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Cover of Bullying Book against a orange backgroundDespite all of the media attention that has been given to the sometimes tragic consequences of bullying, you only have to read the comments sections in online articles about bullying to realize how many adults remain in the dark without truly understanding the negative impact that bullying has on so many children every day.

Below are some of the facts and statistics that we have found to make the biggest impact on how adults and parents come to realize bullying as a problem not only in their community but throughout the entire country as well.

Bullying Facts and Statistics

  • 160,000 kids in the US stay home every day because of bullying. [1]
  • Eighty-three percent of bullying incidents receive no intervention and continue to happen. [2]
  • Those who bully are four times more likely to engage in criminal behavior in adulthood and often develop suicidal thoughts [3] [4]
  • There are three described forms of bullying: physical, verbal, and social. Male bullying more commonly consists of verbal and physical abuse, whereas female bullying more commonly involves more verbal abuse and social bullying by spreading of rumors. [3]
  • Only half of educators have received training on how to handle bullying situations [5]. According to founder Bill Belsey [6], not teaching educators how to handle bullying is like not training physicians to deal with the flu!
  • A 1998 survey of 58 high schools conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Education revealed that 22 percent of gay respondents had skipped school in the past month because they felt unsafe there. [7]
  • Roughly 80% of students who experienced bullying in 2007 reported it occurring inside the school grounds. [8]
  • Children are more likely to experience verbal assaults targeting appearances and behaviors rather than race or religious affiliations. In many cases, bullies felt that the victim was at fault for these behaviors or appearances. [9] [10]
  • A study published by the National School Board Administration reports that only 33.1% of the middle and high school students surveyed agree or strongly agrees that teachers can stop bullying. This means that 2/3 of these students are not confident that they can get help from their teachers. [11]
  • In 2005 roughly one out of ten Internet users ages 10-17 had been a victim of cyberbullying and “on-line harassment”. Fifty percent of victims who were bullied off-line and on-line by the same people reported being very distressed by the incidents. [12]

4 Simple Solutions We All Can Do To Stop It

Beginning to foster a culture of caring, respect, and awareness starts with a few simple steps that make the biggest change:

1. Increase Your Own Awareness

Realizing when bullying is taking place is a necessary first step in finding solutions. By understanding the scope and roots of the problem, you will get an idea of how to start proactively working to address bullying, including teasing, name-calling, shunning, and physical intimidation or assault. Does your school, sports club, or youth group create a culture of respect, caring, and safety for everyone? Are children appropriately supervised during recess periods, lunch and before and after school?  Do educators have adequate support and training for addressing bullying?  (See Turning Prevention Policies into Powerful Action)

2. Respond Forceful and Respectfully

If you see bullying take place or hear about it, remember that your reactions provide a context for how the kids involved will respond to and interpret the situation. Kids need to see adults being powerful and respectful in responding to problems. If parents or teachers get upset and overreact, kids are more likely to get upset and might even avoid telling adults about future problems. Staying calm, respectful, and persistent will make you more effective in talking to administrators, educators youth group leaders, or parents about their response to a bullying problem. Not everybody reacts in a helpful way when first approached so be prepared to persist. (See Bullying in Schools: Seven Solutions for Parents)

3. Teach Your Kids Protective Skills

Positive peer relationship skills help to prevent and stop bullying. Tell your children that they have the confidence and power to walk away from any situation. Making safe choices like stepping out of a line or changing seats is sometimes all that is needed to make a bullying problem stop. Ensure that your child is persistent in getting help and is prepared to continue to ask for help even if an adult does not respond immediately. (See Face Bullying with Confidence)

4. Become Involved

Know what other parents and adults in your community are doing to stop bullying. Insist that your child’s school has a mandatory district-wide anti-bullying policy and educates their staff on diffusing and recognizing all forms and types of youth bullying. Write to your county- and state-level officials telling them of the seriousness of bullying and demand they make it a top priority in their campaigns. (See Creating a United Stand)

The Kidpower “People Safety” Solutions book, Bullying – What Kids Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe provides highly effective tools for implementing all four of these stepsFor more information, see

We also have a wealth of free resources on our website:




[3] Overpeck et al. 2001. “Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth”. JAMA. 2001;285(16):2094-2100. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.16.2094. Link to Full Article




[7] Chase, Anthony. “Violent Reaction; What do Teen Killers have in Common?” In These Times. 9 July 2001

[8] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2009”. Surveillance Summaries, 2010. MMWR 2010;59(No. SS-#).

[9] Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 2010. “Weight Status as a Predictor of Being Bullied in Third Through Sixth Grades”. Link to Full Article


[11] Perkins, B. K. (2006). Where We Learn: The CUBE Survey of Urban School Climate. Alexandria, VA: Council of Urban Boards of Education: National School Boards Association.

[12] David-Ferdon C., PhD.; Hertz M. F., M.S. (2009). Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Researchers. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control.

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Published: March 9, 2012   |   Last Updated: May 12, 2016

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.