Unfortunately, bullying is a huge problem among young people. Whether you are walking down the halls, eating lunch or riding the bus, you may witness someone being bullied. You could even be the victim. Bullying is not an acceptable behavior, and if someone bullies you, you do have options to peacefully deal with the situation.
First, it’s important for you to understand bullying. Bullying occurs when someone hurts, scares or forces you to do something that’s against your beliefs or better judgment. Bullying comes in physical, mental and verbal forms. Physical bullying is when someone is kicked, hit, pushed or beaten by another person. Verbal bullying includes name calling, taunting, teasing and threatening. Bullying may affect you mentally when people spread rumors about you or try to destroy your friendships or relationship with others. This can occur face to face, by email, texting or instant messaging. When you are bullied (threatened, harassed, picked on) through a computer or cell phone, it is known as cyberbullying.
Both boys and girls can be bullies and can cause their victims to experience all types of negative feelings, including loneliness, low self-esteem, depression or embarrassment. In more serious cases, some young people have even committed suicide.
If you find yourself or someone else as the victim of a bully, you should share your feelings and your situation with a caring adult. Remember your teachers, principals, guidance counselors and parents are there to listen and help. If you are afraid to report the bully or embarrassed to discuss the situation in front of others, ask an adult to talk with you in private. From there, you can work together on the best way to deal with the issue.
Don’t worry about being perceived by your peers as a tattler or snitch. There’s a big difference between “tattling” and “telling on someone.” A person who tattles is deliberately trying to get someone in trouble. Telling on someone is intended to protect the well-being of yourself and others. You or someone you know deserves having a positive experience in life without being stressed out by bullying.
FACTS ON BULLYING
· An estimated 160,000 students miss school every day due to a fear of bullying or harassment.
· Bullying causes fear and creates a climate of disrespect in schools. It has a negative impact on student learning.
· There appears to be a strong relationship between bullying as a youth and experiencing legal and criminal problems as an adult. One study showed 60 percent of those characterized as a bully in grades 6-9 had one or more criminal convictions by age 24.
· The National Threat Assessment Center found that the attackers in more than two thirds of 37 mass school shootings felt “persecuted, bullied, threatened, attached, or injured by others”.
· Recent surveys show that American children eight to 15 years of age rate bullying as a greater problem than racism, sexual pressure or the use of drugs & alcohol.
· Bullying takes place most often at school and where there is no or little adult supervision.
· Bullying peaks in middle school and starts to decline in high school. However, it never disappears completely.
· Boys tend to bully boys and girls. Girls tend to bully other girls.
· In middle school, boys who are more passive or less physically mature than their peers are most often the target of bullies. Girls who physically mature early are most often the target of bullies.
For more information on bullying and the Kentucky 4-H Anti-Bullying curriculum, contact Raymond Cox, agent for 4-H/Youth Development at the Harlan County Extension 4-H Annex Offices at 573-4464 or 273-0835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.