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The Facts About Bullying

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Researchers who have studied bullying and other kinds of harassment among children have come to several common conclusions:

  • About 10 percent to 15 percent of children say they are regularly bullied.
  • Bullying takes place most frequently in school.
  • At school, bullying occurs most often where there is little or no adult supervision--hallways, the playground, the cafeteria, and in the classroom before the bell rings.
  • Most bullying is verbal rather than physical.
  • Bullying begins in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and slows down again in high school. It does not, however, disappear altogether.
  • Boys bully both boys and girls. Girls tend to bully other girls.
  • While boys are more often the perpetrators and victims of direct bullying, girls tend to bully in more indirect ways. They might manipulate friendships, ostracize classmates from a group, or spread malicious rumors.
  • Both bullies and onlookers tend to blame the victims for the treatment they receive.
  • Although most victims don't look very different from their classmates, they are taunted most often because of their physical appearance.
  • Boys who are chronically victimized tend to be more passive and physically weaker than their tormenters. Bullies accuse them of being homosexuals. In middle schools, girls who mature early are particular victims of harassment.
  • Children are uncomfortable and confused about bullying. They say they don't like it, but they also insist that most bullying is done in fun.


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