Bullying - Fact Sheet-1

Bullying is "aggressive behavior or intentional harmdoing carried out repeatedly and over time between one or more [persons] where there is an imbalance of power," (Olweus, 1994) This may include physical abuse, taunts, name-calling, put-downs, threats and intimidation, extortion or theft, exclusion from peer group.(1) (FCE Lesson on Bullying) SuEllen Fried adds sexual harassment, and also states, "If children [or adults] say they are hurting, isn't that enough?"(2)

Bullying is increasingly prevalent in the media in a way that is out of proportion with reality, but which is also helping to shape the future reality. This is exemplified through abusive language and behavior, incidents of violence as an acceptable substitute for effective communications, and by the emphasis on violence, half-truth and the bizarre as a means of increasing sales. The population most at risk of being influenced is the population with the lowest defenses to counterbalance this barrage on thinking and behavior.

Young bullies often grow up to become adult bullies.

Bullying is a form of abuse usually associated with children, but is also an adult behavior.

Bullying incorporates verbal, emotional, mental, and/or physical aspects.

Abuse nearly always escalates unless intervention causes a change.

Verbal abuse nearly always leads to physical abuse.

Bullying in the workplace leads to discord, loss of employees, depression, health problems, and endangerment from within and from outside the work environment.

Bullying is experienced in all aspects of society including schools, fraternities, families, employees/supervisors, religious and civic organizations, and politics. Bullying occurs child:child; adult:adult; parent:child; adult child:elderly parent; youth worker:child; parent:teacher. Depending on the circumstances, either may be victim or bully.

From the United School Administrators of Kansas "The Memo" March/April; Page 4.

Boys initiate 78% of teasing and bullying; boys and girls are equally on the receiving end.

In one study, 65% of boys considered bullies in second grade had least one felony conviction by age 24.

A telephone advice line for children in the United Kingdom lists bullying as one of the most common problems. In 1995, Japan reported more than 20,000 incidents of bullying, with 11 children committing suicide.

Bullies typically have a need for power and control, view any accidental encounter as a deliberate act of disrespect, lack empathy for others. Many bullies are victims of low-self-esteem, neglect, abuse or overly indulgent parents.

Young children need to learn and experience ways to express their feelings and needs while respecting others. Children who bully often do not know how to interact in a friendly manner. This failure at an early age is reinforced by victims who enable the the bully because the victims have not learned how to stand up for themselves, and others failed to intervene in a way which might change learned behavior. Bullying which is successful tends to be copied as a way to get results.

1. Elaine M. Johannes, "Youth Violence: Beginning with Bullying," Kansas State University Research and Extension, Office of Community Health, Year 2000 Lesson for Kansas Family & Community Education (KAFCE), Participants Guide, p 1

2. SuEllen Fried and Paula Fried, Bullies & Victims: "Helping Your Child Through the Schoolyard Battlefield" (M. Evans and Company, Inc. New York, New York 1996)