Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Cyberbullyingis the use of electronic communication (cell phone, computer, tablet) to bully a person by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
In 2015, about 21 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year. Of students ages 12–18, about 13 percent reported that they were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12 percent reported being the subject of rumors; 5 percent reported that they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5 percent reported being excluded from activities on purpose. Additionally, 4 percent of students reported being threatened with harm, 3 percent reported that others tried to make them do things they did not want to do, and 2 percent reported that their property was destroyed by others on purpose.
In 2015, a higher percentage of female than of male students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year (23 vs. 19 percent), as well as being the subject of rumors (15 vs. 9 percent). In contrast, a higher percentage of male than of female students reported being threatened with harm (5 vs. 3 percent).
Higher percentages of Black students (25 percent) and White students (22 percent) than of Hispanic students (17 percent) reported being bullied at school in 2015. The percentage of students who reported being made fun of, called names, or insulted was also higher for Black students (17 percent) and White students (14 percent) than for Hispanic students (9 percent). The percentage of students who reported being the subject of rumors was higher for Black students (14 percent), White students (13 percent), and Hispanic students (10 percent) than for Asian students (5 percent).
A higher percentage of students in grade 6 than of students in grades 8 through 12 reported being bullied at school during the school year. In 2015, about 31 percent of 6th-graders reported being bullied at school, compared with 22 percent of 8th-graders, 19 percent of 9th-graders, 21 percent of 10th-graders, 16 percent of 11th-graders, and 15 percent of 12th-graders. In addition, a higher percentage of 7th-graders (25 percent) than of 11th- and 12th-graders reported being bullied at school. The percentage was also higher for 8th- and 10th-graders than for 12th-graders. No measurable differences were observed in the percentage of students who reported being bullied at school by urbanicity or between those in public and private schools.
If you are bullied or see bullying, you may feel pretty helpless. But there are things you can do, and you are not alone! Talk to your parents or guardians, or to other trusted adults, such as a teacher or school nurse.
Some people worry that reporting a bully is tattling. The truth is that talking to an adult is the responsible thing to do. And adults may be able to help without the bully knowing how they learned about the problem.
If you are bullied, remember that the person who bullies is wrong — not you! If you see other kids being bullied, they need your help. And you might also be helping the bully, who may have problems that can be worked through with an adult.
Bullying can affect you in many ways. You may lose sleep or feel sick. You may want to skip school. You may even be thinking about suicide. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).