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Get the Facts About Bullying

Bullying is a serious and growing problem for school-age children. It seems we frequently hear news stories about episodes of school bullying being caught on video or about teens who have been humiliated by peers on the Internet.

But whether bullying is done face-to-face or via online chat rooms and social networking Web sites, children who are bullied can suffer from significant emotional and social issues. Studies show that kids who are repeatedly bullied are considerably more likely than their peers to feel lonely, have low-self esteem, be depressed or anxious and have thoughts of suicide.

What is Bullying?
Bullying is intentional, negative and aggressive behavior that is repeated over time and exists in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power. Bullying may be physical (hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing), verbal (taunting, malicious teasing, name calling, threatening), or psychological (spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, or promoting social exclusion, extortion or intimidation).

What is cyber bullying and what makes it different from traditional bullying?
Cyber bullying refers to electronic bullying through e-mails, instant messaging, cell phones, web pages, blogs, chat rooms, Facebook or other information communication technologies. Roughly one in three teenagers – and nearly half of 15- to 17-year-old girls – say they have been the victim of an online rumor, threatening messages or other forms of bullying via electronic communication.

Unlike traditional bullying:
  • Cyber bullying is not done face-to-face, but rather through technological tools, often leaving the target wondering who the bully is.
  • The accessibility of electronics and Internet allow youth to cyber bully anywhere, including at school or at home, and any time of the day or night.
  • Victims of cyber bullying often do not report their case because of fear that their computer or phone privileges will be taken away by an adult.
  • In the cyber world, bystanders may come across harmful material on a Web site or in a message but will not witness the face-to-face confrontation, therefore, they are unclear about what they should do when they read malicious postings.
How common is bullying?
Most studies show that 15 to 25 percent of American students are bullied with some frequency. The percentage jumps to 40 to 50 percent for cyber bullying.


Illinois Kids First Press Center