Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance, and the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
Both kids who are bullied, and kids who bully others, may have serious lasting problems, such as:
- Depression and anxiety. Signs of these include increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
- Health complaints
- Decreased academic achievement and attendance
Bystanders can take positive actions to prevent bullying and to address it while it is happening or after it occurs. Parents, teachers, and other caring adults can recommend safe ways that bystanders can prevent, intervene, or address bullying.
Ways to prevent bullying include:
- Being inclusive by welcoming others to join activities and groups.
- Being a role model for pro-social behavior by showing kindness, respect, and empathy for others.
- Walking or sitting with or near vulnerable kids who may be targets of bullying.
- Getting involved with bullying prevention efforts at school or in the community.
Bystanders can intervene during a bullying incident by:
- Defending the target of the bullying.
- Intervening as a group.
- Change the subject.
- Questioning the bullying behavior.
- Using humor to lighten up a serious situation.
- Openly stating an objection to bullying.
- Stating approval of the victim and validating his or her social status.
Bystanders can address bullying after it happens by:
- Reaching out privately to the target of the bullying to express support or concern.
- Reporting the bullying to a trusted adult, teacher, or school administrator.
- Reaching out privately to the person doing the bullying to express concern, if they feel safe doing so.
Talk with your School Liaison, Exceptional Family Member Program, or Youth Programs to get involved in clubs, events, and activities where you can gain confidence and apply skills that help to prevent, intervene, and address bullying.Learn more about Standing Together to Prevent Bullying here.