National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. According to statistics one in five children admit to being bullied and bullying is not only isolated as a childhood problem but also affects adolescents and adults as well. Whether it is bullying on the playground, on social media or in the workplace; bullying occurs on an everyday basis and can create a lot of emotional scars later on in life. Historically, bullying had been viewed as “a childhood rite of passage” that “made kids tougher,” but the reality has always been that bullying can leave devastating and often long-term effects such as a loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression for those involved. There are four main types of bullying that occur and they include physical, verbal, relational (efforts to harm the reputation or relationships of the targeted individual), and damage to property.
Taking a look at the statistics
- 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more
- 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.220% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying
- 15% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.
- 55.2% of LGBTQ students experienced cyberbullying
The consequences associated with bullying
The link between bullying and suicide among young people is well established, making it incredibly important for parents and teachers to learn how to spot the signs of depression caused by cyber 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 popular Netflix documentary 13 Reason Why was viewed by millions of viewers around the globe and although it is known as a controversial film about suicide among high school adolescents; it did shed light on the important link between cyber bullying and suicide. In the past, bullying was seen as just a regular part of growing up but recent studies have begun to uncover just how damaging emotional abuse from one’s peers can be:
According to the CDC, suicide is the third most common cause of death among young people, with the total number of annual deaths reaching as high as 4,400. While the number of suicide deaths is alarmingly high, there are an additional 440,000 suicide attempts each year by young people.
A recent Yale University study found that victims of bullying are between 2 and 9 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than people who are not bullied.
An ABC News survey discovered that almost 30 percent of young people are either bullies or bullied by others.
How to stop bullying and seek help
If you are a young person being bullied on social media, the most important thing to remember is that you are not to blame for your abuse. The occasional argument with a peer is an unavoidable part of life, but no one deserves to be treated with constant cruelty.
If you are uncomfortable with confronting the bully directly, know that there are people out there that you can reach out to for help. If the bullying ever crosses the line into threats of violence, save the written records and consider contacting law enforcement.
If you believe that a young person in your care is the victim of either online or offline bullying, you have a responsibility to help end the abuse. As upsetting as it can be to see someone treated unfairly, it’s important to remain thoughtful in your response.
What adults don’t always realize is that they can make the situation much worse by acting rashly. If the teen’s bullies were to find out that even a discreet meeting with school authorities took place, the abuse could potentially escalate.
There are a number of ways you can help a young person who is being bullied on social media, but if you believe that a teen is at risk for suicide, reach out to a mental health professional immediately.