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Why Does Bullying Happen? Is It Right?

20-07-2017 · 196. “ Bullying can contribute to students feeling socially isolated, worthless or depressed.”. Bullying happens everywhere, which makes many young people give up their lives. In my opinion, all people are equal and no compare. You can stand up for yourself to stop suicide because bullying. People are equal, but sometimes you can do ...


“Bullying can contribute to students feeling socially isolated, worthless or depressed.” Bullying happens everywhere, which makes many young people give up their lives. In my opinion, all people are equal and no compare.

You can stand up for yourself to stop suicide because bullying. People are equal, but sometimes you can do something other people can't do; this the life we can't control. Also, bullying can stop if we help each other or ask others to help. So stand up and fight for bullying.

Some people say bullying is fun, and others say, what if you got bullied? Why can't bullying be stopped? In this story, Nancy Willard says bullying is because students do not follow the rules in school and the adults do not care.

In my school, bullying does not happen a lot; the rules in my school are helpful. For example, when I get bullied, I will tell my teacher first; they always help me because most of the students listen to the teacher. Also, the students know the policy, so most students follow the policy.

I only disagree about my school's name-calling policy. In my school or in my class, most the students do not care, they always are name calling.Why?

They know is not ok to say that, but some teachers allow them. Why? With ignorance comes fear – from fear comes bigotry. Education is the key to acceptance.” – Kathleen Patel

It’s because the teacher also thought is funny, so teachers and students should follow the policy, not just the students. The other point I disagree with is “racism”. Why?


In the whole world, bullying happens anyways, so people don't have that much reason to answer why, but now bullying is not going to happen again. No matter what is bullying is bad.

Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. It’s a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.” – Zack W. Van

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.



If you don't know what this means, you should just give up now; I don't know why northerners say "you guys." It makes y'all sound ridiculous.

Bless your heart

Please note that this is not a compliment, and is almost always preceded or followed by trash talk; She's pretty, but bless her heart she is dumb as a post.


Also not a compliment, and frequently used to describe as someone who is incredibly vanilla (nice but boring); She seems sweet, but I don't want to invite her because she's kind of lame.


Off kilter, tilted; You need to adjust that picture because it's a little caddywampus.

Roll Tide

A statement in support of the best college football team in America. Also, a celebratory exclamation, greeting, or pretty much anything positive if you're an Alabama fan; You got a new job? Roll Tide!

Fixin' to

'About to' or 'going to' (the lack of g is mandatory); Hurry up, the movie is fixin' to start.

I'm praying for you

Used to indicate either support or disapproval; You're spending the weekend in the woods with no supplies other than a gun and box of matches? I'll be praying for you.

Grocery store feet

When the bottom of your feet are so dirty that they look like you've been walking around the grocery store barefoot; I've got some serious grocery store feet from wearing flip flops all day.


I know you better then anyone else, but here lately you’ve let alcohol take over who you are. Your broken, you don’t know how to heal. It wasn’t till recently you exposed your trauma to.

Your the best father ever, I’m happy I had my babies with you. You take care of us. And I know you love us…..

Dear Alcohol you ruined the person I love.

Dear Alcohol how am I supposed to help him?

Dear Alcohol I wish you didn’t exist.

Dear Alcohol you hurt me to. I don’t even consume you.

Dear Alcohol your ruining my life.

Dear Alcohol your breaking my family.

Dear Alcohol your not our friend.

Dear Alcohol your breaking my heart

Dear Alcohol I blame you

Dear Alcohol I hate you…


I think one of the most prominent reasons that I and many others have been given this label is because we do not attend church every Sunday. As a busy college student working part time, my weekends are very valuable. Most of that time is filled with homework, studying, or writing lesson plans for the kiddos I student teach for. If I have extra time after that, and that’s a big if, it’s probably spent catching up on sleep. A lot of people have began to follow this trend and in this ever changing world, people have found other things to do on the weekends than just go to church. Being religious means faith exists outside of the four walls of the church. Just because I do not always have time to go to church does not make me any less faithful.

Another reason for this ‘bad’ Christian label is because of the struggle with mental health. I, like others, struggle with depression and anxiety. I have been to plenty of churches where they either just don’t acknowledge it or it’s a sin and we’re terrible people. To have someone preach that my chemically imbalanced brain, the way I was made, is a sin is just heartbreaking. They’ll say things like, “you just don’t pray enough” or “you need to go to church more.” First of all, you think I haven’t tried those two things? Second, it is a medical diagnosis that usually needs medication, not more prayer time.

These two reasons for being labeled as a ‘bad’ Christian turn me off from organized religion so much. I am faithful 100 percent to God, but that does not mean I have to be to an organized religion. Go ahead and label me whatever you would like. But as a Christian, is it really in our place to be judgemental and labeling like this?


Over the past three years, you have always been by my side and I could not picture my world without you in it. Whether it was accompanying me in hours of dreaded studying with Starbucks in hand, our many fun nights spent on the strip, the unforgettable road trips, pep talks while I cried over the most pointless things, getting re-baptized, concerts, game days- you did it all with me. You have become one of my greatest blessings. You have taught and inspired me so much just by the way you live your life. Your friendship has pushed me to strive to become the best version of myself possible, to reach for the stars in everything I do, and to never settle for less than I deserve.

I want to thank you for all that you are and all that you have done for me. You have taught me the meaning of true friendship. You have brought me closer to the Lord. You have made my life so much more fun just by being in it. I am so amazed by you and all that you have accomplished over the last 3 years. Although it breaks my heart that you are leaving me and graduating an entire year early, I am so beyond proud of you. However, your graduation is not the end of our story... it's the beginning. Know this Makk, you are going to continue to make such an impact on the lives of others just as you have for me. To know you is to love you girl. I will always be cheering for you. Here's to the many adventures to come!!

Love you more than words,


Nugz <3


What gives?

A Mature Bond

When our world seems threatening and unstable (aka now), men apparently tend to prefer faces that are more "mature"—small eyes, large chins, thin faces. (Think: Sandra Bullock.) This is in line with the Environmental Security Hypothesis.

According to the experts on evolution, "mature" faces have signified power, competence, intelligence, independence, and emotional strength—all good qualities to have during a tanking economy.

It's interesting to note that a similar change in beauty preferences has not been shown to occur when women evaluate male attractiveness. Women tend to prefer men with "mature" features regardless of the state of the economy.

Boom or Bust?

During a recession, men have also been show to prefer less curvy and more "tubular" body shapes. Just think of the most popular American actresses from the Great Depression – Hedy Lamarr and Greta Garbo. They were decidedly less curvy than Marilyn Monroe, who set the standard of beauty during the economic boom of the 1950s.


Again, the answer appears to lie with evolution. Humans are programmed to value survival above everything else. Therefore, when resources are slim, it's less important to value a partner's curves and more important to consider his or her productive value in the relationship. Men may not be inherently attracted to "tubular" women; rather, "tubular" women may have simply had to develop other, highly advantageous qualities.

Dr. Terry F. Pettijohn II, one of the lead researchers, explained:

In boom economic times, men prefer softer, more vulnerable women. When the economy goes bust, those same men prefer stronger-looking gals. In short, we want someone to have fun with when times are good, and we want someone to take care of us – and themselves – when times are bad."

What You Can Do

While it may be encouraging to think that older and heavier women are now gaining status, it's impossible to ignore the fact that no Playmate is exactly overweight, however less curvy she may be.

Still, if there's a take-away message, it's that beauty standards can change as frequently as the economy—and actually, the two might go hand in hand. Instead of focusing on perfecting your body, it might be more worth your while to focus on making yourself more qualified and adaptable. Because when the going gets tough, the tough find people who are…tougher.

Why Does Bullying Happen? Understanding The Person Behind ...

Why does bullying happen? The Summation. When it comes down to it, a person usually becomes a bully because of what has happened to them in the past. In general it has very little to do with the behavior or actions of the victim in question; they were just the unfortunate individual that crossed paths with the bully in question.

Being the victim of bullying is a horrible experience to have in life. It is scary and can cause physical harm, emotional trauma and mental scarring that can last for the rest of a person's life. Unfortunately, however, many people in today's world deal with bullying on a regular basis, whether while growing up or as an adult.

Source: rawpixel.com

That said, while bullying is never okay for any reason, understanding why a person becomes a bully can help with the process of healing and forgiving. This is because a bully almost never becomes a bully just for the fun of hurting others. Often times, the bully themselves have experienced trauma which lead to their abusive behavior. Due to this, answering the questions "why does bullying happen?, is of paramount importance to not only help victims of bullying recover, but to stop it from happening in the first place.

Why does bullying happen? The Beginning.

Very few people are born into this world with the desire to cause others pain just because they can. In fact, bullying is most often the summation of mental and/or physical abuse to a child as they grow.

For example, imagine a child growing up in a home where a parent physically beats them or screams at them for not doing what the parent wants, or if a child grows up in a home where one parent is being physically abused by the other. This child is being exposed to traumatic experiences which will significantly shape the way they think as they grow.

Source: pexels.com

Why does bullying happen? The Emotions.

When a child is exposed to bullying behavior, as mentioned in the examples above, they are significantly more likely to become a bully. The behaviors they were exposed to thought them how to behave as they grew. So if a parent demands respect by physically hitting the child when they say something that upsets them, the child then learns that in order to gain respect they must in turn physically harm others.

Furthermore, bullying could result as a coping mechanism to unrelated childhood pain and trauma, such as being stripped from a parent and placed in the foster care system, losing a loved one, being emotionally abandoned, etc. In these instances the bully may feel small and powerless in their daily lifes and chooses to take back power and control by exercising force over others.

Why does bullying happen? The Summation.

When it comes down to it, a person usually becomes a bully because of what has happened to them in the past. In general it has very little to do with the behavior or actions of the victim in question; they were just the unfortunate individual that crossed paths with the bully in question. Often times the bully themselves will actually end up feeling remorse (usually years down the line), for putting their victims through the suffering that they did.

In short, bullying happens as a response, or a sort of coping mechanism, to events of the past.

Source: rawpixel.com

Having said all of this, if you have been a victim of bullying in the past, it will likely take more than simply understanding where bullying comes from to totally move on. Therefore, considering professional help via a licensed or certified professional therapist is something to take seriously. This person will not only be able to help you learn to cope with your own emotions in a constructive way, they will also be able to help you delve even further into your attacker's mindset, thus allowing the process of healing to truly begin.


Students are bullied for lots of reasons. Sometimes they are bullied because they are different, or because they are clever or popular. It can be caused by differences in race, sexuality, religion,…

Students are bullied for lots of reasons. Sometimes they are bullied because they are different, or because they are clever or popular. It can be caused by differences in race, sexuality, religion, disabilities and abilities, weight, height or anything that creates a difference between one child and another. At other times they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Students who bully sometimes have problems and are unhappy. They may be trying to make up for a lack of attention, power or love in their own lives; by bullying, they try to get these in their own lives. These students need to feel powerful and seem to enjoy harming others. They often do not understand the feelings of the person they bully.

Those who persistently bully often do so in order to dominate others and improve their own social status. Bullying often comes from a belief that it's okay to act that way. Sometimes they don't even know that what they are doing is bullying behaviour, or they don't understand how much hurt and anxiety they cause.

Some common reasons why someone may bully others

  • To gain a sense of power among their classmates.
  • To get attention or become popular.
  • They are scared, so they try to scare others to hide their feelings.
  • They are unhappy and take it out on others.
  • They are being bullied themselves.
  • To get things they want.
  • To copy someone they admire.
  • To make themselves feel better when they are feeling bad about themselves or jealous of someone else.
  • Because they feel that another person is becoming more popular than they are in their group.
  • They hope to use it as a way to make people be their friend.

While bullying can happen to any student, it is know that some are more likely than others to be bullied. Vulnerable groups include students with disabilities or special educational needs, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) students and those perceived to be LGBTI, and students of a culture, race or religion that differs from the main culture, race or religion at the school.


Bullying sometimes involves students commenting on and judging other student's personal attributes and how they are different. These negative comments can relate to:

  • appearance and weight
  • ability or disability
  • gender, sex and sexuality
  • culture, race and religion
  • socio-economic status.

This type of bullying is linked to prejudices that students learn from their family group and their wider social community about the value of diversity in the community.

Fitting in 

There are social norms within groups of students and also the whole school. The school's norms are modelled by the school staff and other adults in the broader community, including parents.

Students who 'stand out' as different from the norms within their peer group are most likely to be bullied. Students can use bullying as a way to enforce group norms about how to appear and behave.

Student group norms and views about which students are of 'greater' social standing come from society's values about power and status. This process happens as children and young people absorb and copy the norms, values and prejudices of their school and their wider community.

People also ask
More FAQs for why bullying happens
  • Why does bullying affect so many people?

    Some children with disabilities have low self-esteem or feel depressed, lonely or anxious because of their disability, and bullying may make this even worse. Bullying can cause serious, lasting problems not only for children who are bullied but also for children who bully and those who witness bullying.

    This section pulls together fundamental information about bullying, including:

    Definition of Bullying

    In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education released the first federal definition of bullying. The definition includes three core elements:

    • unwanted aggressive behavior
    • observed or perceived power imbalance
    • repetition or high likelihood of repetition of bullying behaviors

    This definition helps determine whether an incident is bullying or another type of aggressive behavior or both.

    Research on Bullying

    Bullying prevention is a growing research field that investigates the complexities and consequences of bullying. Important areas for more research include:

    • Prevalence of bullying in schools
    • Prevalence of cyberbullying in online spaces
    • How bullying affects people
    • Risk factors for people who are bullied, people who bully others, or both
    • How to prevent bullying
    • How media and media coverage affects bullying

    What We’ve Learned about Bullying

    • Bullying affects all youth, including those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying. The effects of bullying may continue into adulthood.
    • There is not a single profile of a young person involved in bullying. Youth who bully can be either well connected socially or marginalized, and may be bullied by others as well. Similarly, those who are bullied sometimes bully others.
    • Solutions to bullying are not simple. Bullying prevention approaches that show the most promise confront the problem from many angles. They involve the entire school community—students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff such as bus drivers, nurses, cafeteria and front office staff—in creating a culture of respect. Zero tolerance and expulsion are not effective approaches.
    • Bystanders, or those who see bullying, can make a huge difference when they intervene on behalf of someone being bullied.
    • Studies also have shown that adults can help prevent bullying by talking to children about bullying, encouraging them to do what they love, modeling kindness and respect, and seeking help.

    Bullying Statistics

    Here are federal statistics about bullying in the United States. Data sources include the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) and the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

    How Common Is Bullying

    • About 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide.
    • Students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them:
      • Had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them (56%).
      • Had more social influence (50%).
      • Were physically stronger or larger (40%).
      • Had more money (31%).

    Bullying in Schools

    • Nationwide, 19% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey.
    • The following percentages of students ages 12-18 had experienced bullying in various places at school:
      • Hallway or stairwell (43.4%)
      • Classroom (42.1%)
      • Cafeteria (26.8%)
      • Outside on school grounds (21.9%)
      • Online or text (15.3%)
      • Bathroom or locker room (12.1%)
      • Somewhere else in the school building (2.1%)
    • Approximately 46% of students ages 12-18 who were bullied during the school year notified an adult at school about the bullying.


    • Among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15 % were bullied online or by text.
    • An estimated 14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

    Types of Bullying

    • Students ages 12-18  experienced  various types of bullying, including:
      • Being the subject of rumors or lies (13.4%)
      • Being made fun of, called names, or insulted (13.0%)
      • Pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (5.3%)
      • Leaving out/exclusion (5.2%)
      • Threatened with harm (3.9%)
      • Others tried to make them do things they did not want to do (1.9%)
      • Property was destroyed on purpose (1.4%)

    State and Local Statistics

    Follow these links for state and local figures on the following topics:

    • Bullied on School Property, Grades 9-12
    • Cyberbullied, Grades 9-12

    International Statistics

    According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics:

    • One third of the globe’s youth is bullied; this ranges from as low as 7% in Tajikistan to 74% in Samoa.
    • Low socioeconomic status is a main factor in youth bullying within wealthy countries.
    • Immigrant-born youth in wealthy countries are more likely to be bullied than locally-born youth.

    Bullying and Suicide

    The relationship between bullying and suicide is complex. The media should avoid oversimplifying these issues and insinuating or directly stating that bullying can cause suicide. The facts tell a different story. It is not accurate and potentially dangerous to present bullying as the “cause” or “reason” for a suicide, or to suggest that suicide is a natural response to bullying.

    • Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior.
    • The vast majority of young people who are bullied do not become suicidal.
    • Most young people who die by suicide have multiple risk factors.
    • For more information on the relationship between bullying and suicide, read “The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools” from the CDC.

    Anti-Bullying Laws

    All states have anti-bullying legislation. When bullying is also harassment and happens in the school context, schools have a legal obligation to respond to it according to federal laws.

    Bullying Harms Victims and Perpetrators of All Ages
  • What are the most common reasons for bullying?

    The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation. ( National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019) The federal government began collecting data on school bullying in 2005, when the prevalence of bullying was around 28 percent.

    A comprehensive overview of current bullying prevention research conducted by government and higher education agencies.

    Rates of Incidence

    • One out of every five (20.2%) students report being bullied. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019 )
    • A higher percentage of male than of female students report being physically bullied (6% vs. 4%), whereas a higher percentage of female than of male students reported being the subjects of rumors (18% vs. 9%) and being excluded from activities on purpose (7% vs. 4%). (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • 41% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they think the bullying would happen again. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019 )
    • Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 13% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • A slightly higher portion of female than of male students report being bullied at school (24% vs. 17%). (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • Bullied students reported that bullying occurred in the following places: the hallway or stairwell at school (43%), inside the classroom (42%), in the cafeteria (27%), outside on school grounds (22%), online or by text (15%), in the bathroom or locker room (12%), and on the school bus (8%). (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • 46% of bullied students report notifying an adult at school about the incident. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%. (McCallion & Feder, 2013)
    • The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • The federal government began collecting data on school bullying in 2005, when the prevalence of bullying was around 28 percent. (U.S. Department of Education, 2015 )
    • Rates of bullying vary across studies (from 9% to 98%). A meta-analysis of 80 studies analyzing bullying involvement rates (for both bullying others and being bullied) for 12-18 year old students reported a mean prevalence rate of 35% for traditional bullying involvement and 15% for cyberbullying involvement. (Modecki, Minchin, Harbaugh, Guerra, & Runions, 2014 )
    • One in five (20.9%) tweens (9 to 12 years old) has been cyberbullied, cyberbullied others, or seen cyberbullying. (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020)
    • 49.8% of tweens (9 to 12 years old) said they experienced bullying at school and 14.5% of tweens shared they experienced bullying online. (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020)
    • 13% of tweens (9 to 12 years old) reported experiencing bullying at school and online, while only 1% reported being bullied solely online. (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020)

    Effects of Bullying

    • Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. (Centers for Disease Control, 2019)
    • Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied. (Centers for Disease Control, 2019)
    • Bullied students indicate that bullying has a negative effect on how they feel about themselves (27%), their relationships with friends and family (19%), their school work (19%), and physical health (14%). (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches. (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013 )
    • Youth who self-blame and conclude they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, prolonged victimization, and maladjustment. (Perren, Ettakal, & Ladd, 2013 )
    • Tweens who were cyberbullied shared that it negatively impacted their feelings about themselves (69.1%), their friendships (31.9%), their physical health (13.1%), and their schoolwork (6.5%). (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020).


    • Among students ages 12 – 18 who reported being bullied at school, 15% were bullied online or by text (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • Reports of cyberbullying are highest among middle school students, followed by high school students, and then primary school students (Centers for Disease Control, 2019)
    • The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetimes have more than doubled (18% to 37%) from 2007-2019 (Patchin & Hinduia, 2019 )
    • When students were asked about the specific types of cyberbullying they had experienced, mean and hurtful comments (25%) and rumors spread online (22%) were the most commonly-cited (Patchin et al., 2019 )
    • The type of cyberbullying tends to differ by gender. Girls were more likely to say someone spread rumors about them online while boys were more likely to say that someone threatened to hurt them online (Patchin et al., 2019 )
    • Those who are cyberbullied are also likely to be bullied offline (Hamm, Newton, & Chisholm, 2015 )
    • One in five tweens (20.9%) has been cyberbullied, cyberbullied others, or seen cyberbullying
    • 49.8% of tweens said they experienced bullying at school and 14.5% of tweens shared they experienced bullying online
    • 13% of tweens reported experiencing bullying at school and online, while only 1% reported being bullied solely online
    • Nine out of ten tweens use social media or gaming apps (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020)
    • Tweens shared they were engaging on the following sites, apps, or games: YouTube, Minecraft, Roblox, Google Classroom, Fortnite, TikTok, YouTube Kids, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger Kids, Instagram, Discord, Facebook, and Twitch
    • Tweens who were cyberbullied shared that it negatively impacted their feelings about themselves (69.1%), their friendships (31.9%), their physical health (13.1%), and their schoolwork (6.5%)
    • Tweens reported using a variety of strategies to stop the bullying including blocking the person bullying them (60.2%), telling a parent (50.8%), ignoring the person (42.8%), reporting it to the website or app (29.8%), and taking a break from the device (29.6%)
    • Two-thirds of tweens are willing to step in to defend, support, or assist those being bullied at school and online when they see it
    • Barriers to helping when tweens witness bullying at school or online included being afraid of making things worse, not knowing what to do or say, not knowing how to report it online, being afraid others kids will make fun of them, being afraid to get hurt, and not knowing who to tell

    SOURCE: Patchin, J.W., & Hinduja, S. (2020). Tween Cyberbullying in 2020. Cyberbullying Research Center and Cartoon Network. Retrieved from: https://i.cartoonnetwork.com/stop-bullying/pdfs/CN_Stop_Bullying_Cyber_Bullying_Report_9.30.20.pdf.

    Bullying of Students with Disabilities

    • Students with specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavior disorders, other health impairments, and speech or language impairments report greater rates of victimization than their peers without disabilities longitudinally and their victimization remains consistent over time (Rose & Gage, 2016 )
    • When assessing specific types of disabilities, prevalence rates differ: 35.3% of students with behavioral and emotional disorders, 33.9% of students with autism, 24.3% of students with intellectual disabilities, 20.8% of students with health impairments, and 19% of students with specific learning disabilities face high levels of bullying victimization (Rose & Espelage, 2012 )
    • Researchers discovered that students with disabilities were more worried about school safety and being injured or harassed by other peers compared to students without a disability (Saylor & Leach, 2009 )
    • When reporting bullying youth in special education were told not to tattle almost twice as often as youth not in special education (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • Successful strategies to prevent bullying among students with disabilities include (Rose & Monda-Amaya, 2012):
      • Teachers and peers engaging in meaningful and appropriate social interactions
      • Creating opportunities to increase social competence and positive interactions
      • Schools adopting appropriate intervention strategies that encourage social awareness and provide individualized interventions for targets with disabilities

    Bullying of Students of Color

    • 23% of African-American students, 23% of Caucasian students, 16% of Hispanic students, and 7% of Asian students report being bullied at school (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019)
    • More than one third of adolescents reporting bullying report bias-based school bullying (Russell, Sinclair, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012 )
    • Bias-based bullying is more strongly associated with compromised health than general bullying (Russell et al., 2012 )
    • Race-related bullying is significantly associated with negative emotional and physical health effects (Rosenthal et al, 2013 )

    Bullying of Students Who Identify or Are Perceived as LGBTQ

    • 70.1% of LGBTQ students were verbally bullied (e.g., called names, threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 59.1% because of their gender expression, and 53.2% based on gender (Kosciw, Greytak, Zongrone, Clark, & Truong, 2018)
    • 28.9% of LGBTQ students were physically bullied (e.g., pushed, shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 24.4% because of their gender expression, and 22.8% based on gender (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • 48.7% of LGBTQ students experienced cyberbullying in the past year (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • 59.5% of LGBTQ students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, 44.6% because of their gender expression, and 35% because of their gender (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • 34.8% of LGBTQ students missed at least one entire day at school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, and 10.5% missed four or more days in the past month (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • Of the LGBTQ students who reported they were considering dropping out of school, 42.2% indicated they were doing so because of the harassment they faced at school (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • Compared to LGBTQ students with no supportive school staff, students with many (11 or more) supportive staff at school were less likely to miss school because they felt unsafe (20.1% to 48.8%) and felt greater belonging to their school community (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • LGBTQ students experienced a safe, more positive school environment when their school had a bullying prevention / anti-harassment policy that specifically included protections on sexual orientation and gender identity / expression (Kosciw et al., 2018)
    • Peer victimization of all youth was less likely to occur in schools with bullying policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ students (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2013 )

    Bullying and Suicide

    • There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression, violent behavior, and substance abuse (Reed, Nugent, & Cooper, 2015 )
    • Students who report frequently bullying others and students who report being frequently bullied are at increased risk for suicide-related behavior (Centers for Disease Control, 2014)
    • A meta-analysis found that students facing peer victimization are 2.2 times more likely to have suicide ideation and 2.6 times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing victimization (Gini & Espelage, 2014 )
    • Students who are both bullied and engage in bullying behavior are the highest risk group for adverse outcomes (Espelage & Holt, 2013)
    • The false notion that suicide is a natural response to being bullied has the dangerous potential to normalize the response and thus create copycat behavior among youth (Centers for Disease Control, 2014).


    • Bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bullying youth (fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, etc.) were rated as more likely to make things worse (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are: tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • As reported by students who have been bullied, the self-actions that had some of the most negative impacts (telling the person to stop/how I feel, walking away, pretending it doesn’t bother me) are often used by youth and often recommended to youth (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • Tweens reported using a variety of strategies to stop the bullying including blocking the person bullying them (60.2%), telling a parent (50.8%), ignoring the person (42.8%), reporting it to the website or app (29.8%), and taking a break from the device (29.6%) (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020).


    • Students need not be the targets of bullying to experience negative outcomes. Observing bullying is associated with adverse mental health outcomes (Rivers, Poteat, Noret, & Ashurst, 2009 )
    • Bystanders’ beliefs in their social self-efficacy were positively associated with defending behavior and negatively associated with passive behavior from bystanders – i.e. if students believe they can make a difference, they’re more likely to act (Thornberg et al., 2012 )
    • Students who experience bullying report that allying and supportive actions from their peers (such as spending time with the student, talking to him/her, helping him/her get away, or giving advice) were the most helpful actions from bystanders (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • Students who experience bullying are more likely to find peer actions helpful than educator or self-actions (Davis & Nixon, 2010)
    • The Youth Voice Research Project (2010) found that victimized students reported the following bystander strategies that made things better: spent time with me (54%), talked to me (51%), helped me get away (49%), called me (47%), gave me advice (46%), helped me tell (44%), distracted me (43%), listened to me  (41%), told an adult (35%), confronted them (29%), asked them to stop
    • Even students who have observed but not participated in bullying behavior report significantly more feelings of helplessness and less sense of connectedness and support from responsible adults than students who have not witnessed bullying behavior (Centers for Disease Control, 2014)
    • Two-thirds of tweens are willing to step in to defend, support, or assist those being bullied at school and online when they see it (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020).
    • Barriers to helping when tweens witness bullying at school or online included being afraid of making things worse, not knowing what to do or say, not knowing how to report it online, being afraid others kids will make fun of them, being afraid to get hurt, and not knowing who to tell (Patchin & Hinduja, 2020).


    Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2019). Preventing bullying. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv/bullying-factsheet508.pdf.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2014). The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What we Know and What it Means for Schools. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying-suicide-translation-final-a.pdf.

    Davis, S., & Nixon, C. (2010). The youth voice research project: Victimization and strategies. Retrieved from: http://njbullying.org/documents/YVPMarch2010.pdf.

    Espelage, D. L., & Holt, M. K. (2013). Suicidal ideation and school bullying experiences after controlling for depression and delinquency. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53. Retrieved from http://www.ncdsv.org/images/JAH_Suicidal-ideation-and-school-bullying_7-2013.pdf.

    Gini, G., & Espelage, D. D. (2014) Peer victimization, cyberbullying, and suicide risk in children and adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics, 312, 545-546. Retrieved from http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/1892227 .

    Gini, G., & Pozzoli, T. (2013). Bullied children and psychosomatic problems: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics. Retrieved from pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/09/11/peds.2013-0614 .

    Hamm, M. P., Newton, A. S., & Chisholm, A. (2015). Prevalence and effect of cyberbullying on children and young people: A scoping review of social media students. JAMA Pediatrics, 169, 770-777. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26098362

    Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Keyes, K. M. (2013). Inclusive anti-bullying policies and reduced risk of suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53, 21-26. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3696185/?tool=pmcentrez .

    Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Zongrone, A. D., Clark, C. M., & Truong, N. L. (2018). The 2017 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN. Retrieved from https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/GLSEN-2017-National-School-Climate-Survey-NSCS-Full-Report.pdf.

    McCallion, G., & Feder, J. (2013). Student bullying: Overview of research, federal initiatives, and legal issues. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43254.pdf.

    Modecki, K. L., Minchin, J., Harbaugh, A. G., Guerra, N. G., & Runions, K. C. (2014). Bullying prevalence across contexts: A meta-analysis measuring cyber and traditional bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55, 602-611. Retrieved from http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(14)00254-7/abstract .

    National Center for Educational Statistics. (2019). Student reports of bullying: Results from the 2017 School Crime Supplement to the National Victimization Survey. US Department of Education. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2015056 .

    Patchin, J. W., & Hinduja, S. (2019). 2019 Cyberbullying Data. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from https://cyberbullying.org/2019-cyberbullying-data .

    Patchin, J.W., & Hinduja, S. (2020). Tween Cyberbullying in 2020. Cyberbullying Research Center and Cartoon Network. Retrieved from: https://i.cartoonnetwork.com/stop-bullying/pdfs/CN_Stop_Bullying_Cyber_Bullying_Report_9.30.20.pdf.

    Perren, S., Ettekal, I., & Ladd, G. (2013). The impact of peer victimization on later maladjustment: Mediating and moderating effects of hostile and self-blaming attributions. Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54, 46-55. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3527635/ .

    Reed, K. P., Nugent, W., & Cooper, R. L. (2015). Testing a path model of relationships between gender, age, and bullying victimization and violent behavior, substance abuse, depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts in adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 55, 125-137. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740915001656 .

    Rivers, I., Poteat, V. P., Noret, N., & Ashurst, N. (2009). Observing bullying at school: The mental health implications of witness status. School Psychology Quarterly, 24, 211–223. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ866091 .

    Rose, C. A., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). Risk and protective factors associated with the bullying involvement of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 37, 133–148. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ989490

    Rose, C. A., & Gage, N. A. (2016). Exploring the involvement of bullying among students with disabilities over time. Exceptional Children, 83, 298-314. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0014402916667587 .

    Rose, C. A., & Monda-Amaya, L. E. (2012). Bullying and victimization among students with disabilities: Effective strategies for classroom teachers. Intervention in School and Clinic, 48, 99-107. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.ezp3.lib.umn.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/1053451211430119 .

    Rosenthal, L., Earnshaw, V. A., Carroll-Scott, A., Henderson, K. E., Peters, S. M., McCaslin, C., & Ickovics, J. R. (2013). Weight- and race-based bullying: Health associations among urban adolescents. Journal of Health Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24155192 .

    Russell, S. T., Sinclair, K., Poteat, P., & Koenig, B. (2012). Adolescent health and harassment based on discriminatory bias. American Journal of Public Health, 102(3), 493-495. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22390513 .

    Saylor, C.F. & Leach, J.B. (2009) Perceived bullying and social support students accessing special inclusion programming. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 21, 69-80. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-008-9126-4 .

    Thornberg, T., Tenenbaum, L., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., Jungert, T., & Vanegas, G. (2012). Bystander motivation in bullying incidents: To intervene or not to intervene? Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 8(3), 247-252. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415829/ .

    U.S. Department of Education, (2015). New data show a decline in school-based bullying. Retrieved from https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/new-data-show-decline-school-based-bullying .

    Updated: November, 2020

    The Top Reasons Why People Bully
  • What are the main causes of bullying?

    One of the causes of bullying is poor parental supervision. In families where a child is allowed to do whatever he or she pleases, the child does not learn adequate self-control. The lack of consequences for bad behavior empowers the child to dominate others in the home and at school.
    Bullying may be the result of feelings of jealousy.

    Bullying happens for many reasons. The bully generally lacks empathy for his or her victims. Some children learn bullying in homes where there is poor parental supervision and where aggression is used to engender obedience. Feelings of inadequacy and jealousy are also among the causes of bullying. In some cases, bullying accompanies prejudicial attitudes toward the victim’s race, culture, social standing or sexual orientation.

    Parents engaging in aggressive behavior may pass it down to their children.

    Bullying is more common among individuals who lack compassion and empathy. While this may be due to an individual weakness, it is often a result of parental modeling wherein belittling others is considered appropriate behavior. Ideal breeding grounds for bullying behavior are family environments and other situations that model and encourage achieving goals at the expense of other people’s feelings.

    A bully's need to intimidate is evidence of lack of self-worth.

    One of the causes of bullying is poor parental supervision. In families where a child is allowed to do whatever he or she pleases, the child does not learn adequate self-control. The lack of consequences for bad behavior empowers the child to dominate others in the home and at school. In some cases, parents do not set clear limits for children because they themselves were abused as children and view disciplinary tactics as a form of abuse.

    Bullies sometimes spread false rumors about their intended targets.

    On the other hand, aggressive behavior on the part of parents is one of the major causes of bullying. When children observe their parents using aggression to gain control over their family members and neighbors, they adopt this behavior. In these cases, it is difficult for school personnel to address bullying in the school environment because parental cooperation is needed to change the child’s behavior.

    Children who feel neglected at home may lash out at others.

    Some individuals bully others out of jealousy or feelings of inadequacy. They might resent the attention that another person is receiving from the teacher or the boss for a particular achievement. Bullying in this case might include spreading rumors about the targeted individual, calling him or her names or belittling the achievement. These behaviors are usually intended to reduce the popularity of the victim and bolster the bully’s social standing.

    Bullies often are facing their own emotional issues.

    The causes of bullying also include prejudicial attitudes toward individuals and groups. A homophobic individual might bully a gay classmate by mocking or physically harming him, for example. Likewise, a particular racial group might bully a group of a different racial background due to beliefs about the group’s inherent inferiority. In all cases, it is believed that bullying is not an inherited trait, but rather a set of behaviors that can be curbed through increasing self-awareness, developing compassion, and learning anger management and conflict resolution techniques.

    What are the Causes of Bullying? (with pictures)
  • Why has bullying become so widespread?

    The reasons that children bully one another are widespread and can be due to learned behaviors from parents, violence in the home, anger management issues, and emotional or mental problems that have yet to be treated.
    Why is workplace bullying so widespread and rising?
Why does bullying happen? Who is at risk of being bullied ...

31-10-2018 · This begs a few questions: Why does this happen? Why do bullies bully and who is at risk of becoming a bully’s victim? Why Do Bullies Bully? First thing’s first: why does bullying happen in the first place? Why do people decide to bully people, like we see above with Jonathan? It ultimately comes down to several factors. One being the ...

  • Every single day, people are bullied by their peers: in school, at work, and elsewhere.
  • An important question to ask when it comes to bullying is why: why do bullies bully? A few factors are involved, including whether or not actions are taken by a community to prevent bullying.
  • Additionally, sometimes bullies are created at home: if they’re abused by a family member in their household, they might model that same behavior and mistreat others.
  • Anybody can fall victim to bullying, but some individuals are especially vulnerable: those who are different from their peers such as those who look or act different.
  • Bullying is never okay as it is extremely harmful; those who get bullied are more likely to experience mental health issues like depression and/or anxiety.

Jonathan is excited about his family’s recent move to a new town. He had a big falling out with his friends back home and saw this as an opportunity to start anew—to make some new friends and build his reputation from scratch. But quickly, that excitement turns into sadness and anxiety. His first day at his new school doesn’t quite go as planned. Instead of meeting some cool new people, he’s taunted and teased by his new classmates. They laugh during his introduction in first period, isolate him at lunch, and throw things at him on the bus.

Unfortunately, people (like Jonathan) are bullied every single day. They’re teased, mocked, harassed, manipulated… and ultimately torn down mentally and emotionally. This begs a few questions: Why does this happen? Why do bullies bully and who is at risk of becoming a bully’s victim?

Why Do Bullies Bully?

First thing’s first: why does bullying happen in the first place? Why do people decide to bully people, like we see above with Jonathan? It ultimately comes down to several factors. One being the attitude and the actions of the community. If the community doesn’t take steps to denounce bullying and stop bullying behavior, then that tells its members that bullying is okay. “Bullying happens most often when the culture of a school or workplace encourages it. If a community doesn’t promote bullying but also doesn’t do anything to stop it, it still sends a message that harassment is acceptable,” explains Dr. Sal Raichbach, a licensed clinical social worker at Ambrosia Treatment Center. “In this type of environment, people who wouldn’t normally bully will join in out of fear or a desire to fit in. When standing up for someone could compromise an individual’s social status or popularity, people are much more likely to engage in abusive behaviors.”

In other instances, bullies are created in the household. They’re kids who are (or were) mistreated at home, who now model the same abusive behavior or simply act out for attention. “In some cases, emotional turmoil causes an aggressor to bully others. This is common in cases of child abuse. When a child is exposed to violence in the household, it shapes the way they see the world and their place in it,” Dr. Sal explains. “If they are a victim at home, they might act out at school for the attention they aren’t getting at home. Similarly, they might have the desire to feel powerful and in control because they have no control over their lives at home. Usually, the desire to make someone feel inferior stems from the aggressor’s insecurities.”

How Do Bullies Choose Their Victims?

Anybody can fall victim to bullying. In fact, most of us are bullied at some point in our lives. Whether we’re made fun of by our peers in grade school or we’re harassed by our coworkers at our job. That said, there are individuals especially vulnerable to bullying: those who are different in some way, shape, or form. In Jonathan’s case, he was different in that he was the new kid. “Generally, individuals who are most vulnerable to bullying are the ones who stand out among their peers and don’t have a lot of friends,” Dr. Sal explains. “It could be because they look different, are new to the school, or struggle with social anxiety. When someone is different, they stick out to potential bullies as a target. Not only are they easy to single out, but they don’t have a lot of people to defend them.”

In any which case, bullying is never okay. Those who are bullied can go on to experience negative mental health issues. These include but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • PTSD
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation

Additionally, victims of bullying can also suffer in other areas of life like school; these students are more likely to miss or skip school, perform poorly on tests, and slack off on their schoolwork. All in all, bullying is incredibly harmful to all of those involved, from the victims to the perpetrators to the witnesses. For this reason, we all need to do our part to raise awareness for and aid in the prevention of bullying.

Tagged With: anxiety bully Bullying depression family mental health

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07-07-2015 · Why do people bully? Adults bully young people. Young people bully adults and each other. Why do people bully? There are many types of bullying, this article helps define what bullying is, the causes…


Why do people bully? Adults bully young people. Young people bully adults and each other. Why do people bully? There are many types of bullying, this article helps define what bullying is, the causes of bullying, reports and statistics on bullying.

What Is Bullying?

Before we can discuss why people bully, need to have a clear understanding of what bullying is. Some consider bullying to be purposeful attempts to control another person through verbal abuse – which can be in tone of voice or in content such as teasing or threats – exclusion, or physical bullying or violence, which the victim does not want. While some ties the feature of “peer abuse” and “repeated activity” into the definition of bullying, others acknowledge single instances and age difference in their definitions of bullying. Bullying occurs in schools, workplaces, in homes, on playgrounds, in the military, and in nursing homes, for example. In the article “Uncovering the hidden causes of bullying and school violence” published in Counseling and Human Development in February, 2000, Barry K. Weinhold states that bullying is the most common type of violence in contemporary US society. Although a form of harassment, bullying is considered to be a separate category from sexual harassment.

Why Do People Bully?

There are a variety of reasons why people bully.

Cultural Causes of Bullying In a culture that is fascinated with winning, power, and violence, some experts suggest that it is unrealistic to expect that people will not be influenced to seek power through violence in their own lives. Researchers point to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as glorification of bullies in the name of entertainment and point out that the high rate of domestic violence means that many young people grow up expecting that violence is an acceptable way to get what one wants.

Institutional Causes If the institution at which the bullying takes place – whether the home, the school, or the workplace – does not have high standards for the way people treat each other, then bullying may be more likely and/or prevalent and have an influence on why people bully.

Social Issues The fact that one gets more social recognition for negative behaviors than for positive ones can also contribute to reasons why people bully. Situation comedies and reality television, as well as real life situations in schools, for example, show that acting out is more likely to get noticed than behaving oneself civilly and courteously. Jealousy or envy and a lack of personal and social skills to deal with such feelings can also be reasons why people bully.

Family Issues Families that are not warm and loving and in which feelings are not shared are more likely to have children who bully, either within the family home or in other locations in which the children meet others. Another home environment that is prone to producing bullies is one in which discipline and monitoring are inconsistent and/or a punitive atmosphere exists.

The Bully’s Personal History Children who experience social rejection themselves are more likely to “pass it on” to others. Children who experience academic failure are also more likely to bully others.

Having Power Some research indicates that the very fact of having power may make some people wish to wield it in a noticeable way, but it is also true that people may be given power without being trained in the leadership skills that will help them wield it wisely. Either situation can contribute to why people bully others.

Provocative Victims People who are annoying and condescending to others and/or aggressive verbally, or in other ways that are not picked up by those in authority, may contribute to the dynamic that can be characterized as bullying by one individual but actually grows out of provocation by another individual.

Unreliable Reports

According to StÃ¥le Einarsen of the University of Bergen in Norway in “The nature and causes of bullying at work,” because most reports of bullying come from a victim, in cases in which there is a provocative victim or the so-called bullying stems from a dispute between the parties or other pre-existing interpersonal conflict, outside evidence should be gathered before it is concluded that bullying has taken place.

So, why do people bully? There are many reasons.  But, one thing is clear regardless of why people bully, any type of bullying needs to come to an end.


findarticles.com ag.ndsu.edu


Effects of Bullying

24-09-2019 · Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood. Health complaints. Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation.


Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying—or something else—is a concern.

Kids Who are Bullied

Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.

Kids Who Bully Others

Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:

  • Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults
  • Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults 
  • Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults


Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:

  • Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Miss or skip school

The Relationship between Bullying and Suicide

Media reports often link bullying with suicide. However, most youth who are bullied do not have thoughts of suicide or engage in suicidal behaviors. 

Although kids who are bullied are at risk of suicide, bullying alone is not the cause. Many issues contribute to suicide risk, including depression, problems at home, and trauma history. Additionally, specific groups have an increased risk of suicide, including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. This risk can be increased further when these kids are not supported by parents, peers, and schools. Bullying can make an unsupportive situation worse.

Why do People Bully? The Scientific Reasons

15-11-2020 · We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you. The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally.


According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people have experienced bullying in some form in the last 12-months. And trust us when we say, we know how difficult it can be to go through it, especially if you don’t fully understand the psychology of bullying.

In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why people bully, using the latest research and psychology to give you a greater understanding of the motives of those who are either bullying you right now or who have done so in the past.

You may have assumed that you get bullied for whatever makes you different or unique, for example: your race, religion, culture, sexual or gender identity, line of work, fashion sense or weight. By the end of this article, you will know that this is not the case at all.

If you want to talk about it – join our community today to start a conversation about bullying and speak to our amazing digital mentors who can help you anonymously without judgement.

The Psychology of Being Bullied

We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you.

The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally.

What happens is, we, as the people experiencing bullying, start to internalise it and we become self-critical. We want to understand the reasons why we are being targeted and we start to blame ourselves.

As a result, we try to change or mask that unique characteristic in order to avoid the bullying. We dye our hair, bleach our skin, date people we aren’t interested in and cover up our bodies like they are something to be ashamed of.

It starts to affect our behaviour and the ways in which we see ourselves, which in turn, can go on to impact both our mental and physical health.

The way we see bullying is all wrong. It isn’t because we are different in some way.

person, standing, edge, of, shoreline, water. fog. hills

The Real Reasons Why People Bully Others

In a recent Ditch the Label study, we spoke to 7,347 people about bullying. We asked respondents to define bullying and then later asked if, based on their own definition, they had ever bullied anybody. 14% of our overall sample, so that’s 1,239 people, said yes. What we then did was something that had never been done on this scale before; we asked them intimate questions about their lives, exploring things like stress and trauma, home lives, relationships and how they feel about themselves.

In fact, we asked all 7,347 respondents the same questions and then compared the answers from those who had never bullied, those who had bullied at least once and those who bully others daily. This then gave us very strong, scientific and factual data to identify the real reasons why people bully others.

It also scientifically proves that the reason people get bullied is never, contrary to popular belief, because of the unique characteristics of the person experiencing the bullying. So, why do people bully?

Stress and Trauma:

Our data shows that those who bully are far more likely than average to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the past 5 years. Examples include their parents/guardians splitting up, the death of a relative or the gaining of a little brother or sister.

It makes sense because we all respond to stress in very different ways. Some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress.

Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and alcohol abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term.

The research shows that some people simply do not know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.

Aggressive Behaviours:

66% of the people who had admitted to bullying somebody else were male. Take a minute to think about how guys are raised in our culture and compare that to the ways in which girls are raised. The moment a guy starts to show any sign of emotion, he’s told to man up and to stop being a girl.

For girls, it’s encouraged that they speak up about issues that affect them.

For guys, it’s discouraged and so they start to respond with aggressive behaviours, such as bullying, as a way of coping with issues that affect them. This is why guys are more likely than girls to physically attack somebody or to commit crimes. It isn’t something they are born with, it’s a learned behaviour that is actively taught by society using dysfunctional gender norms and roles.

Low Self-Esteem:

In order to mask how they actually feel about themselves, some people who bully focus attention on someone else. They try to avoid any negative attention directed at them by deflecting. But know they might look in the mirror at home and hate the way they look.

There is so much pressure to live up to beauty and fitness standards that we are taught to compare ourselves to others, instead of embracing our own beauty.

They’ve Been Bullied:

Our research shows that those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others. Maybe they were bullied as kids in the past, or maybe they are being bullied now.

Often it’s used as a defence mechanism and people tend to believe that by bullying others, they will become immune to being bullied themselves. In fact, it just becomes a vicious cycle of negative behaviours.

Difficult Home Life:

1 in 3 of those who bully people daily told us that they feel like their parents/guardians don’t have enough time to spend with them. They are more likely to come from larger families and are more likely to live with people other than their biological parents.

There are often feelings of rejection from the very people who should love them unconditionally. They are also much more likely to come from violent households with lots of arguments and hostility.

Low Access to Education:

Without access to education, hate-based conversation directed at others may be the norm. They may not understand what hate speech is and why speaking about people in a derogatory way is not appropriate.


Finally, those who bully are more likely to feel like their friendships and family relationships aren’t very secure. In order to keep friendships, they might be pressured by their peers to behave in a certain way.

They are more likely to feel like those who are closest to them make them do things that they don’t feel comfortable doing and aren’t very supportive or loving.

man in cap standing in front of a wall featuring art

So there you have it, some of the most common reasons why people bully others.

If you are being bullied, it’s time to put the knowledge to the test. Carry on reading with our article on overcoming bullying. If you are doing the bullying, here are 7 things that you can do to overcome it.

If you are looking for more help – our community is a safe space to discuss your issues and get support from trained digital mentors who will help you without judgement.

Why bullying happens in health care and how to stop it ...

Why bullying happens in health care and how to stop it. Apr 2, 2021 Brendan Murphy Senior News Writer. Print Page. Poor staffing levels, excessive workloads, subpar management skills, stress and lack of autonomy are some of the factors that contribute to bullying in the workplace—including in medicine—according to a recent AMA report on the ...

Poor staffing levels, excessive workloads, subpar management skills, stress and lack of autonomy are some of the factors that contribute to bullying in the workplace—including in medicine—according to a recent AMA report on the problem that pervades health care and how to stop it.

AMA policy defines workplace bullying as “repeated, emotionally or physically abusive, disrespectful, disruptive, inappropriate, insulting, intimidating or threatening behavior targeted at a specific individual or a group of individuals that manifests from a real or perceived power imbalance and is often, but not always, intended to control, embarrass, undermine, threaten or otherwise harm the target. Individual, organizational and health system factors may contribute to the overall workplace climate or culture that allows unprofessional behavior, such as bullying, to persist.”

Bullying behaviors are common across workplaces. A report from the Joint Commission indicates that bullying in the health care workplace is more common than sexual harassment and is initiated by both men and women.

The hierarchical nature of health care has made it a field that is susceptible to workplace bullying.

“Bullying and mistreatment of students and residents are commonplace,” said Audiey C. Kao, MD, PhD, vice president of ethics standards at the AMA. “Few of us have gone through medical education and training who have not either witnessed or been the subject of bullying by individuals in greater power and authority. It’s something that was long overlooked, but it is harmful to the learning environment and needs to be eradicated.”

As Dr. Kao highlighted, bullying can be particularly common toward physician trainees. A 14-minute module from the AMA takes a point-by-point approach to explaining intimidation and mistreatment in training, and offers step-by-step advice on how to deal with it.

“Resident Intimidation” is one of the AMA GME Competency Education Program offerings, which include dozens of courses that residents can access online, on their own schedule. The modules are available to residency institutions that have subscribed to the AMA’s program.

The reasons to address and eliminate bullying are multifold, chief among them: Bullying behaviors among workers can adversely affect patient care, according to the report.

“Patient care is delivered not by a single individual but by a team of individuals,” Dr. Kao said. “If you work in a health care environment where bullying is prevalent or even accepted or not dealt with, you’ll create an unhealthy team dynamic ... where individuals are hesitant to raise patient care issues over concerns that they will not be taken seriously because they have been bullied in the past.”

Addressing workplace bullying can and must be done at an organizational level, the AMA report says. That means implementing or improving anti-bullying policies that show management’s commitment to a safe and healthy workplace. It also means creating an environment in which all workers feel comfortable speaking up, Dr. Kao said.

“When you witness bullying, silence and avoidance is never an effective strategy,” he said.

The AMA’s report details advice on an effective workplace policy on bullying and tactics to improve organizational culture.

In addition, the report says, there are two key steps for management to take:

  • Make the administration aware that unprofessional behavior is a threat. If the team doesn’t recognize that there is a problem, they won’t have a plan to do something about it, nor recognize the threats to quality care.
  • Educate the entire staff about why unprofessional or hostile behavior is a problem. If the staff recognizes that the leaders are concerned about bullying, they are more likely to come forward when they feel that bullying has occurred, or better yet, tell their co-worker that their behavior is inappropriate.

Read the AMA report, “Bullying in the Health Care Workplace: A guide to prevention and mitigation.”

Also, learn how to stop microaggressions in medical school.

Where Does Bullying Happen? - reACT to Bullying

06-12-2018 · One popular bullying method is to push or trip an individual and video their reaction via cellphone. In many cases, such videos are widely shared, bringing a cyberbullying element into the event. The “why” of bullying is a complicated topic. However, the why of bullying behaviors in these transitional spaces is clear.


Recently, I had the pleasure of addressing the faculty and staff of the St. James, Minnesota, school district as part of an in-service staff training event. Standing in front of the entire faculty staff in a charming auditorium, I noticed a raised hand from the right side of the room. I had opened the floor for any specific questions or concerns school personnel had regarding bullying.

“Where does bullying happen?”

It was a great question. As a bully prevention speaker, I get my fair share of questions about the hows and whys of bullying. I share solid, actionable information about how to address bullying and how to create a culture of kindness. But what doesn’t often get discussed is the where of bullying.

Where Bullying Happens

In 2017, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published an extensive report on school bullying. The numbers revealed in this report indicate that we still have a fair amount of work to do to end bullying in our schools. For starters, roughly 20% of students reported being bullied. But it is the locations that bullying takes place that is especially eye-opening.

According to the report, common areas for bullying include:

  • Hallway/stairwell (42%)
  • Classroom (34%)
  • Cafeteria (22%)
  • Outside/Playground (20%)
  • Bathroom/locker room (10%)
  • School bus (10%)

We commonly consider the playground as the top location for bullying behaviors, so it’s surprising that it isn’t at the top of the list. Hallways and stairwells, classrooms, and the cafeteria all outpace the playground as a spot for bullying. But why?

The How and Why of Bullying

Think about this for a moment: transitions are a prime opportunity for aggression of all types.  Most transitions – changing classes, getting lunch, settling into a classroom – happen quickly and with a fair amount of disruption. When you look at it through this lens, it’s easy to see why these areas are popular for bullying behaviors.

Bullies seek a fast-moving environment to intimidate their victims. Reduced adult supervision in these areas sets the stage for quick interactions that are difficult to track. The types of bullying that happen in these situations include insults and name-calling, as well as physical actions such as pushing, shoving, or tripping. One popular bullying method is to push or trip an individual and video their reaction via cellphone. In many cases, such videos are widely shared, bringing a cyberbullying element into the event.

The “why” of bullying is a complicated topic. However, the why of bullying behaviors in these transitional spaces is clear. Bullies take advantage of ever-changing surroundings with less adult supervision to quickly target their victims. Witnesses to these behaviors are unlikely to report them and victims may have difficulty proving what happened.

What Schools Can Do

Maybe it surprises you to learn that bullying often takes place right under our noses. Maybe that fact doesn’t surprise you at all. Either way, there are measures that schools can take to help stop bullying behaviors.

Schoolwide Code of Conduct

Spelling out the types of behaviors that are appropriate can be effective, particularly if it gives students the power to identify bullying behaviors. Establish, teach, and promote these behavior expectations schoolwide. This is a great opportunity to put a PBIS framework in place.

Schoolwide Antibullying Standards

In addition to schoolwide expectations, establish a set of standards specific to bullying behaviors. Teach your students how to identify bullying behaviors. Focus on teaching kindness and give bystanders a way to help bullying victims.

System for Reporting

Many times, bullying goes unreported. Sometimes, it’s because students don’t see certain actions as bullying. More often, however, they may fear retaliation, feel ashamed, or think no one will help. Take the victim or bystander’s concerns seriously. Putting a system for reporting bullying into place may help students to open up about what they see or experience.

Increased Supervision

Teachers and administrators often bear the burden of student supervision, and frankly, they can’t be everywhere. Bullying behaviors may also take place in front of support staff. Students typically view bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodial staff as having no authority. Support staff may see themselves in this way, too. However, empowering every member of your staff to intervene and report bullying will provide increased supervision in many of the more problematic locations in your school community.

Security Cameras

You may be reluctant to install security cameras in the transitional areas of your school. It might suggest that you don’t have complete control over every location in your building. But before you completely reject the idea of security cameras, consider how their presence might affect behavior. Additionally, if you ever need reliable proof about behavior in a certain location, your security camera footage can be a huge help.

Eliminating Bullying in Every Area

How do you know if bullying is taking place at your school? Do your teachers witness it? What about your support staff? Do you rely on student reports? Is it possible to measure through office discipline referrals? How do you involve your parents?

It’s been my experience that every school has at least some type of bullying, even if it’s happening off the radar. Your students know about the bullying “hot spots” but that knowledge isn’t always shared with the adults in their lives. That’s why in addition to student assemblies, I offer parent and community presentations as well as staff training as part of an in-service day. Addressing all three groups is critical to combatting bullying. I present to students at all levels – elementary, middle, and high school – and can help bring special attention to the fast-moving, transitional spaces within a school community. Want to know more? Contact us and let us set up a specialized event or series of events for your school!


Understanding how and why a bully uses aggressive behavior is key to knowing how to handle the situation. A common reason that a kid is a bully is because he/she lacks attention from a parent at home and lashes out at others for attention. This can include neglected children, children of divorced parents, or children with parents under the regular influence of drugs/alcohol. Older siblings can ...

A common reason that a kid is a bully is because he/she lacks attention from a parent at home and lashes out at others for attention. This can include neglected children, children of divorced parents, or children with parents under the regular influence of drugs/alcohol.

Older siblings can also be the cause of the problem. If they’ve been bullied, they are more apt to bully a younger sibling to feel more secure or empower themselves.

And we cannot rule out the fact that an adult role model is a bully. This can include parents, teachers, coaches, etc

Very often parents are bullies, are angry, or don't handle conflict well.

Kids usually bully because they learn this behavior at home. It is learned behavior which can be unlearned.

Some kids are just more aggressive, dominating and impulsive by nature. It doesn't always mean that they are bullies.

Bullies dominate, blame and use others. They lack empathy and foresight and have contempt for the weak. They see weaker kids as their target., and don't accept the consequences of their actions. They crave power and attention.

  • Bullied bullies get relief from feeling helpless and overpower others
  • Social bullies have poor self-esteem and manipulate others through gossip and being mean
  • Detached bullies plan their attacks and always likeable to everyone but their victims
  • Hyperactive bullies don't understand how to socialize and acts inappropriately and sometomes physically.

Most bullies don’t understand how wrong their behavior is and how it makes the person being bullied feel. No matter what kind of bully someone is, they have not learned kindness, compassion and respect.

Bullies don't need a reason to hurt others. When asked, some replied:

  • Because it makes me feel stronger, smarter, or better than the person I'm bullying
  • Because I'm bullied at home
  • Because it's what you do if you want to hang out with the right crowd
  • Because I see others doing it
  • Because I'm jealous of the other person
  • Because it's one of the best ways to keep others from bullying me

Whatever the reason, bullying is not cool. It's mean!

Whether we've done it ourselves, or we know others who are doing it ... it is important for us to understand that bullying is serious and has harmful effects on the lives of our youth.

Maybe it's not happening to you ... but it could.


06-01-2021 · Workplace bullying in nursing, by the numbers. In a study of nursing students, Bowen, Curtis & Reid (2007) reported that over half of students experienced or witnessed lateral violence during clinicals. In the same study, students who experienced lateral violence in clinicals stated that they felt humiliated, powerless and disrespected.


Feature January 7, 2021 Sherry Dillon, RN, CPHRM
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To harm or intimidate someone perceived as vulnerable, typically to coerce them

The words “bully” or “bullying” may conjure up the image of a school playground, or more recently, images of kids being abused through social media or in other cyber settings. But bullying is not limited exclusively to young victims. In fact, it has a long, storied history in the profession of nursing complete with axioms such as, “nurses eat their young.” Just as lore tends to do, it seeped into my consciousness long before I was ever a practicing nurse: passed down from one generation to the next in nursing school. The stark reality is that there is too much workplace bullying in nursing.

Over the last decade, there has been a concerted effort in the profession to shed light on this damaging phenomenon that may be labeled as bullying; lateral, horizontal or workplace violence; harassment, etc. In 2015, the American Nurses Association convened a panel to develop a position statement and resources around incivility, bullying and workplace violence.

Despite the focus on reducing these detrimental behaviors, it is still prevalent. I recently spoke with the Chief Nursing Officer of a mid-sized health system. I asked her about lateral violence in the workplace, and she replied that it simply wasn’t a problem in her health system. It sounds lovely, but I was not buying it. The statistics simply don’t support it. We have a long way to go before we eradicate this cancer from the profession.

Workplace bullying in nursing, by the numbers

  • In a study of nursing students, Bowen, Curtis & Reid (2007) reported that over half of students experienced or witnessed lateral violence during clinicals.
  • In the same study, students who experienced lateral violence in clinicals stated that they felt humiliated, powerless and disrespected.
  • In a study by Thomas & Burk (2009), many nursing students reported feeling unwanted, ignored, distrusted, disbelieved, unfairly blamed and publicly humiliated during their clinical rotations.
  • 21 percent of all nursing turnover can be attributed to bullying.
  • 34 percent of nurses who are bullied consider leaving the profession altogether.
  • 36 percent of calls to the Workplace Bullying Institute are from nurses, more than any other profession.
  • 48 percent of graduate nurses are afraid of experiencing workplace bullying.
  • 60 percent of new nurses leave their first job within six months because of some form of verbal abuse or harsh treatment from a colleague.
  • 85 percent of nurses have been verbally abused by another nurse.

Nurse bullying often starts in school

You may have noticed from the statistics that many deal with students before they even formally enter the profession. While nursing seems from the outside appears to be a profession comprised of highly intelligent, caring, skilled individuals who must collaborate to succeed, for those subject to lateral violence, it can feel like a lonely, demeaning career option. Unfortunately, for many, this damaging behavior starts at the beginning, in nursing school.

When my daughter entered a four-year university to follow in my footsteps as a nurse, it was a proud moment. However, my pride quickly turned to concern when we attended freshman orientation. The current nursing students who led us through a series of tours, panels and lectures were overly critical of the chances of any one of the prospective student’s ability to gain admissions into the nursing program. They discouraged academic rigor in favor of taking the easiest classes to increase the chances of admission and called my daughter “stupid” for considering an honors English course. They used their position of “authority” to scare the students about the program and made them to feel incompetent. By the end of the day, my daughter already felt defeated before her first day of college. This tone of inadequacy was pervasive throughout her first year while she completed coursework required to apply into the nursing program.

The school of nursing provided us with a document titled “Traits of a Successful Nursing Student.” The last trait they listed for success was courage.

“Some of the situations that nursing students face in clinicals are difficult and challenging. Sometimes verbal abuse occurs as well as patient pain that happens when you are performing a procedure. Nursing students need to find the courage to deal with these situations.”

As an emergency department nurse, I have experienced death threats, been spit on, cursed and kicked by patients. I understand that the school of nursing was trying to prepare students for difficult situations that occur in the profession, but I was disheartened to see that they were subliminally planting a seed that implied verbal abuse is normal and to be expected in nursing. Students who learn early on that abuse is okay have a hard time speaking out against any kind of bullying even that enacted by their peers. The school failed by pointing out a problem without empowering prospective students with solutions.

My daughter did gain acceptance into the nursing program, and I’m happy to report that the school has been much more helpful as she has completed her first year. However, just as the school stepped up their support, some students began to spread abuse through intimidation overtly stating that students who don’t have a 4.0 GPA are not worthy to be a registered nurse. Talk about pressure! To make matters worse, the research and anecdotal evidence points to the fact that nursing students are often harassed by nurses in their clinical rotations through verbal and non-verbal humiliation and disrespect.

Many nurses are indoctrinated into lateral violence before they can even put the credentials, RN, behind their name. This leads to a perception that bullying is a normal part of the profession from early in their careers.

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Nursing student in the lab.

What does nurse bullying look like?

You may know all too well that you are the victim of workplace violence, but some of you may be experiencing bullying without even realizing it. The first step to changing something is to recognize it and put the right label on it. It is also important to realize that bullying can come from your peers or your superiors. Charge nurses, supervisors and managers are just as capable of bullying as a fellow bedside nurse. Lateral violence can rear its ugly head in many form, but they are all unacceptable.

  • Backstabbing
  • Withholding information critical to your job
  • Refusing to help
  • Finding fault (see the story of Nurse Jane above)
  • Threatening
  • Ethnic or racial jokes or slurs
  • Sabotage
  • Unfair assignments
  • Betraying confidence or gossiping
  • Humiliation
  • Physical harm
  • Exclusion and silence
  • Eye rolling or other demeaning non-verbal behaviors
  • Innuendo

Why do nurses bully each other?

It is widely accepted that lateral violence is a real problem in the profession, but what are the root causes that drive it? It is important to recognize that bullying is about control and power. There are many theories that aim to explain bullying in the nursing profession. Here are a few:

  • Although more men are entering the profession, nursing is dominated by females. Dr. Renee Thompson hypothesizes that this is a major factor in the phenomenon. Women are often negative towards other women, not just in nursing, but in life. This behavior can spill over into the workplace as females compete over status, respect and position.
  • Nursing has been called the silent majority. There are more nurses in the healthcare workforce than physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, etc., and yet nursing has remained an oppressed and subservient profession. Despite being highly skilled and knowledgeable, nurses are largely paid by the hour, underrepresented in decision-making roles and treated as a commodity. Dr. Thompson theorizes that frustrations that build up in this stressful environment are sometimes released on other nurses.
  • Dr. Cheryl Dellasega, GNP, PhD theorizes that the educational system for nursing has a big role to play in the epidemic. She notes that nurses are trained to be subservient and uncertain instead of independent and confident. This is vastly different from medical schools that teach students to project confidence even when they aren’t; to always have an answer to the question; and to stay calm and collected.
  • Dr. Dellasega also notes that bedside nurses are confined for the whole shift, often times 12 hours, to the unit. When tempers flare, when stress is overwhelming, there is no place to go, no place to decompress. That pent-up stress is redirected towards other nurses.

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Nurses working cooperatively in the workplace.

What can you do about workplace bullying in nursing?

  1. If you are the victim of workplace harassment, report it. Under reporting is pervasive in the nursing profession.
  2. If you are the victim, label the behavior and call it out when it happens.
  3. Keep a clear record of bullying incidents including dates, times, witnesses, etc. Your organization will be interested in any behaviors that compromise a culture of safety.
  4. Establish programs in your organization or unit to create awareness about and provide tools to address lateral violence.
  5. Leaders should establish a zero-tolerance policy.
  6. Make it a point to compliment a fellow nurse everyday. Whether you are a nurse or not, here are some creative ways you can show a nurse your appreciation.
  7. Mentor student and new nurses.
  8. Empower yourself by learning to articulate your value and the value of the profession. Use that power to participate in decision making roles within your organization.

Bullying not only demeans and humiliates a colleague, but it also negatively impacts patient outcomes. Though there’s only one week in the year devoted to nurses, making an extra effort to acknowledge the profession and all the great work nurses do to care for patients. Take an opportunity to reflect on how to create a bully free workplace for the 3 million+ nurses in the United States. Nursing is a tough profession, and to make it worse by bullying one another is a travesty. It is time to take measures to stop bullying and to turn that energy into building each other up instead of knocking each other down. Be #NiceToYourNurse, including your colleagues.

6 Reasons Why People Are Bullied at Work

Workplace bullies target those that have talent because they either feel inferior or they worry that their work is being overshadowed by the other employee's work and abilities. Bullying bosses, in particular, will target skilled workers and either steal the credit or undermine the target's work.

Businessman leaning on desk talking to coworker

Blend Images/Getty Images

Every day, employees are abused and bullied at work. In fact, the issue of workplace bullying affects nearly one-fifth of all employees at some point during their careers, or 60.3 million Americans every year, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute.

If you have experienced workplace bullying, you may ask yourself “why me?” Here are some common reasons why people become targets of workplace bullies.

You may be bullied at work because you receive a lot of positive attention for your work. Maybe you are intelligent, determined, creative, and regularly contribute new and innovative ideas. Or maybe you go the extra mile and gain recognition for your hard work. Maybe you even move through projects quickly while others are struggling. All these things attract the attention of workplace bullies.

Workplace bullies target those that have talent because they either feel inferior or they worry that their work is being overshadowed by the other employee's work and abilities. Bullying bosses, in particular, will target skilled workers and either steal the credit or undermine the target's work.

It is a myth that all victims of bullying are loners and outcasts with no friends or social connections. Often, it is the popular and well-liked workers that are most vulnerable to workplace bullying. If this describes you, bullies believe you pose a threat to their own popularity and social status at work.

Some bullies form cliques and target others who threaten their status or social standing. If you are well-liked at work, this could be the reason behind the attacks and jabs at you from the office bully.

If you would describe yourself as caring, social and collaborative, this may be the reason that you are being bullied at work. To a workplace bully, these characteristics drain the power they have. Team-building is the antithesis of what a bully wants. Bullies want to be in control and to call all the shots. So, you may be targeted by bullies because you are a team player.

This does not mean you should change your behavior. It simply gives you some insight into why you are being targeted. You also may be targeted for being ethical and honest. For instance, whistleblowers who expose fraudulent practices are frequently bullied by others at work to keep quiet.

If you are introverted, anxious, or submissive, you are more likely to be bullied at work than those who are extroverted and assertive.

Research has shown that if adults work to build their self-esteem and assertiveness skills, they might diminish the likelihood that they will be targeted by workplace bullies.

There is also some evidence that depression and other stress-related conditions might attract the attention of bullies. If you are living with any of these conditions, it is important to get treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. Depression, anxiety, and stress-related conditions should never be left untreated. What's more, bullying will just exacerbate your symptoms.

In other words, you may be targeted because of your gender, age, race, sexual preference, or religion. You also may be bullied if you have a disability or a disease. Whatever the reason, workplace bullies single out and target people who are different from them in some way. They also tend to discriminate against others. If you are being bullied for any of these reasons, you may have some legal recourse. Consider contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to see if you can file a complaint.

Unfortunately, adults often bully others for the same reasons kids target others in elementary school. Whether you are short or tall, heavy or thin, have a large chest or no chest at all, workplace bullies will find a way to exploit your appearance. In fact, almost any type of physical characteristic that is different or unique can attract the attention of bullies. This includes wearing glasses, having a large nose, having ears that protrude, and even having adult acne. 

If you are experiencing bullying at work, take steps to report it. You also should do what you can to confront the bully. It is never a good idea to let workplace bullying continue without addressing it in some way. Even if you do nothing at all to report the bullying, at least take steps to take care of yourself.  

Thanks for your feedback!

What are your concerns?

Why Do People Bully?

Not all bullies resort to hitting or name-calling, as children are known to do. Sophisticated adult bullies may engage in smear campaigns against their targets rather than insult them to their faces. They might also enlist others to bully a target on their behalf. This is why some anti-bullying groups say that bullying isn’t always easy to define.

Bullying is a behavior that has historically been linked to kids on the playground, but it can happen among people of any age in any setting—schools, households, workplaces. So the main question observers of such conduct have is...why do people bully others? 

The driving forces behind bullying may vary from person to person, but bullies share some common characteristics. For example, some people bully because they know that it gets them what they want, while others bully because they are deeply insecure. No matter the cause, bullying is unacceptable, regardless of where it takes place.

Bullying is repeated unwelcome and hostile behavior long linked to power imbalances. Bullies often target people who are younger or smaller than they are, who work as their subordinates, or who belong to marginalized or minority groups. Sometimes, envy motivates people to bully; individuals with personal traits, skills, relationships, or possessions that bullies want to possess themselves become targets.

Bullies victimize others by using tactics including:

  • Intimidation
  • Threats
  • Insults
  • Intentional exclusion
  • Spreading rumors and lies

Bullying exists on a spectrum. Not all bullies resort to hitting or name-calling, as children are known to do. Sophisticated adult bullies may engage in smear campaigns against their targets rather than insult them to their faces. They might also enlist others to bully a target on their behalf. This is why some anti-bullying groups say that bullying isn’t always easy to define.

However, a bully's end goal is to humiliate or harm other individuals with the intent of ruining their reputation or harming their self-worth.

There’s no one reason why people bully, but many people who engage in this conduct:

  • Feel powerless
  • Suffer from insecurity
  • Need to control others
  • Enjoy the rewards they get from bullying

For example, bullying a classmate might make a kid more popular, or bullying a worker might stop other employees from questioning management decisions. These outcomes show bullies that this conduct pays off.

Bullying is often a learned behavior. Young bullies might live in households where adults bully one another to get their way or deal with conflict. They might not know how else to get their needs met or how to manage disagreements.

Some bullies have had temper tantrums to get their way since they were small children and were never told "no." Others were once bullied themselves and repeated the behavior to feel powerful. 

Some supervisors bully their subordinates to deflect attention away from their incompetence. Other bullies believe their status entitles them to bully individuals of lower rank. These bullies might also lack empathy, have narcissistic traits, or be emotionally unstable and dysregulated. Controlling and intimidating others helps them to feel better about themselves and self-soothe. 

Bullying is harmful not only to targets of this behavior but to bystanders and bullies themselves. Targets of bullies may:

  • Develop mental health problems like anxiety and depression
  • Experience eating and sleeping changes
  • Feel lonely and isolated
  • Have suicidal thoughts
  • Withdraw from activities they once enjoyed
  • Miss days of school
  • Drop out of school

Adults experiencing workplace bullying may increasingly call in sick from work. In addition, youth and adults who are bullied have sometimes resorted to violent measures, including mass shootings, to get revenge on their tormentors. That’s why it’s important to seek out a licensed mental health professional to work through the difficult emotions that arise in the wake of bullying. 

Bystanders of bullying suffer, too. Young people who witness bullying are at increased risk of using illicit substances, tobacco, or alcohol. Like targets of bullies, they might also have more school absences and may develop mental health problems, especially anxiety and depression. In addition, witnesses of bullying might feel guilty or ashamed for not intervening. In the workplace, observing bullying can lower morale and increase turnover rates.

Bystanders can play important roles in ending the bullying they see, particularly if they are in positions of power or have the same rank as the bully. Rather than turning a blind eye to bullying, witnesses can call out the bully or report the bully’s behavior to others. Witnesses can also take the initiative by backing up the target’s accounts about the bully. Unfortunately, many bystanders don’t speak up because they’re afraid they’ll become the bully’s next target.

Bullies themselves suffer consequences from their actions. They, too, have an increased risk of substance use disorders and quitting school. In addition, they tend to have more physical fights, engage in sexual activity at younger ages, and enter the criminal justice system.

As adults, bullies are more likely to abuse their children and significant others. And while workplace bullies might be able to move up the corporate ladder, they must contend with the low morale, decreased productivity, and high turnover rates their behaviors cause. They may face workplace investigations, formal complaints, and lawsuits about their conduct as well. 

Bullies who have some insight into their behavior may discuss the catalyst behind their bullying with a mental health provider. Then, in therapy, they can address where they learned to bully and the impact of their conduct on others. If schools, workplaces, and family members protect bullies, though, these individuals might not think they need help. 

Protecting oneself against bullies typically requires effort and sacrifice. Youth who are being bullied might benefit from assertiveness training or self-defense classes, especially if they are physically bullied.

Families might also want to evaluate if any dynamics in the household contributed to their child becoming a target. For example, living in a household with authoritarian parents where children are punished for expressing their thoughts and needs makes it harder for youth to assert themselves and set boundaries with bullies. 

Of course, the school environment also plays a role in preventing bullying or allowing it to spread. For instance, the families of targeted children might need to make arrangements with school staff to ensure that bullies don’t have access to them before and after school or between class periods.

If school administrators or faculty members don’t listen to the concerns of the targeted child’s family, it might be time to consider switching schools, homeschooling, or remote schooling. 

Taking legal action against the school or school district might be a possibility, too. This is certainly true if the bullied child is being targeted because of race, sexual orientation, disability, or another marginalized status.

The potential of lawsuits, bad press, and tragedies resulting from bullying is one reason school districts increasingly have anti-bullying programs. These initiatives educate the school community about bullying behaviors and urge bystanders, parents, and school staff to intervene.   

In the 21st century, bullying is equally as likely to occur online as it is in person. If the bullying has spread to social media, families might need to do more than block their child’s bullies on these platforms. They might need to contact the support staff of social media networks to have the bullies banned for violating the terms of service.

Many of these platforms prohibit common cyberbullying tactics such as impersonation or harassment. It should also be possible to remove offensive videos and other content.   

Bullied adults can also take steps to protect themselves. If the bullying takes place at work, they should carefully document the behavior and determine if there’s a safe person to speak to about it. If the bully is an immediate supervisor or another higher-up, it might be harder to get results after reporting the bullying.

If you know that other people in your workplace have been bullied as well, consider teaming up with them to add more weight to your concerns.

Unfortunately, targets of workplace bullies may find their jobs in danger after making such a complaint while their abusers remain protected. However, union workers typically have more options than workers without the protection of a union.

If you have evidence that you’re being bullied because of your race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or another protected status, consult a lawyer or consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Companies should take bullying seriously because it can drive the most conscientious and talented employees out of the workplace. If your workplace ignores or permits bullying, it is in your best interest to look for a new job. If you’re financially able and your mental health is seriously suffering, you might need to leave without a new job lined up or try becoming a gig worker or independent contractor to make ends meet until more stable work arrives.  

When applying for jobs in the future, try to research the company beforehand. If the company always seems to be hiring and it isn’t growing exponentially, it might be a hostile work environment with a revolving door of employees.

Read company reviews from current and former employees to see what it’s like to work there, and beware of five-star reviews that paint the company as the perfect workplace.

These could be planted reviews, as even workers who love their jobs typically admit that some areas of the company need improvement. Also, pay attention to how managers behave during the application process. If they are cold, pushy, inconsiderate, or evasive when you ask questions, it might not be a safe place to work.  


People bully because it can be an effective way of getting what they want, at least in the short term, and because they lack the social skills to do so without harming others. Bullying also is a ...


Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

Bullying is a distinctive pattern of repeatedly and deliberately harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. The deliberate targeting of those of lesser power is what distinguishes bullying from garden-variety aggression.

Bullying can involve verbal attacks (name-calling and making fun of others) as well as physical ones, threats of harm, other forms of intimidation, and deliberate exclusion from activities. Studies indicate that bullying peaks around ages 11 to 13 and decreases as children grow older. Overt physical aggression such as kicking, hitting, and shoving is most common among younger children; relational aggression—damaging or manipulating the relationships of others, such as spreading rumors, and social exclusion—is more common as children mature.

Most bullying occurs in and around school and on playgrounds, although the internet lends itself to particularly distressing forms of bullying. Approximately 20 percent of students report being bullied at school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Boys and girls are equally likely to be bullied.


People bully because it can be an effective way of getting what they want, at least in the short term, and because they lack the social skills to do so without harming others. Bullying also is a way of establishing social dominance, although over time, as children’s behavioral repertoires generally broaden, it becomes an increasingly dysfunctional way.

Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age; if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds is not handled with consistency, children fail to acquire internal restraints against such behavior. Bullying remains a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first.

Research finds that bullies have a distinct psychological makeup. They lack prosocial behavior, are untroubled by anxiety, and do not understand others' feelings. They exhibit a distinctive cognitive feature, a kind of paranoia: They misread the intentions of others, often imputing hostility in neutral situations. Others may not like them, but they typically see themselves quite positively. Those who chronically bully tend to have strained relationships with parents and peers.

Girls are just as likely as boys to be bullies, but they are far less likely to engage in overt aggression. Instead, they tend to hurt others by damaging or manipulating their relationships. They may spread false rumors about someone, tell others to stop liking someone in order to get even with him or her, engage in social exclusion, threaten to withdraw friendship to get their way, or give someone the silent treatment.

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Bullies couldn't exist without victims, and they don’t pick on just anyone. Research shows that those singled out for bullying lack assertiveness even in nonthreatening situations and radiate fear long before they ever encounter a bully. These are children who don’t stand up for themselves.

Up to about age 7, bullies pick on almost anyone. After that, they single out kids to prey on. engaging in a "shopping process" to determine which other children would make suitably submissive victims. Bullies like victims who become visibly upset when they are picked on and who do not have friends or allies. Researchers find that those chosen as victims evince insecurity and apprehension.

Studies of children show that victims easily acquiesce to bullies’ demands, handing over bikes, toys, and other playthings. They cry and assume a defensive posture; their highly visible displays of pain and suffering are rewarding to bullies and serve as an important signal of the bully’s dominance. Children who become victims offer no deterrent to aggression, which can make them disliked even by their non-bullying peers.

Bullying causes a great deal of misery to others, and its effects on victims can last for decades, perhaps even a lifetime. The pain of bullying may be felt most acutely around adolescence, a developmental stage where sensitivity to rejection heightens greatly. Victimization is a common source of school avoidance, leads to feelings of shame and self-worthlessness, and may lead to chronic depression and anxiety.

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Bullying carries the implicit message that aggression and violence are acceptable solutions to problems when they are not. Cooperation and the peaceful resolution of differences support an increasingly interconnected world. Bullying not only harms its victims but it harms the perpetrators themselves. Most bullies have a downwardly spiraling course through life, as their aggressive behavior interferes with learning, holding a job, and establishing and maintaining intimate relationships.

Some bullies do leave the behavior behind. But many do not; aggression is a very stable social interaction style. Many who were bullies as children turn into antisocial adults, who are far more likely than nonaggressive kids to commit crimes, batter their wives, abuse their children—and produce another generation of bullies.

Bullies frequently carry out their aggression before an audience of peers, and the presence of an audience can boost a bully’s sense of power. But bystanders seldom stop the aggression; they may in fact enjoy the spectacle. Even if they don’t approve of the situation, they may dislike the victim or fear retaliation by the bully.

Bullying causes a great deal of emotional harm to individuals, and being a victim of bullying is a major reason why many young people drop out of school. Bullying also harms society at large by creating a source of aggression and violence; those who bully are at increased risk of engaging in criminal behavior as adults.


As the social life of young people has moved onto the internet, so has bullying, with electronic bullying becoming a significant new problem in the past decade. Whereas bullying was once largely confined to school, the ubiquity of handheld devices affords bullies constant access to their prey. Cyber harassment can be especially disturbing because it can often be carried out anonymously; victims may have no idea who the perpetrators are.

The anonymity of cyberbullying removes many restraints on meanness and amplifies the ferocity of aggression. It’s easier to inflict pain and suffering on others when you don’t have to look them in the eye. Constantly evolving digital technologies enable new ways of spreading false information about targets.

Both direct harassment and relational aggression thrive on the internet. Cyberbullies can spread false rumors with viral speed on social media. They can falsely impersonate someone and conduct all manner of mischief in someone else’s name. Sexual harassment and cyberstalking particularly target women. And long after the active bullying has stopped, malicious information can linger on the internet and continue to harm.

Cyberbullying is particularly unsettling and extremely difficult to combat because victims often do not know who is behind it. Further there is no opportunity for bystanders to witness incidents and to potentially intervene. But perhaps most distressing of all, it can be inescapable and relentless, affording victims no safe haven.

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

The best defense against bullying is being socially skilled—teaching all children social skills and allowing them to develop confidence in their own abilities. As social engineers for young children, parents are especially important in bully-proofing their children: They can regularly inquire about social challenges their children face and role-play possible solutions. The second-best defense against bullying is to walk away and not fight back.

Studies show that the most effective way of stopping a bully is to activate bystanders; after all, bystanders reward bullies with attention. Since most children are witnesses to bullying at some point, teaching all children that they have an important role to play in stopping bullying is essential. A bully may make an effort to retaliate against one person who speaks up but is not likely to target several.

During the past decade or so, schools have widely adopted anti-bullying programs. The report card on their effectiveness, however, is mixed. Experts explain that schools are where most bullying takes place but they are not where attitudes about power and aggression, skills of emotion regulation, or social skills—the key influences on bullying—are learned.

Children are deeply ashamed of being bullied and may not let anyone know when they are being victimized. Therefore parents have an obligation to know something about their children’s general competence with peers and how peers treat them—by asking teachers during school conferences and by gently asking their children about their social life. Teaching children to fight back is not effective; helping them gain social skills is.

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8 Reasons Why Teens Bully Others

Bullies target other kids for a variety of reasons. Discover the top eight things that motivate teens to bully others.

Girl getting bullied in high school hallway

FatCamera / Getty Images

Why do kids bully others? In order to help both bullies and their targets, it's important to understand bullying behavior. But to do so, adults need to move past the usual assumptions (say, that all bullies are loners or lack self-esteem).

Research shows that the reasons behind bullying can run the gamut from lack of impulse control and anger management issues to revenge and a longing to fit in. Knowing more about why bullies do what they do can guide the way this behavior is addressed.

Teens who want to be in control or have power are prone to bullying. This may be because they do not feel any power in their own life, which makes obtaining it in social interactions more appealing.

These teens may prefer to only interact with others when it is on their terms. If things do not go their way, they may resort to bullying. Tweens and teens engaging in relational aggression (often called "mean girl" behavior) also may be seeking power.

Despite the prevalence of the "mean girl" trope in our culture, girls aren't the only ones who bully by using gossip, put-downs, social pressure, exclusion, and other indirect social tactics to pursue social dominance. In fact, research shows that boys are just as likely to engage in relational aggression as girls.

Athletes and physically strong students (or kids with other types of perceived power) may resort to bullying because of the power they have over weaker or smaller students. Additionally, some athletes bully each other in an attempt to eliminate competition on the team.

Sometimes, bullying can be a manifestation of social status. Kids who are popular often make fun of kids who are less popular by perpetuating relational aggression. Popularity also can lead kids to spread rumors and gossip, engage in slut-shaming, and ostracize others.

Meanwhile, kids who are trying to climb the social ladder at school or gain some social power may resort to bullying to get attention. They also might bully others to diminish the social status of another person.

Some teens who have been victims of bullying to look for ways to retaliate or to seek revenge. These kids are often referred to as "bully-victims," and they often feel justified in their actions because they too have been harassed and tormented.

When they bully others, they may feel a sense of relief and vindication for what they experienced. Sometimes, these kids target someone weaker or more vulnerable than them. Other times, they will even go after the person who bullied them.

Teens who come from abusive homes are more likely to bully because aggression and violence are modeled for them. Kids with permissive or absent parents also may resort to bullying. It gives them a sense of power and control, which is lacking in their own life. And kids with low self-esteem may bully as a way to cover for a low sense of self-worth.

Sibling bullying also can lead to bullying at school. When an older brother or sister taunts and torments a younger sibling, this creates a sense of powerlessness. To regain that feeling of power, these kids then bully others, sometimes even emulating the actions of their older sibling.

Kids who are bored and looking for entertainment will sometimes resort to bullying to add some excitement and drama to their lives. They also might choose to bully because they lack attention and supervision from their parents. As a result, bullying becomes an outlet for getting attention.

Meanwhile, kids that lack empathy often enjoy hurting other people's feelings. Not only do they appreciate the sense of power they get from bullying others, but they may find hurtful "jokes" funny.

It's not uncommon for teens bully peers who are different in some way. For instance, kids may be targeted because they have special needs or food allergies. Other times, kids are singled out for their race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Some sort of prejudice is often at the root of bullying.

Sometimes, kids bully others to fit in with a clique, even if it means going against their better judgment. Often, these kids are more concerned with fitting in and being accepted than they are worried about the consequences of bullying.

Other times, kids will bully because they are simply going along with the group. Fear of not being accepted or fear of becoming the next target can lead kids to bully in groups.

If your child is being bullied, get them help. Contact their school (if it's taking place at school) and a counselor, if needed. Listen to them and let them know you are there for them. Emphasize that it's not their fault. Make a plan to keep them safe.

If your child is bullying others, step in to stop the behavior and address any underlying issues. Be sure to guide your child to take responsibility for their actions as well as to reflect on what motivated them to engage in bullying.

Making sense of why kids bully others can help victims, parents, and perpetrators alike better understand what is going on—and provide insights into how to stop it. While this does not in any way excuse the behavior, rarely is the bullying really about the person who is getting bullied. Instead, the behavior is often a reflection of the struggles the person who is bullying is going through.

Bullying: A big problem with big consequences

Symptoms of being bullied include: Lost or torn clothing. Unexplained bruises. Fearfulness or anxiety. Moodiness. Withdrawn behavior. A drop in grades. Lack of friends. Loss of appetite. Unexplained reluctance to go to school. Asking for extra school supplies or extra lunch money. Sleep ...

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Bullying is a particular problem with adolescents and pre-adolescents. Unfortunately, bullies can cause lasting psychological and physical damage to other kids. Because youth typically do not bully others in front of adults, teachers and parents are often unaware of bullying. As a result, they rarely step in to stop bullies or to help children cope with being bullied.

What is bullying?

Bullying occurs among teens when one or more of them uses physical, emotional, or verbal abuse to make life miserable for another. Bullying is not normal childhood behavior and should not be dismissed as "kids will be kids."

Symptoms of being bullied include:
  • Lost or torn clothing.

  • Unexplained bruises.

  • Fearfulness or anxiety.

  • Moodiness.

  • Withdrawn behavior.

  • A drop in grades.

  • Lack of friends.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Unexplained reluctance to go to school.

  • Asking for extra school supplies or extra lunch money.

  • Sleep disturbances.

Gender differences

Research has found that males were both more likely than females to bully or to be victims of bullying. Physical bullying is the most common for males — being hit, slapped, or push. Females were more likely to report verbal and psychological bullying, including sexual harassment and rumor mongering.

A significant bullying problem involves controlling or manipulating others by damaging or threatening to damage valued relationships. Teen girl bullies do this by intentionally spreading rumors about another person. They also use body language or nonverbal actions to exclude others.

This type of bullying is much harder for parents to get a handle on because it's sneaky, quiet, or underhanded. It's harder to see and explain, and involves one person's word against another.

The bystander

Some experts suggest that changing the attitudes and involvement of bystanders could have the biggest impact on bullies. Bystanders are kids who witness but are not victims of bullying. Since bullies love an audience, a bystander's encouragement or toleration of the bully will make the bully stronger. Training through role-playing can help youth recognize a potentially harmful situation and do something positive. By simply saying, "That's not cool," a bystander can stop a bully's activities.

Youth need to know that taking a stand for what is right can be very effective. Strive to turn your teen into a catalyst for change. Explain the difference between tattling and telling. Tattling is when you report something just to get someone in trouble. Telling is when you report that you or someone else is in danger.

What you can do if your teen is the victim of a bully

Typically, assertive, self-confident children do not become victims of bullying. Surprisingly, youth who are overweight, wear glasses, or are smart are no more likely to be bullied than others. Youth usually are singled out because of psychological traits, such as extreme passivity, sensitivity to criticism, or low self-esteem. Here are some actions to take if you suspect your teen is being bullied, or to help him or her avoid being bullied:

  • Ask questions. Ask how he or she is spending lunch break and time before and after school. Ask what it’s like riding the bus or walking to school. Ask if there are peers who are bullies without asking whether your teen is being bullied.

  • Listen to your teen’s reports of being bullied and take them seriously. Encourage speaking out.

  • Report all incidents to school authorities. Keep a written record of who was injured and how, and those you reported it to.

  • Teach your teen how to avoid the situations that expose him or her to bullying. Direct your teen toward experiences tailored to improve his or her social skills.

  • Teach your teen how to respond to aggression. With bullies, they should be assertive and leave the scene without violence. Role-play with your teen how to react and respond in non-aggressive ways.

  • Do not tell youth to strike back. This gives the message that the only way to fight violence is by using more violence. It also makes them feel that parents and teachers don’t care enough to help.

  • Avoid watching violent games, TV shows, and movies as much as possible.

What to do if your teen bullies others

  • Objectively evaluate your teen’s behavior; don't rush to justify it.

  • Teach your teen to recognize and express emotions non-violently.

  • Teach conflict-management and conflict-resolution skills.

  • Emphasize talking out the issue rather than hitting.

  • Promote empathy by pointing out the consequences for others of verbal and physical actions.

  • Don’t put down your teen. Bullies are intolerant of personal insults.

  • Model the behavior you want your teen to exhibit.

Adults must make it clear that aggressive behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. When aggression is tolerated, everyone loses — the bullies, the victims, and the bystanders.

Coloroso, B. (2004). The bully, the bullied, and the bystander.

Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., & Agatston, P. W. (2012). Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age.

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do.

Robers, S., Kemp, J., & Truman, J. (2013). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2012.

Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2012). Risk and protective factors, longitudinal research, and bullying prevention.

Wiseman, R. (2003). Queen bees and wannabes: Helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and other realities of adolescence.

Youth risk behavior surveillance. (2014).

Bullying Concerns and Ways to Help — Minnesota Department of Education — Get videos and other resources to help someone who has been bullied, as well as information on how to prevent bullying and intervene when it happens.

Bullying Resource Center — American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry — Get answers to frequently asked questions about bullying and access concise up-to-date information on other issues that affect children, teenagers, and their families.

Bullying Research — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Bullying is one type of youth violence that threatens young people's well-being. Bullying can result in physical injuries, social and emotional difficulties, and academic problems.

Understanding Cyberbullying: Why It Happens and How …

The abuse that children endure at the hands of cyberbullies leave many parents, teachers, and guardians wondering what causes the bullying to happen in the first place. Cyberbullies engage in harmful behaviors towards their peers for many reasons: The cyberbully wants to feel powerful. Cyberbullying may make them popular

In recent years, the news media coverage has exploded with tragic stories and consequences of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as bullying that occurs over electronic devices, often through texting, email or through social media websites such as Facebook. Bullies can send hurtful messages to other children, post embarrassing pictures of their peers on facebook, or send hateful email messages.

Cyberbullying takes on the same form as face to face bullying. The cyberbully will have a clear intent to harm the victim (either emotionally or by threatening them with physical harm), perceivable aggression in the messages, and a perceived or obvious imbalance of power over the victim by the cyberbully.

The abuse that children endure at the hands of cyberbullies leave many parents, teachers, and guardians wondering what causes the bullying to happen in the first place. Cyberbullies engage in harmful behaviors towards their peers for many reasons:

  • The cyberbully wants to feel powerful

  • Cyberbullying may make them popular

  • Cyberbullying can help a cyberbully cope with their own low self-esteem

  • Cyberbullies can be unaware of the harm they're causing

  • Cyberbullies can have trouble empathizing with their victims.

If you aren't sure whether or not your child has been a victim of cyberbullying, you can evaluate the matter through these 10 Signs Your Child is a Cyberbullying Victim. If you believe that your child has been the victim of cyberbullying, there are many effective ways to intervene and prevent it from happening again. The first thing a parent should consider doing to prevent attacks from happening or recurring is to consider using an online monitoring service to ensure that your child is browsing the web safely and cyberbully free.

What is a parent to do if they suspect that their child is a cyberbully? The first step a parent should take in preventing their child from cyberbullying is to explain to your child that the behavior is unacceptable. Talk to your child and find out if they are lashing out in response to being bullied themselves. Talk to your child's teacher and guidance counselor so they are aware of your child's behavior. That way, the school staff will be able to help your prevent the cyberbullying behaviors. Lastly, the same online monitoring services mentioned above can be utilized to prevent any cyberbullying on your home front.

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06-04-2021 · Children and teenagers who feel secure and supported by their family, school, and peers are less likely to bully. However, some youth do not have these types of support. Every individual is unique and…


Children and teenagers who feel secure and supported by their family, school, and peers are less likely to bully. However, some youth do not have these types of support. Every individual is unique and there are many factors that can contribute to bullying behavior. A youth who bullies may experience one, several, or none of these contributing factors.

Peer factors

Some youth bully:

  • to attain or maintain social power or to elevate their status in their peer group.
  • to show their allegiance to and fit in with their peer group.
  • to exclude others from their peer group, to show who is and is not part of the group.
  • to control the behavior of their peers.

Family factors

Some youth who bully:

  • come from families where there is bullying, aggression, or violence at home.
  • may have parents and caregivers that do not provide emotional support or communication.
  • may have parents or caregivers who respond in an authoritarian or reactive way.
  • may come from families where the adults are overly lenient or where there is low parental involvement in their lives.

Emotional factors

Some youth who bully:

  • may have been bullied in the past or currently.
  • have feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, so they bully to make themselves feel more powerful.
  • do not understand other’s emotions.
  • don’t know how to control their emotions, so they take out their feelings on other people.
  • may not have skills for handling social situations in healthy, positive ways.

School factors

Some youth who bully:

  • may be in schools where conduct problems and bullying are not properly addressed.
  • may experience being excluded, not accepted, or stigmatized at school.

Every youth involved in bullying – as a target, a bystander, or as one who does the bullying – can benefit from adult, school, and community support. Youth who bully may also need support to help them address their behavior. Parents, school counselors, teachers, and mental health professionals can work with youth who bully to help them develop healthy school and peer connections and to learn new social and emotional skills. If you have bullied your peers, reach out to a trusted adult for help. Bullying is a behavior that can be changed.

7 Main Causes of Bullying That Explain Why Children Become ...

06-01-2003 · Bullies aren’t just bad kids or evil people. There are many causes of bullying that might surprise you. Have you experienced bullying?


Bullies aren’t just bad kids or evil people. There are many causes of bullying that might surprise you.

I was bullied in school, so bad that I developed psychological issues. At one point, it was so bad that I couldn’t even stay in school for more than 2 hours a day. My father would take me to school and just wait in the parking lot for those hours and take me back home.

Eventually, I was able to gain a bit of normalcy and return to a normal routine. Unfortunately, no one in my family, back then, searched for the reasons I was bullied. Later on, I bullied a few people myself.  You can probably clearly see the cause and effect here, right?

There Are Reasons Children Hurt Other Children

I think there are few truly evil people in this world. Yes, there are those who commit evil deeds, but most of the time, there’s a history or explanation for the way they act.

This is true for bullying. There are several causes of bullying which explain why children tease and torment other children. To stop this behavior, we have to understand the roots of it.

7 Most Common Causes That Give Bullying a Start

1. Sibling rivalry

I have two boys that are about two years apart in age. They fought viciously up until sometime in primary school. I did punish them for fighting, but what I didn’t realize was where they were taking their attitudes when they entered school. Their sibling rivalry had turned into bullying. Instead of fighting each other in school, they were mistreating other children.

Children who fight at home tend to take out their frustrations on other children at school. This is because they usually don’t have access to their siblings long enough to continue the feud. Pay close attention to your children when they are fighting at home. This could be one of the causes of school bullying.

2. Cliques of social circles

I never liked cliques because they developed circles that excluded others. Although if you asked a member of a social circle if they excluded anyone, they would say no. This is not true. Cliques exclude those who are different and they bully them as well.

In the ’90s, when I was in high school, you could clearly see groups of people, almost forming circles when they socialized. In classrooms, even some of them turned their desks to face the other members of their social circle.

If you happen to be a loner or part of a smaller circle of “undesirables”, you would be bullied by the larger circles. Cliques shouldn’t happen. Instead, we should all strive to include each other and our differences.

3. Jealousy

This cause of bullying may surprise you. Jealousy of what someone looks like or what they have can cause severe anger problems. This can lead to bullying.

You see, the jealous person figures if they can bring someone down to a lower level or somehow take something away from the target, they won’t feel so jealous of them anymore.

Bullying in this case usually takes the form of telling lies, teasing or actually turning to physical ways to downgrade the person who makes them jealous.

I was also a bully a few times in high school because of a popular girl who always got the attention. I was jealous of that attention. Needless to say, I turned to mean behaviors in order to mar her beauty. I will leave it at that.

4. Boredom

Out of just plain boredom, some children turn to bully others. It seems like they could find something better to do than mistreat someone or cause pain, but they don’t.

I’ve actually witnessed a boy walk up and kick another boy for no reason, then he laughed and walked away. He kicked this boy every day until the boy fought back. But, it didn’t stop the bully at all.

Finally, a teacher stopped the ordeal. I was always astonished by how long it took school authorities to see and stop this sort of behavior.

5. Low self-esteem

If you have low self-esteem, you are more prone to bully others, although not everyone does this. Some children, when feeling unworthy, turn to cruel acts in order to elevate the way they feel about themselves.

It seems bullying makes them feel like a stronger person. They sometimes do this in order to be accepted by the “in” crowd. Sometimes it actually works.

6. Upbringing

Much bullying behavior comes from intolerance, judgment, and criticism of others. This starts at home. Racial intolerance at home is a common cause of bullying in school. Judgemental statements in the home also prove to be causes of bullying at school.

It’s a horrible sight to see children mistreating each other because of the color of their skin, the way they dress or where they come from. We must continue to change the way we raise our children in order to stop this process.

7. Gaining power

Some bullies simply love the power they have over other children. Remember watching television shows where one child had to give up his lunch money or pay a toll to get by on the street. That’s a power play that some bullies use. If they do it once, it will empower them to continue their behavior every day.

Let’s Continue Putting a Stop to Bullying!

One thing that I haven’t touched upon is cyber-bullying, which is very real. This sort of bullying has become just as bad or worse than the physical kind. When using online resources to bully other people, you can actually become anonymous and wreak havoc all you want. This is a truly troubling fact.

I was bullied physically and online, and I also bullied a few people myself. I remember how I was bullied so much that I searched out another child and bullied them to take the spotlight off myself. Yes, it was really that bad in my time during school.

Many of you remember those days in school, and you were either on one side of the mistreatment or the other… or like me, you did both.

Let’s change this. Let’s create a world where our children can feel safe. Let’s end bullying for good!


  1. https://www.stopbullying.gov
  2. https://medlineplus.gov
Staff writer at Learning Mind
Sherrie Hurd is a professional writer and artist with over 20 years of experience. As a survivor of childhood trauma and multiple types of abuse, she is an advocate for mental health awareness. Sherrie manages multiple mental illnesses, including anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. With this background and personal experience, she strives to help others overcome trauma and abuse, cope with mental illness, and heal over time.

Copyright © 2012-2021 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.
the power of misfits
Why children become bullies at school

“For the longest time, in the research literature, we thought there was just one type of bully: a highly aggressive kid that had self-esteem issues that may come from a violent home or ...

Bullying behaviour often emerges in childhood, and the consequences for victims can last a lifetime. But what makes a child become a bully?

When RubySam Youngz was singled out by a bully at the age of 10 in her last year of primary school, she felt isolated and confused. She’d just moved with her family from England to Wales and the bully honed in on her accent. They then started mocking her appearance. “Nothing really made sense to me,” she says. “I’m in a new place, I don’t really know anyone, no one likes me, and I really do not know why.”

Youngz says the relentless bullying, which continued through secondary school, had a knock-on effect in all areas of her life, and she took up smoking and drinking in an attempt to cope. Now aged 46, it is only in the past year that she has come to terms with the effect that the bullying had on her.

“I felt like ‘no one else likes me, so I don’t like me’,” she says.

Her experience underlines a painful truth. Children, for all their innocence and inexperience of the world, can be some of the most vicious bullies. Their actions, perhaps less hindered by the social norms we learn in later life, can be merciless, violent and shocking. And they can have life-long implications for the victims.

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But what makes a child become a bully?

“For the longest time, in the research literature, we thought there was just one type of bully: a highly aggressive kid that had self-esteem issues that may come from a violent home or neglectful home,” says Dorothy Espelage, a professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. That picture is now changing.

There are several definitive types of school bully that have been identified by psychologists (Credit: Getty Images)

There are several definitive types of school bully that have been identified by psychologists (Credit: Getty Images)

The definition of bullying that academic researchers have adopted states that it’s a form of aggression between individuals or groups that have different levels of power. It perhaps fails to capture the terrible toll it can have on victims or the complex reasons why people become bullies in the first place. But one key element is the difference in power.

“It could be that you’re bullying me, and you’re popular, and I’m not popular, and that power differential makes it difficult for me to defend myself,” says Espelage. While domestic violence and sibling aggression are still risk factors for children becoming bullies, they’re not the only reason, she adds. Children who grow up in violent homes but go to a school with an anti-bullying programme and a supportive atmosphere won’t necessarily become bullies.

Researchers’ picture of the typical school bully has become more nuanced in recent years. Aside from the blunt and open aggressor, another more Machiavellian kind of bullying has come to be recognised. Children who fall into this category tend to have better social skills, are often charismatic and liked by teachers – far from the “oafish” stereotype of bullies. Crucially, these children can turn on and off their bullying to suit their needs.

“Socially dominant bullies want to be the leader of the crowd,” says Espelage. “And the way that they do that is to push kids down the hierarchy.”

Bullying is often more about the bully than the victim, according to studies into how children feel when they bully others (Credit: Getty Images)

Bullying is often more about the bully than the victim, according to studies into how children feel when they bully others (Credit: Getty Images)

Other research backs up this idea that bullying is often more about the bully themselves, rather than their victims. In a study of school children in Italy and Spain, pupils took part in an exercise that entailed thinking about a bullying situation from the point of view of the bully. The researchers also gave the children a questionnaire about their peers to categorise each child as either a bully, a victim or an outsider.

Those who were categorised as bullies by their peers were more likely to respond to the hypothetical bullying incident with statements that focused on how the incident affected the bully themselves (saying things like “I would feel great because I got the attention of other children!”) or statements that showed a lack of empathy (such as “I don’t feel guilty because I don’t think about it” and “I would feel indifferent because the victim doesn’t suffer”).

Bullying has also taken on new forms in recent years. One common characteristic of bullying as previously defined by academics is that the aggression towards the victim is repeated. But the online world is blurring this due to the potential impact that just one instance of cyberbullying can have.

“Does it have to happen more than once, when you’ve posted something that’s gone to a million people?” asks Espelage. “Probably not.”

Cyberbullying is making some researchers rethink the definition of what it means to bully (Credit: Getty Images)

Cyberbullying is making some researchers rethink the definition of what it means to bully (Credit: Getty Images)

In fact, there’s such a big crossover between school bullying and cyberbullying that some researchers argue they are becoming one and the same – especially now that children often have their phones with them in class. “In my research it was found that many times school bullies continue the harassment online,” says Calli Tzani-Pepelasi, an investigative psychology lecturer at the University of Huddersfield. “They may be sitting next to each other but prefer to bully each other through social media, as that way their actions can be viewed by more and they feel a false sense of fame.”

So what should you do if you think your child may be bullying other children?

Getting to the bottom of their motivations is a good first step. “If somebody called me and said your child is engaging in these behaviours, I would want to say [to the child], ‘OK, what are you getting from that? Why are you doing this?’,” says Espelage. “It may be that your child... is in a school where that’s what they’re expected to do.”

It’s also worth considering whether your own actions may be influencing your child’s. “For some parents, their interpersonal style may be may be modelling that behaviour,” she says.

One way to address school bullying could be a buddy system designed to foster peer support, where younger students are assigned an older mentee to show them the ropes when they start school.

Being a victim of bullying in childhood can have life-long effects on a persons self-esteem and mental health (Credit: Getty Images)

Being a victim of bullying in childhood can have life-long effects on a persons self-esteem and mental health (Credit: Getty Images)

“The fact that younger students have the opportunity to model the right behaviour from the older students” is one advantage of such a system, says Tzani-Pepelasi. But having a supportive school environment in general is also important when it comes to tackling bullying. “It takes a lot of persistence, and consistency from the teachers and the school staff in general, as without them the system cannot function,” she says.

Espelage agrees that strong relationships between teachers and among peers are key. “What we know from our research is those schools where they pay attention to the issues of connectedness, making sure every kid feels like they belong in that school, there’s less bullying,” she says.

Often, though, that support isn’t there. In 2014, Espelage and her colleagues published a five-year study showing a worrying link between bullying and sexual harassment in schools. It revealed that bullying among younger children often involves homophobic insults, which then escalates to sexual harassment in later school years.

But the children involved in sexual harassment – both the perpetrators and the victims – often didn’t seem to understand how serious the incidents were, perhaps because teachers may not be stepping in to prevent them.

“That continuum of aggression from bullying, to homophobic name-calling, to sexual violence, to teen dating violence is real,” says Espelage.

As for whether kids grow out of bullying once they leave school, Espelage says some may do so – or find a different outlet for their aggression – but not all. “I would argue, based on my experience, that some [school bullies] go into professions in which that type of behaviour works for them, whether that's a police officer, a professor at a university, a lawyer.”

Perhaps saddest of all, however, is that the impact of bullying on victims can last for decades, leading to poorer physical and psychological health. Youngz, who was bullied throughout secondary school, has now trained as a grief recovery specialist, and hopes to be able to help others who have been through similar kinds of loss.

“The bullying has been part of that because it was loss of feeling normal, loss of trust, loss of safety and security,” she says.

Her main bully contacted her via Facebook earlier this year to apologise. When she received the message, Youngz felt angry. “It did nothing for me at all personally to relieve any pain that she put me through,” she says. “It might have helped her, I don’t know.”

But when it comes down to it, she thinks the apology – just like the bullying that had such a negative impact on her life – was really more about the bully than about Youngz herself.

“I have compassion towards her because I can understand maybe why she did what she did, because she may have been having troubles at home as well,” she says. “But I’m not agreeing with what she did.”


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Cyber bullying is an aggressive and intentionally hurtful or intimidating behavior directed towards someone else. Unlike "normal" bullying which happens in person, it obviously takes place online and at times, may even be seen as a cybercrime. It does share one key element that defines bullying – an imbalance of power or strength.

Examples of cyber bullying

Cyber bullying can manifest in many forms. Listed below are just some examples of how it can unfold online.

  • Sharing an embarrassing video of someone on social networks like Facebook or video-sharing websites like YouTube

  • Sharing a photo and personal information about a person without consent

  • Leaving abusive remarks about another user in a forum

  • Spreading rumors and lies about a person

  • Recording and sharing videos of abusive attacks; an act called “happy slapping”

  • Creating a different profile on social networking sites to either make fun someone or damage that person’s reputation

  • Sending threatening or nasty messages and emails to other people

  • Repeatedly harassing someone in a chat room

  • Spreading viruses to damage someone else’s computer

  • Intentionally excluding someone from a social networking group

  • Forcibly acquiring personal information about a person, only to be used against him/her

Even though a person didn’t start the bullying, he/she can still be considered a cyber bully just by laughing at the hurtful media and sharing them to others. Any act that is hurtful to someone may be seen as a threat or harassment – even when done online. Sometimes, cyber bullying can even progress to offline bullying such as physical abuse, verbal attacks, and relationship bullying. This is especially true for kids who go to the same school or live in the same city as their tormentors.
404 imageWhy cyber bullying hurts
Cyber bullying is hurtful because it makes victims feel hopeless, helpless, powerless, and alone all at the same time. Children and teens who are cyber bullied often feel ashamed and guilty too, as they are made to believe that it’s their fault they’re being bullied (i.e., that they "deserve it" for some reason).
Why does cyber bullying happen?
There are many reasons why kids and teens become cyber bullies. Usually however, cyber bullies have some sort of insecurity. To protect their egos and feel superior, they make others feel bad about themselves. Some cyber bullies see it as a means to gain popularity and others do it to feel powerful or escape their own problems. At times, cyber bullies themselves may be bullying victims so they “prey” on other people to feel better about themselves.
The effects of cyber bullying on a child or teen

Cyberbullying can have a significant impact on a child or teens emotional and psychological well-being. Someone who is a victim of online bullying may experience feelings of depression, stress and anxiety, loneliness, and may have great difficulty sleeping. It can affect their academic performance, and may result in poor or unhealthy eating habits, social withdrawal from others, poor concentration, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, and even thoughts of suicide. In summary, online bullying can be devastating for a child or teen and can make his or her life absolutely unbearable.

How Parents Can Help

If your child is being bullied online, it is very important to encourage open communication with you about it. Children who are being bullied online often feel as though they have no one to turn to for help. You must make sure that your child feels comfortable coming to you for support and advice - not just for dealing with bullying, but for any challenge they may face during these critical formative years. Let your child know that he or she can come to you for any problem and that they will not be criticized or judged. Depending on the situation, you may choose to consult with teachers, school counsellors, mental health professionals, or others in authority positions who may be able to provide assistance. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the bullying is temporary or that your child should simply “ignore it”. Stay involved, stay supportive, and make sure to take action if your child is the victim of online bullying.

Workplace Bullying: Causes, Effects, and Prevention ...

A recent article discusses and reviews causes and effects of workplace bullying.

Bullying is a form of aggression that can occur anywhere. Bullies can threaten your child at school (school bullying), abuse your teenager online (cyberbullying), or intimidate you at work (workplace bullying). A recent paper, published in Aggression and Violent Behavior, focuses on the last kind.

Authors Nielsen and Einarsen discuss the prevalence of bullying, its causes, effects, and finally, the effectiveness of available anti-bullying interventions.


What is workplace bullying?

The question of definition is complicated by the fact that the same aggressive behavior can be (and has been) labeled differently, using terms such as incivility, harassment, emotional abuse, ostracism, abusive supervision, etc.

Therefore, in order to define workplace bullying as a unique kind of aggression specific to a work setting, the authors advance the following definition: Workplace bullying refers to “situations where an employee repeatedly and over a prolonged time period is exposed to harassing behavior from one or more colleagues (including subordinates and leaders) and where the targeted person is unable to defend him-/herself against this systematic mistreatment.” It is a “form of persistent abuse where the exposed employee is submissive to the perpetrator.”

In short, workplace bullying involves harassment and conflict that is ongoing (i.e. not limited to one or two instances). Furthermore, there is a feeling of being trapped in the situation and being defenseless.

Whether bullying occurs in a particular setting depends on a number of factors (some work-related, some more general) such as gender, climate, rate of poverty, and the characteristics of the particular occupation. For instance, previous research has shown that bullying is especially common in large, male-dominated industrial companies. It is also more prevalent among unskilled workers than among supervisors/managers.

Why does workplace bullying occur?

One of the main explanations for why bullying occurs emphasizes characteristics associated with the workplace environment, including job design. Specifically, prior research has linked bullying to work-related factors and stressors such as job insecurity, workload, role conflict/ambiguity, and cognitive demands of the job. Other investigations, however, have not found a consistent association between bullying and such role-related stressors.

Another major explanation for bullying stresses personality factors. Most of this research has focused not on the bullies but on targets of bullying and their personality characteristics. Some studies have observed that neurotic employees and ones who experience negative affects more frequently are at increased risk of being bullied. That is, some of the employees who become targets of bullying are ones who regularly experience negative emotional states (e.g., anxiety, anger, sadness, insecurity).

A third account simply combines these two types of explanations and suggests that workplace bullying is the result of the interaction between personality and work-related factors considered above.

What is workplace bullying associated with?

Bullying has been previously linked to numerous physical and psychological symptoms, including headaches, chronic neck pain, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms, suicidal ideation, and others.

Furthermore, bullying is also associated with negative work-related responses. People who are bullied are more likely to have reduced commitment to work, feel dissatisfied with their job, experience job insecurity, have a high rate of absenteeism, and become recipients of disability pension.

Nevertheless, though bullying appears to result in mental health issues, longitudinal research has found evidence for the opposite causal relation as well—for mental health problems resulting in being bullied. Indeed, as we saw earlier, some research indicates that people who experience negative emotions are at a greater risk of being bullied.

  • How to Handle Bullying
  • Find a therapist to support kids or teens

The question is: Why? According to one view, people with lower well-being are more prone to interpreting aggressive behavior as an indication of bullying because they have less tolerance for such behavior. Another view proposes that those with mental health issues violate norms of friendly behavior and other people’s expectations, and thus incite aggression in others.

Are anti-bullying interventions available and effective?

A recent systematic review of 12 studies found that none of the interventions against bullying were effective; and only two of them reduced incivility (e.g., rudeness, sarcasm).

Another systematic review concluded that anti-bullying interventions have a positive effect but mostly in increasing knowledge and awareness about workplace bullying, and in changing attitudes and perception—not in preventing bullying behavior.

In short, there is need for research on developing more effective anti-bullying interventions at work because the current ones do not seem to be of much use.


Workplace bullying is characterized by the following three components:

  • A person becomes the focus of systematic unwelcome/adverse behavior.
  • This goes on for some time.
  • The victim cannot easily avoid the situation or the negative treatment.

Two common explanations for workplace bullying relate bullying to either the personality of the bullied individual or to the aspects of the work environment.

Regardless of the cause, the consequences of bullying can be severe, including physical and psychological symptoms and negative work-related outcomes (e.g., absenteeism). The anti-bullying interventions available do not seem to prevent bullying, though they do appear to have some positive effect, such as increasing awareness of the problem.


Nielsen, M. B., & Einarsen, S. (2018). What we know, what we do not know, and what we should and could have known about workplace bullying: An overview of the literature and agenda for future research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 42, 71-83.

The Causes and Effects of Cyberbullying

20-10-2018 · It instills fear, anxiety, stress and depression on vulnerable young ones. The common symptoms of cyberbullying are the following: A victim may be mentally preoccupied with negative thoughts associated with the threats. Isolates oneself from the group or family members. Avoids answering a phone call.


Social media conceal an individual’s identity. Anyone can create a fake account online. With this system, anybody can easily go anonymous. It can be helpful for people who don’t want to expose their personal information.

However, the ability to go anonymous online could also cause serious social problems. Being invisible allows some people to freely spread out the undesirable act. Cyberbullying is one of those negative behaviors that are difficult to address.

What is cyberbullying?

Bullying happens in many social contexts. But the most recorded cases are in schools. Cyberbullying a modern method of inflicting psychological harm to adolescents in the online world. Cyberbullies may do the following acts to their victims:

  • Threatens others via social media messages
  • Demeaning others through sex or gender-based comments on social media
  • Encouraging others to threaten the target person
  • Sending rude images to a target person via emails and text messages
  • Making fun of the embarrassment of the target person

These are just the major and common forms of cyberbullying that happens every day on the social world. Unfortunately, these simple acts would greatly affect a child or an adolescent. Parents may have no idea their children are facing such a terrible experience.

The successful cyberbullying reinforces the behavior itself. In other words, cyberbullies feel more confident in doing such an unlawful act. Cyberbullies feel more powerful and in control over the vulnerable young ones.

What causes cyberbullying?

There are reasons why cyberbullies do it online. Aside from anonymity that makes them invincible online, the following may cause cyberbullies to harm others online:

1. Revenge

Revenge is one of the reasons why cyberbullies want to inflict pain on others online. This means that they have also the same experience. It could be that cyberbullies were once bullied.

The pain from those experiences causes them to find an outlet. Unfortunately, their target person becomes the outlet. So they make their victims feel what they have experienced once before. They believe that their victims deserve pain.

2. Boredom

Another reason for cyberbullying is boredom. People who get bored tend to find enjoyment. Oftentimes, they find entertainment online. The only problem is that their enjoyment is at the expense of other’s well-being.

3. Lack of empathy

Because they don’t feel what their victims feel, cyberbullies may think that their behavior is acceptable. That is, the pain they inflict on others is reasonable. As a result, they feel no remorse and regret what they have done.

The increasing number of adolescents or children who victimized by cyberbullies causes schools and parents a serious challenge. Cyberbullying has a tremendous effect on children’s psychological health.

Effects of Cyberbullying

The traditional bullying has serious effects on adolescents in school. The effect of cyberbullying is much worse. It instills fear, anxiety, stress and depression on vulnerable young ones. The common symptoms of cyberbullying are the following:

  • A victim may be mentally preoccupied with negative thoughts associated with the threats
  • Isolates oneself from the group or family members
  • Avoids answering a phone call
  • Find difficulties in coping and performing in school
  • Lost interest in things he/she previously enjoyed doing
  • Find difficulties in gaining enough sleep
  • Always anxious
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem

Bullied adolescents tend to keep themselves confined in their rooms. They lost interest in going with their friends as they normally did previously. Fear makes them act that way. Parents should always observe their children’s significant behavioral changes.

Ways to prevent cyberbullying

Because cyberbullying happens in the online world, it is difficult to put an end to it. But this does not mean that parents can do nothing to stop this unlawful act. Parents can do the following steps to keep their children safe from online bullies:

  1. Create restrictions on the websites their children may be using
  2. Limit their children’s access to their gadgets and online time
  3. Monitor their children’s activity online

These are just a few options. But if you are a concerned parent, you must find additional ways to protect your child from any online potential harm. Now that you’ve already known the possible causes and effects of cyberbullying, it is time to develop a strategy to keep your children safe.

Bullying in Schools

01-01-2002 · Bullying is widespread and perhaps the most underreported safety problem on American school campuses.1 Contrary to popular belief, bullying occurs more often at school than on the way to and from there. Once thought of as simply a rite of passage or relatively harmless behavior that helps build young people's character, bullying is now known to ...


There is new concern about school violence, and police have assumed greater responsibility for helping school officials ensure students' safety. As pressure increases to place officers in schools, police agencies must decide how best to contribute to student safety. Will police presence on campuses most enhance safety? If police cannot or should not be on every campus, can they make other contributions to student safety? What are good approaches and practices?

Perhaps more than any other school safety problem, bullying affects students' sense of security. The most effective ways to prevent or lessen bullying require school administrators' commitment and intensive effort; police interested in increasing school safety can use their influence to encourage schools to address the problem. This guide provides police with information about bullying in schools, its extent and its causes, and enables police to steer schools away from common remedies that have proved ineffective elsewhere, and to develop ones that will work.†

Bullying is widespread and perhaps the most underreported safety problem on American school campuses.1 Contrary to popular belief, bullying occurs more often at school than on the way to and from there. Once thought of as simply a rite of passage or relatively harmless behavior that helps build young people's character, bullying is now known to have long-lasting harmful effects, for both the victim and the bully. Bullying is often mistakenly viewed as a narrow range of antisocial behavior confined to elementary school recess yards. In the United States, awareness of the problem is growing, especially with reports that in two-thirds of the recent school shootings (for which the shooter was still alive to report), the attackers had previously been bullied. "In those cases, the experience of bullying appeared to play a major role in motivating the attacker."2, ‡

International research suggests that bullying is common at schools and occurs beyond elementary school; bullying occurs at all grade levels, although most frequently during elementary school. It occurs slightly less often in middle schools, and less so, but still frequently, in high schools.§ High school freshmen are particularly vulnerable.

Dan Olweus, a researcher in Norway, conducted groundbreaking research in the 1970s exposing the widespread nature and harm of school bullying.3 Bullying is well documented in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, providing an extensive body of information on the problem. Research from some countries has shown that, without intervention, bullies are much more likely to develop a criminal record than their peers,† and bullying victims suffer psychological harm long after the bullying stops.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying has two key components: repeated harmful acts and an imbalance of power. It involves repeated physical, verbal or psychological attacks or intimidation directed against a victim who cannot properly defend him- or herself because of size or strength, or because the victim is outnumbered or less psychologically resilient.4

Bullying includes assault, tripping, intimidation, rumor-spreading and isolation, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, destruction of another's work, and name-calling. In the United States, several other school behaviors (some of which are illegal) are recognized as forms of bullying, such as:

  • Sexual harassment (e.g., repeated exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning, and sexual abuse involving unwanted physical contact)
  • Ostracism based on perceived sexual orientation
  • Hazing (e.g., upper-level high school athletes' imposing painfully embarrassing initiation rituals on their new freshmen teammates)5

Not all taunting, teasing and fighting among schoolchildren constitutes bullying.6 "Two persons of approximately the same strength (physical or psychological)…fighting or quarreling" is not bullying. Rather, bullying entails repeated acts by someone perceived as physically or psychologically more powerful.

Related Problems

Bullying in schools shares some similarities to the related problems listed below, each of which requires its own analysis and response. This guide does not directly address these problems:

  • Bullying of teachers by students
  • Bullying among inmates in juvenile detention facilities
  • Bullying as a means of gaining and retaining youth gang members and compelling them to commit crimes.

Extent of the Bullying Problem

Extensive studies in other countries during the 1980s and 1990s generally found that between 8 and 38 percent of students are bullied with some regularity,† and that between five and nine percent of students bully others with some regularity. Chronic victims of bullying, bullied once a week or more, generally constitute between 8 and 20 percent of the student population.7

In the United States, fewer studies have been done. A recent study of a nationally representative sample of students found higher levels of bullying in America than in some other countries. Thirteen percent of sixth- through tenth-grade students bully, 10 percent reported being victims, and an additional six percent are victim-bullies.8 This study excluded elementary-age students (who often experience high levels of bullying) and did not limit bullying to school grounds. Several smaller studies from different parts of the country confirm high levels of bullying behaviors, with 10 to 29 percent of students reported to be either bullies or victims. 9, ‡

Clearly, the percentage of students who are bullies and victims varies by research study, often depending on the definition used, the time frame examined (e.g., ever, frequently, once a week)† and other factors.‡ Despite these differences, bullying appears to be widespread in schools in every country studying the problem.§

A Threshold Problem: The Reluctance to Report

Most students do not report bullying to adults. Surveys from a variety of countries confirm that many victims and witnesses fail to tell teachers or even parents.10 As a result, teachers may underestimate the extent of bullying in their school and may be able to identify only a portion of the actual bullies. Studies also suggest that children do not believe that most teachers intervene when told about bullying.11

"If the victims are as miserable as the research suggests, why don't they appeal for help? One reason may be that, historically, adults' responses have been so disappointing."12 In a survey of American middle and high school students, "66 percent of victims of bullying believed school professionals responded poorly to the bullying problems that they observed."13 Some of the reasons victims gave for not telling include:

  • Fearing retaliation
  • Feeling shame at not being able to stand up for themselves
  • Fearing they would not be believed
  • Not wanting to worry their parents
  • Having no confidence that anything would change as a result
  • Thinking their parents' or teacher's advice would make the problem worse
  • Fearing their teacher would tell the bully who told on him or her
  • Thinking it was worse to be thought of as a snitch.†

The same is true of student-witnesses. Although most students agree that bullying is wrong, witnesses rarely tell teachers and only infrequently intervene on behalf of the victim. Some students worry that intervening will raise a bully's wrath and make him or her the next target. Also, there may be "diffusion of responsibility"; in other words, students may falsely believe that no one person has responsibility to stop the bullying, absent a teacher or a parent.

Student-witnesses appear to have a central role in creating opportunities for bullying. In a study of bullying in junior and senior high schools in small Midwestern towns, 88 percent of students reported having observed bullying.14 While some researchers refer to witnesses as "bystanders," others use a more refined description of the witness role. In each bullying act, there is a victim, the ringleader bully, assistant bullies (they join in), reinforcers (they provide an audience or laugh with or encourage the bully), outsiders (they stay away or take no sides), and defenders (they step in, stick up for or comfort the victim).15 Studies suggest only between 10 and 20 percent of noninvolved students provide any real help when another student is victimized.16

Bullying Behavior

Despite country and cultural differences, certain similarities by gender, age, location, and type of victimization appear in bullying in the U.S. and elsewhere.

  • Bullying more often takes place at school than on the way to and from school.17
  • Boy bullies tend to rely on physical aggression more than girl bullies, who often use teasing, rumor-spreading, exclusion, and social isolation. These latter forms of bullying are referred to as "indirect bullying." Physical bullying (a form of "direct bullying") is the least common form of bullying, and verbal bullying (which may be "direct" or "indirect") the most common.18 Some researchers speculate that girls value social relationships more than boys do, so girl bullies set out to disrupt social relationships with gossip, isolation, silent treatment, and exclusion. Girls tend to bully girls, while boys bully both boys and girls.
  • Consistently, studies indicate that boys are more likely to bully than girls.
  • Some studies show that boys are more often victimized, at least during elementary school years; others show that bullies victimize girls and boys in near equal proportions.19
  • Bullies often do not operate alone. In the United Kingdom, two different studies found that almost half the incidents of bullying are one-on-one, while the other half involves additional youngsters.20
  • Bullying does not end in elementary school. Middle school seems to provide ample opportunities for bullying, although at lesser rates. The same is true of the beginning years of high school.
  • Bullying by boys declines substantially after age 15. Bullying by girls begins declining significantly at age 14. 21, † So interventions in middle and early high school years are also important.
  • Studies in Europe and Scandinavia show that some schools seem to have higher bullying rates than others. Researchers generally believe that bullying rates are unrelated to school or class size, or to whether a school is in a city or suburb (although one study found that reporting was higher in inner-city schools). Schools in socially disadvantaged areas seem to have higher bullying rates,22 and classes with students with behavioral, emotional or learning problems have more bullies and victims than classes without such students.23
  • There is a strong belief that the degree of the school principal's involvement (discussed later in this guide) helps determine the level of bullying.
  • There is some evidence that racial bullying occurs in the United States. In a nationally representative study combining data about bullying at and outside of school, 25 percent of students victimized by bullying reported they were belittled about their race or religion (eight percent of those victims were bullied frequently about it).24 The study also found that black youth reported being bullied less than their Hispanic and white peers. Racial bullying is also a problem in Canada and England. "In Toronto, one in eight children overall, and one in three of those in inner-city schools, said that racial bullying often occurred in their schools."25 In four schools—two primary, two secondary—in Liverpool and London, researchers found that Bengali and black students were disproportionately victimized.26

One of the things we do not yet know about bullying is whether certain types of bullying, for instance racial bullying or rumor spreading, are more harmful than other types. Clearly, much depends on the victim's vulnerability, yet certain types of bullying may have longer-term impact on the victim. It is also unclear what happens when a bully stops bullying. Does another student take that bully's place? Must the victim also change his or her behavior to prevent another student from stepping in? While specific studies on displacement have not been done, it appears that the more comprehensive the school approach to tackling bullying, the less opportunity there is for another bully to rise up.


Many of the European and Scandinavian studies concur that bullies tend to be aggressive, dominant and slightly below average in intelligence and reading ability (by middle school), and most evidence suggests that bullies are at least of average popularity.27 The belief that bullies "are insecure, deep down" is probably incorrect.28 Bullies do not appear to have much empathy for their victims.29 Young bullies tend to remain bullies, without appropriate intervention. "Adolescent bullies tend to become adult bullies, and then tend to have children who are bullies."30 In one study in which researchers followed bullies as they grew up, they found that youth who were bullies at 14 tended to have children who were bullies at 32, suggesting an intergenerational link.31 They also found that "[b]ullies have some similarities with other types of offenders. Bullies tend to be drawn disproportionately from lower socioeconomic-status families with poor child-rearing techniques, tend to be impulsive, and tend to be unsuccessful in school."32

In Australia, research shows that bullies have low empathy levels, are generally uncooperative and, based on self-reports, come from dysfunctional families low on love. Their parents tend to frequently criticize them and strictly control them.33 Dutch (and other) researchers have found a correlation between harsh physical punishments such as beatings, strict disciplinarian parents and bullying.34 In U.S. studies, researchers have found higher bullying rates among boys whose parents use physical punishment or violence against them.35

Some researchers suggest that bullies have poor social skills and compensate by bullying. Others suggest that bullies have keen insight into others' mental states and take advantage of that by picking on the emotionally less resilient.36 Along this line, there is some suggestion, currently being explored in research in the United States and elsewhere, that those who bully in the early grades are initially popular and considered leaders. However, by the third grade, the aggressive behavior is less well-regarded by peers, and those who become popular are those who do not bully. Some research also suggests that "[bullies] direct aggressive behavior at a variety of targets. As they learn the reactions of their peers, their pool of victims becomes increasingly smaller, and their choice of victims more consistent."37 Thus, bullies ultimately focus on peers who become chronic victims due to how those peers respond to aggression. This indicates that identifying chronic victims early on can be important for effective intervention.

A number of researchers believe that bullying occurs due to a combination of social interactions with parents, peers and teachers.38 The history of the parent-child relationship may contribute to cultivating a bully, and low levels of peer and teacher intervention combine to create opportunities for chronic bullies to thrive (as will be discussed later).

Incidents of Bullying

Bullying most often occurs where adult supervision is low or absent: schoolyards, cafeterias, bathrooms, hallways "Olweus (1994) found that there is an inverse relationship between the number of supervising adults present and the number of bully/victim incidents."40 The design of less-supervised locations can create opportunities for bullying. For instance, if bullying occurs in a cafeteria while students vie for places in line for food, line management techniques, perhaps drawn from crime prevention through environmental design, could limit the opportunity to bully. A number of studies have found that bullying also occurs in classrooms and on school buses, although less so than in recess areas and hallways. Upon greater scrutiny, one may find that in certain classrooms, bullying thrives, and in others, it is rare. Classroom bullying may have more to do with the classroom management techniques a teacher uses than with the number of adult supervisors in the room.

Other areas also offer opportunities for bullying. The Internet, still relatively new, creates opportunities for cyber-bullies, who can operate anonymously and harm a wide audience. For example, middle school, high school and college students from Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley area posted website messages that were

…full of sexual innuendo aimed at individual students and focusing on topics such as 'the weirdest people at your school.' The online bulletin boards had been accessed more than 67,000 times [in a two-week period], prompting a sense of despair among scores of teenagers disparaged on the site, and frustration among parents and school administrators…. One crying student, whose address and phone number were published on the site, was barraged with calls from people calling her a slut and a prostitute.41

A psychologist interviewed for the Los Angeles Times remarked on the harm of such Internet bullying:

It's not just a few of the kids at school; it's the whole world…."Anybody could log on and see what they said about you....What's written remains, haunting, torturing these kids.42

The imbalance of power here was not in the bully's size or strength, but in the instrument the bully chose to use, bringing worldwide publication to vicious school gossip.

Victims of Bullying

  • Most bullies victimize students in the same class or year, although 30 percent of victims report that the bully was older, and approximately ten percent report that the bully was younger.43
  • It is unknown the extent to which physical, mental or speech difficulties, eyeglasses, skin color, language, height, weight, hygiene, posture, and dress play a role in victim selection.44 One major study found "the only external characteristics...to be associated with victimization were that victims tended to be smaller and weaker than their peers."45 One study found that nonassertive youth who were socially incompetent had an increased likelihood of victimization.46 Having friends, especially ones who will help protect against bullying, appears to reduce the chances of victimization.47 A Dutch study found that "more than half of those who say they have no friends are being bullied (51%), vs. only 11 percent of those who say they have more than five friends."48

Consequences of Bullying

Victims of bullying suffer consequences beyond embarrassment. Some victims experience psychological and/or physical distress, are frequently absent and cannot concentrate on schoolwork. Research generally shows that victims have low self-esteem, and their victimization can lead to depression49 that can last for years after the victimization.50 In Australia, researchers found that between five and ten percent of students stayed at home to avoid being bullied. Boys and girls who were bullied at least once a week experienced poorer health, more frequently contemplated suicide, and suffered from depression, social dysfunction, anxiety, and insomnia.51 Another study found that adolescent victims, once they are adults, were more likely than nonbullied adults individuals to have children who are victims.52

Chronic Victims of Bullying

While many, if not most, students have been bullied at some point in their school career,53 chronic victims receive the brunt of the harm. It appears that a small subset of six to ten percent of school-age children are chronic victims,54 some bullied as often as several times a week.† There are more chronic victims in elementary school than in middle school, and the pool of chronic victims further shrinks as students enter high school. If a student is a chronic victim at age 15 (high school age), it would not be surprising to find that he or she has suffered through years of victimization. Because of the harm involved, anti-bullying interventions should include a component tailored to counter the abuse chronic victims suffer.

Several researchers suggest, although there is not agreement, that some chronic victims are "irritating" or "provocative" because their coping strategies include aggressively reacting to the bullying.55 The majority of chronic victims, however, are extremely passive and do not defend themselves. Provocative victims may be particularly difficult to help because their behavior must change substantially to lessen their abuse.

Both provocative and passive chronic victims tend to be anxious and insecure, "which may signal to others that they are easy targets."56 They are also less able to control their emotions, and more socially withdrawn. Tragically, chronic victims may return to bullies to try to continue the perceived relationship, which may initiate a new cycle of victimization. Chronic victims often remain victims even after switching to new classes with new students, suggesting that, without other interventions, nothing will change.57 In describing chronic victims, Olweus states: "It does not require much imagination to understand what it is to go through the school years in a state of more or less permanent anxiety and insecurity, and with poor self-esteem. It is not surprising that the victims' devaluation of themselves sometimes becomes so overwhelming that they see suicide as the only possible solution."58, †

School bullying takes many forms including assault, tripping, intimidation, rumor-spreading and isolation, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, destruction of another’s work, and name-calling. In this photo, a bully assaults the victim as another student watches. Studies suggest only between 10 and 20 percent of noninvolved students provide any real help when another student is victimized. Credit: Teri DeBruhl

Teenagers Bullying: What, Why, and How to Stop It ...

26-09-2020 · Teenagers bullying eachother is not good, ever. It’s a seriously problem, it leads some people to take drastic actions that can never be undone, and it spreads abuse patterns that create more bullies. If you see teenagers bullying, step in if you can, and just make yourself available for the victim, try to help them.


Bullying isn’t unique to teenagers. Children bully one another, and so do adults. During the teenage years, however, it can all be magnified to a point where it just feels unbearable.

Teenagers bullying one another is a serious problem in our society. We don’t have all of the answers, but we want everyone to consciously think about what they can do in their own little bubble to make things a little bit better.

Teenagers Bullying: It Isn’t Unique to This Age Group

When children are bullied at a young age, it can cause trauma that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, and we want to make it clear that while discussing bullying among teenagers, we are never trying to downplay or diminish bullying that occurs in any other age group. Bullying is bullying, but there are some things that are a bit more unique to the teenage experience, for example the base-level things that teens are already dealing with like finding their identity, trying to fit in, the stress of choosing a career path for the rest of their lives, dealing with love and relationships and the various pressures that come along with that, and doing all of this while a strange brew of hormones are holding the steering wheel.

It’s a lot to deal with, and bullying makes it feel absolutely impossible for some teenagers, and that’s very understandable. It’s important, however, to always remember that “it gets better” isn’t just a cliche, it’s true. Being bullied in high school sucks, it’s miserable, it can completely ruin the school experience… but someday, you’ll have a job, your own place to live, and total control over who you let into your life. You don’t have to walk those halls ever again, or stress about running into your bully, you can go to the places you want to go to, you can just stay home after work and play games, etc. As you get older, there may still be bullies in the world, but you have a lot more control over your surroundings, you’ll be wiser and more experienced how to deal with it, and it won’t feel the same as high school. It’s also a lot less common to encounter these types of people, since some of them will grow up and realize they are bullies and make changes (believe it or not, it can happen!)

But with all of that preamble out of the way, let’s dig a little deeper on the topic of teenage bullying and what you can do to stop it.

How to Prevent Cyberbullying for Teenagers

how to prevent cyberbullying for teenagers

Tyler, The Creator had a famous tweet from years ago that, paraphrased, said “How is cyberbullying real? Just walk away from the screen, just close your eyes.”

This is a very disconnected view from how cyberbullying works. When you’re a celebrity, and you have tons of friends around you, and tons of fans and people backing you up no matter what, it’s a lot easier to ignore the handful of haters compared to a teenager who is lonely, trying to make friends at school, feeling hopeless, and being harassed online. It’s simply not the same thing. You can turn off the screen, you can walk away, but you still need to face these people and it can be a matter of safety to know what people might be saying about you on the internet. Tyler’s comment has become a bit of a meme, but some people genuinely take it seriously and this ignores many of the issues surrounding bullying, cyberbullying, and the damage it can cause.

Are You Raising a Kid Is One of The Teenagers Bullying People?

Children will adopt behaviors that they see in their parents. Children who feel their parents are always angry and mad at them, or feel as if they’re bothersome to their parents, are more likely to go on to bully other people.

Another trait that makes kids less to bully is when their parents are more involved in their lives. If you have a parent who knows most of your friends and their parents, there’s a lower chance that your kid will bully anyone, and this network of parents and support also means that bullying can be stopped earlier on, since everyone knows eachother and is operating on the same team.

Here are some additional resources to help teens deal with cyberbullying:

The bully in the black mirror: Why more young Americans are cyber-bullying themselves by The Economist

The Connection Between Cyberbullying and Teenage Suicide: An Honors Thesis Honors Thesis via University of Maine

What Makes People Vulnerable to Cyberbullying on HeySigmund

Also via HeySigmund is the following statistic that shines a surprising light on how common cyberbullying is, and how terribly uncommon it is for it to get reported: “Nearly 3 out of 4 teens experienced some form of cyberbullying at least once during a 12 months period and only 1 in 10 of them reported the bullying to a parent or other adult. Nearly half of the sixth graders at two schools in the Los Angeles area reported that they were bullied by classmates during a 5-day period.”

How Bullying Affects Teens

The effects of bullying on teens are vast. Some teens are able to brush it off, for whatever the reason may be, but not everybody is capable of that. Somebody who gets impacted more by bullies isn’t “weaker”, it’s impossible to compare the experiences of different people. One kid may have been raised with more self-confidence to ignore bullies, but if someone has a worse time dealing with bullies, there are 1000 reasons that could cause that which aren’t the fault of the victim.

None the less, understanding the impact of bullying on teens can help you, or teens in your life, to do the work later on in life to counter these negative consequences of bullying.

Empathy for Teenage Bullies?

It’s fairly well researched and understood that people who become bullies are often victims, themselves. This isn’t always the case. However, it’s always the case that someone who behaves like a bully is having troubles of their own. They are behaving in antisocial behavior, they’re probably dealing with their own crippling insecurities.

Think about it this way. You’ve probably been insecure before, probably fairly often, about different things. Have you ever felt the need to destroy other people to feel better about yourself? Chances are that if you’ve ever done something like that, it’ not on the same level as a bully does it, right? So, that means that even through all of your own insecurities, you’ve never been so weakened and controlled by them that you’d try to hurt someone else, which tells us that your bully is truly suffering on a massive level. Again, this isn’t always the case, but more often than not, when a bully attacks someone, it’s basically shining a big spotlight on their own personal insecurities and failings as an individual.

Should you take solace in the fact that your bully is a miserable person who probably hates them self, or has other deficiencies in their character that are going to hold them back for the rest of their life, or at the very least will prevent them from living a full life with strong relationships, love, empathy, and other traits that make us human?

Having empathy and feeling bad for your bully is a tall order. It’s one thing to look at a broken person and feel bad for them, but it’s an entirely different thing to have that same feeling for a person who is making your life miserable.

You don’t have to have empathy for your bully. You don’t have to take their feelings into consideration. You don’t have to go out of your way to make their life any better at all.

But sometimes, if you can see them as a flawed person, it can help make more sense out of the situation.

It really depends on the severity of the bullying, too. Sometimes, someone is just kind of a jerk because they are actually jealous of you, or they see you as a threat, or they just never learned how else to act. Those are the types of situations where a bit of empathy and maybe extending an olive branch can help smooth things out. When you’re dealing with someone who is physically abusive, or very severe and on-going and malicious bullying, you really don’t owe that person anything, not even the consideration of trying to understand why they are the way they are. You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself, and to take the right steps to protect yourself from this person.

Other teenage bullying articles to read:

If you’re looking for more thoughts, studies, opinions, and tips for dealing with bullies in your teenage years, please check out the following teenage bullying articles.

Final Thoughts: Don’t Be One of the Teenagers Bullying Their Peers

Teenagers bullying eachother is not good, ever. It’s a seriously problem, it leads some people to take drastic actions that can never be undone, and it spreads abuse patterns that create more bullies. If you see teenagers bullying, step in if you can, and just make yourself available for the victim, try to help them. If you’re being bullied, please follow some of the resources linked above to learn more about what you can do to help yourself and to find support. If you think you might be a bully, hopefully learning about the harm you’re causing to people will encourage you to self-reflect a bit and to take the necessary steps to heal yourself so that you aren’t perpetuating the chain of teenagers bullying.

Bullying - why people bully and how to stop it

If you feel safe and confident, you can approach the bully about why their behaviour is not OK. If your child is being bullied: help your child stay focused on finding a solution; assure your child it’s not their fault; talk to your child about different ways to relate to the bully and practise with them through role play ; let your child know you will contact their school; If it’s violent ...

Key facts

  • Bullying is behaviour that is repeated and intended to cause psychological, social or physical harm.
  • Bullying can be harmful to your mental health, your self-esteem and your social relationships.
  • People who bully often have low self-esteem.
  • If you are being bullied or you know of someone who is being bullied, there are ways to stop it and places to go for advice and support.

Bullying is when people deliberately use words or actions repeatedly against an individual or a group to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. They usually want to make the person feel less powerful or helpless.

It can happen anywhere — at school, at work, at home, online, or via text messaging or email. Bullying can come in different forms, all of which cause distress and pain for the person who is being bullied.

Bullying can be:

  • physical, such as hitting, poking, tripping or pushing
  • verbal, such as name calling, insults or abuse
  • social (covert or hidden), such as lying about someone, spreading rumours, mimicking or deliberately excluding someone
  • psychological, such as threatening, manipulating or stalking behaviour
  • online, often referred to as cyberbullying, which means using technology such as email, mobile phones, chat rooms or networking sites to bully verbally, socially or psychologically. It can involve sharing of photos which upset or embarrass the person being bullied and taunting or malicious comments. Often people who bully online also bully in person.
  • behaviour at work that is physically, mentally or socially threatening. This can include intimidation, threats, exclusion, verbal or physical abuse.

Bullying is not the same as harassment. While harassment can be an element of bullying, harassment can be a one-off conflict or can happen between strangers. Bullying is repeated behaviour that intends to cause physical, social or psychological harm.

Why do people bully?

There are different reasons why people bully, including:

  • wanting to dominate others and improve their social status
  • having low self-esteem
  • having a lack of remorse or failing to recognise their behaviour as a problem
  • feeling angry or frustrated
  • struggling socially
  • being the victim of bullying themselves

Some children who bully may enjoy getting their own way. Others may like conflict and aggression. Some may be thoughtless, rather than deliberately hurtful. Some may have difficulties with health, schoolwork and self-esteem. And some may be emotionally neglected, bullied, abused or be experiencing violence themselves.

Bullies are more likely to have lifelong issues such as depression or problems with aggression. But early treatment can prevent this from happening.

Children can take on different roles in different circumstances. Those who are bullied in one situation may be the bully in another.

What are the signs my child is being bullied?

Bullying can happen to anyone at any age. Very few children tell anyone that they’re being bullied. They may feel weak, ashamed or frightened it will make the situation worse. Signs your child is possibly being bullied include:

  • not wanting to go to school
  • being unusually secretive and quiet
  • having no friends
  • appearing oversensitive or weepy
  • having angry outbursts
  • having damaged or missing belongings
  • having physical injuries like bruises, cuts or scratches
  • not sleeping properly
  • wetting the bed
  • becoming isolated and withdrawn
  • losing interest in normal activities
  • having physical aches and pains like headaches or stomach aches
  • receiving more messages than usual via social media

How might bullying affect me or my child?

Bullying affects everyone differently, but if you’re being bullied you may feel:

  • guilty because you think it’s your fault
  • hopeless because you don’t know how to get out of the situation
  • alone, with no one to help you
  • depressed and rejected by others
  • unsafe and afraid
  • confused and stressed
  • ashamed that it’s happening to you

Bullying can affect your mental health at any age. It can lead to loneliness, anxiety and depression in children. People who are bullied in the workplace have a higher risk than others of experiencing depression and having suicidal thoughts.

Remember, you have a right to feel safe and be treated with fairness and respect. Find out more about your rights on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

How can bullying be stopped?

If bullying is not challenged and stopped, it can contribute to a culture where bullying is tolerated and everyone feels powerless to stop it.

If you are the person being bullied, you may need to use a few different strategies, such as:

  • talking to a person you trust
  • taking someone you trust with you when you seek help or talk to the bully
  • writing what you want to say to the bully in an email or letter

If you feel safe and confident, you can approach the bully about why their behaviour is not OK.

If your child is being bullied:

  • help your child stay focused on finding a solution
  • assure your child it’s not their fault
  • talk to your child about different ways to relate to the bully and practise with them through role play
  • let your child know you will contact their school

If it’s violent or threatening, tell the police.

Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and a duty of care when it comes to your health and wellbeing at work. You can read more about workplace bullying on the Fair Work Commission’s website.

Resources and support

You can find information about bullying at school on the Bullying No Way! website and about cyberbullying on the Office of the eSafety Commissioner website.

Other languages

Do you prefer languages other than English? Health Translations offers translated factsheets on bullying:

  • Signs of bullying
  • Some facts about bullying and violence
  • Types of bullying

Last reviewed: March 2020

8 Reasons Why Kids Cyberbully Others

Knowing what motivates kids to cyberbully others is the key to prevention. Learn eight reasons why kids engage in cyberbullying.

preteen girls dealing with cyberbullying


Every day, cyberbullying impacts kids all over the world. In fact, there is no question that this growing issue must be addressed. But to end online bullying, you must first understand why kids are doing it. Their motives for lashing out in cyberspace can run the gamut from anger and revenge to a longing to fit in.

When kids have been bullied, they often seek revenge instead of coping with the situation in healthier ways. The motivation for these victims of bullying is to retaliate for the pain they have experienced. When this happens, these kids are often referred to as bully-victims.

Bully-victims feel justified in their actions because they, too, have been harassed and tormented.

These bully-victims want others to feel what they have felt and feel justified in doing so. By cyberbullying others, they also may feel a sense of relief and vindication for what they experienced. These kids will sometimes even go after their bully directly. Other times, they will target someone whom they perceive to be weaker or more vulnerable than them.

Bullying often revolves around a person’s social status at school. Some kids will cyberbully others based on the school’s perceived social ladder. For instance, a mean girl might get cyberbullied by an anonymous group of girls who are hoping to bring her down a notch or two.

Or, a mean girl might cyberbully a classmate who excels academically because she is jealous of her success. Other times, a teen might cyberbully a peer because they believes the victim stole their romantic partner. Whatever the reason, kids sometimes feel their cyberbullying behaviors are warranted and deserved. Consequently, they usually do not feel remorse or guilt for cyberbullying.

Kids who are bored and looking for entertainment will sometimes resort to cyberbullying to add some excitement and drama to their lives. They also might choose to cyberbully because they lack attention and supervision from parents. As a result, the Internet becomes their only source of entertainment and an outlet for getting attention.

Instead of finding a positive way to spend their time, cyberbullies entertain themselves by creating digital drama.

Sometimes kids will cyberbully to fit in with a group of friends or a clique. As a result, these kids succumb to peer pressure in order to be accepted at school, even if it means going against their better judgment.

These bullies are more concerned with fitting in than they are worried about the consequences of cyberbullying. Other times, groups of friends will cyberbully together because there is a false sense of security in numbers.

When teens believe lots of people are bullying online, they are more likely to engage in the behavior themselves. In their minds, it doesn’t seem like a significant problem because their peer group accepts the behavior. What’s more, kids will cyberbully others to fit in with a group that regularly harasses people online.

Cyberbullying can be a manifestation of social status. Kids who are popular often make fun of kids who are less popular. Likewise, kids who are attractive might single out others they feel are unattractive. They use the Internet to perpetuate relational aggression and mean behavior.

They also will spread rumors and gossip and may even ostracize others through cyberbullying. Meanwhile, kids who are trying to climb the social ladder at school or gain some social power will resort to cyberbullying to get attention. They also might cyberbully to diminish the social status of another person.

Cyberbullies have a range of different motivations, but the general goal is to increase their own power by reducing the power of someone else.

The anonymity of the Internet gives kids a false sense of security. They believe if they post things anonymously that they won’t get caught. What’s more, kids who cyberbully do not necessarily see the reaction of the victim, which makes it extremely easy to say and do things they would not otherwise do. In fact, a significant number of kids who do not bully face-to-face will still engage in cyberbullying.

Most kids who cyberbully believe it isn’t a big deal. Because they do not see the pain that they cause, they feel little or no remorse for their actions. In fact, several studies have found that a large number of students who engaged in online bullying reported not feeling anything for the victims after bullying online. Instead, many kids reported that online bullying made them feel funny, popular, and powerful.

To prevent your kids from cyberbullying others, be sure you talk to them about the consequences of bullying others. Aside from the ramifications for online bullying, make sure they know how cyberbullying makes others feel. By instilling empathy and empowering them to make good choices, you will reduce the likelihood that they will engage in this damaging behavior.

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  1. Varjas K, Talley J, Meyers J, Parris L, Cutts H. High school students' perceptions of motivations for cyberbullying: An exploratory study. West J Emerg Med. 2010;11(3):2690-273.

  2. PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. How does peer pressure impact bullying behavior?.

  3. Peebles E. Cyberbullying: Hiding behind the screen. Paediatr Child Health. 2014;19(10):527–528. doi:10.1093/pch/19.10.527

  4. Steffgen G, König A, Pfetsch J, Melzer A. Are cyberbullies less empathic? Adolescents' cyberbullying behavior and empathic responsiveness. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2011;14(11):643-8. doi:10.1089/cyber.2010.0445