bully education program for the local elementary school — consider
a puppet show or skit that teaches kids about bullying.
- Organize a teen panel or discussion group to talk about the
issues of bullying and intimidation at your school.
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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council