School bullying is a type of bullying that occurs in any educational setting. The statistics below demonstrate how severe and widespread the problem of school bullying is in our society.
For an act to be considered bullying, it must meet certain criteria. This includes hostile intent, imbalance of power, repetition, distress, and provocation.
Bullying can have a wide spectrum of effects on a student including anger, depression, stress, and suicide. Additionally, the bully can develop different social disorders or have a higher chance of engaging in criminal activity.
If there is a suspicion that a child is being bullied or is a bully, there are warning signs in their behavior. There are many programs and organizations worldwide which provide bullying prevention services or information on how children can cope if they have been bullied.
Definition of School Bullying
There is no universal definition of school bullying; however, it is widely agreed that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria:
- hostile intent (i.e., the harm caused by bullying is deliberate, not accidental),
- imbalance of power (i.e., bullying includes a real or perceived power inequity between the bully and the victim), and
- repetition over a period of time (i.e., more than once with the potential to occur multiple times).
The following two additional criteria have been proposed to complement the above-mentioned criteria:
- victim distress (victim suffers mild to severe psychological, social, or physical trauma) and
- provocation (bullying is motivated by the perceived benefits of their aggressive behaviors).
Some of these characteristics have been disputed (e.g., for power imbalance: bullies and victims often report that conflicts occur between two equals); nevertheless, they remain widely established in the scientific literature.
School Bullying Statistics
According to the American Psychological Association,
40% to 80% of school-age children experience bullying at some point during their school careers.
Various studies show that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and students with disabilities experience bullying more often than other students. The following statistics help illustrate the severity of school bullying in our society:
- Statistics show that 1 in 3 children are affected by bullying in their lifetime in the U.S. school system, and 30% report being involved in some manner.
- A nationwide survey of bullying in first and second level schools conducted by Trinity College Dublin estimates that some 31% of primary and 16% of secondary students have been bullied at some time.
- In a 1997 study of five Seattle high schools, students recorded their peers’ hallway and classroom conversations. It was discovered that the average high school student hears about 25 anti-gay remarks a day.
- In a study conducted across 32 Dutch elementary schools, 16.2% of the 2,766 participating children reported being bullied regularly (at least several times a month).
- At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada has reported being bullied.
- 47% of Canadian parents report having a child who is a victim of bullying.
- Students who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender are five times as likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation.
- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who did not go to school at least one day during the 30 days preceding the survey due to safety concerns ranged from 11% to 30% for gay and lesbian students and 12% to 25% for bisexual students.
- 61.1% of LGBT middle- or high-school students were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation.
- Higher education students keep silent about the torment because they are expected to handle the issue as an adult, however, it requires a support system.
- According to the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, victims of bullying are more likely to be sexually inactive compared to bullies.
Statistics regarding cyberbullying among school students
- In a Canadian study that surveyed 2,186 students across 33 middle and high schools, 49.5% reported being bullied online in the previous three months. 33.7% of the sample reported being the perpetrator of cyberbullying.
- The most common form of cyberbullying involved receiving threatening or aggressive emails or instant messages, reported by 73% of victims.
- In the United States, a 2013 nationwide survey indicated that 20% of high school students were bullied on school property in the past year, 15% of the students were bullied electronically, and 8% of students ages 12–18 reported ongoing bullying on a weekly basis.
Statistics referencing the prevalence of bullying in school may be inaccurate and tend to fluctuate. In a U.S. study of 5,621 students, ages 12–18, 64% of the students had experienced bullying and did not report it.
According to Tara Kuther, an associate professor of psychology at Western Connecticut State University,
“…bullying gets so much more sophisticated and subtle in high school. It’s more relational. It becomes more difficult for teens to know when to intervene; whereas, with younger kids, bullying is more physical and, therefore, more clear-cut.”
Proactive aggression is a behavior that expects a reward. With bullying, each individual has a role to defend.
Some children act proactively but will show aggression to defend themselves if provoked. These children will react aggressively but tend to never be the ones to attack first.
There have been two subtypes created in bully classification; popular aggressive and unpopular aggressive.
Popular aggressive bullies are social and do not encounter a great deal of social stigma from their aggression. Unpopular aggressive bullies, however, are most often rejected by other students and use aggression to seek attention.
What traits do bullies tend to have, according to studies?
- In a recent national survey, 3,708,284 students reported being a perpetrator of bullying in the U.S. school system.
- Studies have shown bullies actually report more success in making friends than other children.
- Bullying behavior in perpetrators is shown to decrease with age.
- Developmental research suggests bullies are often morally disengaged and use egocentric reasoning strategies.
- Adolescents who experience violence or aggression in the home, or are influenced by negative peer relationships, are more likely to bully. This suggests that positive social relationships reduce the likelihood of bullying.
- The diagnosis of a mental health disorder is strongly associated with being a bully. This trend is most evident in adolescents diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or ADHD.
- Poor theory of mind is associated with bullying.
- 25% of students encourage bullying if not given proper education and information about the consequences of bullying.
- A study by Lisa Garby shows that 60% of bullies in middle school will have at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24.
A survey by NICHD sums it up
In a survey by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), students were asked to complete a questionnaire.
A total of 10.6% of the children replied that they had sometimes bullied other children, a response category defined as moderate bullying. An additional 8.8% said they had bullied others once a week or more, defined as frequent bullying. Similarly, 8.5% said they had been targets of moderate bullying, and 8.4% said they were bullied frequently. Out of all the students, 13% said they had engaged in moderate or frequent bullying of others, while 10.6% said they had been bullied either moderately or frequently. Some students — 6.3% — had both bullied others and been bullied themselves. In all, 29% of the students who responded to the survey had been involved in some aspect of bullying, either as a bully, as the target of bullying or both.
School bullying is real and very dangerous
As you have seen from the above, the phenomenon of school bullying is highly widespread in today’s society. When a child becomes a victim of bullying, it has long-lasting effects on their self-esteem and mental health. In severe cases, it can lead to suicide.
For this reason, we should not ignore this phenomenon. If you are a victim of bullying or know someone who is, don’t hesitate to talk to your parents or teachers. You could, in fact, save someone’s life!
*This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “School bullying”, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0 (view authors).
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