Bullying: How and Why We Should Prevent It

We can train adults to respond to bullying quickly and effectively. When adults lead anti-bullying efforts in schools, the results are reductions in bullying and more positive student attitudes toward school, increased student willingness to seek help, and less tolerant attitudes toward bullying.

We can teach friendship skills to lessen both the likelihood of victimization and its impact. Studies show that students who have at least one friend are less likely to be bullied, and when they are, those who have a good friend have fewer behavioral problems as a result.

We can teach social skills so that students know how to respond to bullying. If students are passive, they are more likely to be a target of bullying, but if they are aggressive, the bullying can escalate. The middle ground is being assertive by standing up for themselves and their peers.

We can teach responsible bystander skills so that bullying is not encouraged. Since children look to others for how to respond to bullying, their peers’ reactions can make or break a bullying situation. Stand around and watch or laugh, and the bullying is prolonged; intervene appropriately, and the bullying tends to stop.

Some Facts About Bullying

Here are a few reasons why preventing bullying is so important to us:

  • Nearly one in three students ages 12 to 18 reports being bullied at school (Robers, Zhang, & Truman, 2012).
  • An estimated 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students (Bullying Statistics, 2010).
  • During the 2009–2010 school year, nearly one in four public schools reported that bullying occurred among students on a daily or weekly basis (Robers, Zhang, & Truman, 2012).
  • Victims of bullying are four times more likely to earn failing grades than their nonbullied peers (DeVoe & Kaffenberger, 2005).
  • One in five teens reports being cyber bullied through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices (Hinjuda & Patchin, 2010).


Bullying Statistics. (2010). Bullying statistics 2010 [data set]. Retrieved from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-statistics-2010.html

DeVoe, J. F. & Kaffenberger, S. (2005). Student reports of bullying: Results from the 2001 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCES 2005–310). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Hinjuda, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Cyberbullying fact sheet: Identification, prevention, and response. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from http://cyberbullying.us/Cyberbullying_Identification_Prevention_Response.pdf

Robers, S., Zhang, J., & Truman, J. (2012). Indicators of school crime and safety: 2011 (NCES 2012-002/NCJ 236021). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, and Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

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