Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying often occurs repeatedly over time. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 19% of students grades 9-12 report being bullied on school property in 2017. Many severe and long-term issues can be caused by bullying, for both the victim and perpetrator. The three types of bullying include: verbal, social, and physical bullying. Verbal bullying behaviors include teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, and threatening. Social bullying can include purposefully leaving someone out, telling someone not to be friends with someone else, spreading rumors, and embarrassing someone in public. Physical bullying consists of hitting, kicking, pinching, tripping, spitting, pushing, and other acts of physical violence.
Bullying can often make a child feel helpless and feel as though they must handle the situation alone. National data shows that adults were only notified of bullying in less than 40% of bullying incidents. When parents, teachers, and other adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior, they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can help prevent bullying over time. Bullying can be prevented by talking about it, building a safe environment for youth, and creating community and school-wide bullying prevention plans and consequences.