Bullying Facts
Bullying Facts

57 Interesting Bullying Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published September 15, 2016Updated February 26, 2021
  • Half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years. More than 10% are bullied regularly.d[3]
  • More parents are allowing their young children to undergo plastic surgery to combat bullying. For example, Samantha Shaw, a 1st grader, underwent surgery to get her ears pinned back to prevent her from being bullied.[12]
  • Over 30% of children who suffer a food allergy report having been bullied at school. While verbal abuse was the most common form of bullying, 40% reported having been physically threatened, such as having the allergen thrown or waved at them or being touched by the allergen. Food allergies affect an estimated three million children.[13]
  • Girls bully in groups more than boys do.[11]
  • Though girls tend to use more indirect, emotional forms of bullying, research indicates that girls are becoming more physical than they have in the past.[11]
  • Bully Etymology Fact
    The word "bully" is from the Dutch boel, meaning "lover; brother"
  • The word “bully” was first used in 1530 and originally applied to both genders and meant “sweetheart.” It is from the Dutch boel, meaning “lover” or “brother.” Around the seventeenth century, the term began to mean “fine fellow,” “blusterer,” and then “harasser of the weak.”[8]
  • Boys tend to bully according to group, such as “athlete” versus “non-athlete.” Girls tend to bully according to social status, such as “popular” vs. “non-popular.”[18]
  • Bullying happens not just in the United States but also all over the world. International researchers have demonstrated that bullying in schools is universal.[1]
  • Several factors increase the risk of a child being bullied, including parental over-control, illness or disability, passivity, social phobia, agoraphobia, and higher levels and expression of general anxiety.[10]
  • Researchers have found that bullying roles (those who bully and their victims) remain fairly stable throughout school. For example, even after switching to a new classroom, victims of bullying continued to be victims. However, by the age of 23, the roles become less stable and victims of bullies are not as harassed or socially isolated.[14]
  • The average bullying episode lasts only 37 seconds. Teachers notice or intervene in only one in 25 incidents.[16]
  • Children who have a learning disability or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely than other children to be bullied. They also are slightly more likely than others to bully.[4]
  • “Bully-victims” are students who can be both a bully and a victim. They often have been victimized and then begin inflicting the same behavior on others. Those who are both bully and victim are at a higher risk than either bullies or victims for depression, high-conflict relationships, substance abuse, hyperactive behavior, and school truancy.[16]
  • Researchers note that if a victim fights a bully and the bully wins, this loss will only make matters worse for the victim. Consequently, researchers argue that fighting back should not be encouraged. Instead, the child should be encouraged to walk away and tell an adult if he feels someone is about to hurt him.[16]
  • Facts about Bullies
    Teen bullies are more likely to become adult criminals
  • Research by Fight Crime/Invest in Kids reports that 60% of boys who bullied from first grade through ninth grade were convicted of at least one crime by age 24 and 40% had three or more convictions by age 24.[17]
  • Those who felt bullied in 6th grade were more likely to report feelings of loneliness six years later. Those who bullied in 6th grade felt more overtly aggressive in 12th grade.[14]
  • Children with medical conditions that affect their appearance, such as spinal bifida and cerebral palsy, are more likely to be bullied.[4]
  • Children who are obese are more likely to be bullied. Additionally, overweight and obese girls are more likely to be physically bullied.[6]
  • Diabetic children who are dependent on insulin may be more prone to peer bullying.[4]
  • Over 83% of adults who stuttered as children said they had been teased or bullied. Approximately 71% said that bullying happened at least once a week.[4]
  • According to disability, harassment, civil, and criminal laws, bullying can easily become a crime.[11]
  • If a school district does not take reasonable and appropriate steps to stop a child from being bullied, the district may be violating federal, state, and local laws. For more information, parents can contact the U.S. Department of Education Office or the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.[11]
  • Teens who are gay are often subjected to such intense bullying that they do not receive an adequate education. They’re often embarrassed or ashamed to report the abuse.[5]
  • Many adults who were bullying victims report that over time, feelings of unhappiness and shame decreased. However, those who remembered bullying as intensely painful continued to show low self-esteem, depression, pathological perfection, and greater neuroticism.[14]
  • Bully Sucide Fact
    Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims

  • Gay teens are three times more likely than heterosexual teens to report having been bullied. In contrast, gay teens were about 80% less likely than heterosexuals to say they had bullied someone else.[5]
  • Bullies are more likely to engage in vandalism, shoplifting, truancy, and substance abuse than students who do not bully during early childhood. There is also a direct correlation between substance abuse and gun violence and bullying behavior.[16]
  • Megan Meier hanged herself three weeks before her 14th birthday in 2006 after receiving cruel messages on MySpace. A mother of one of her friends had created a false MySpace account to send Megan harassing emails. The bullying mother was indicted on the incident but was acquitted.[16]
  • Overly aggressive and overly permissive parents are equally likely to have children who bully.[16]
  • Research clearly indicates that children as young as age 5 who continually observe bullying that goes unchecked or ignored by adults are at greater risk of becoming bullies themselves.o[16]
  • There is a connection between bullying and being exposed to violence. Unfortunately, by the time an average child enters kindergarten, he will have witnessed 8,000 murders on television.o[16]
  • While teachers say they intervened 71% of the time in bullying incidents, students report that teachers intervened only 25% of the time.[16]
  • School Bully Facts
    Bullying in school is usually a hidden problem

  • Boys are least likely to report bullying.[11]
  • Cyberbullying that is sexual can result in the bully being registered as a sex offender.[16]
  • Some cyberbullies think that if they use a fake name, they won’t get caught. But there are many ways to track such bullies. Additionally, the things that bullies post online can affect college applications and getting a job in the future.[16]
  • The number of adolescents who experience cyberbullying varies from 10%-40% or more, depending on the age of the group and how cyberbullying is technically defined.[16]
  • Cyberbullying can be very different from bullying. First, victims often do not know who is bullying them or why, because the cyberbullies can hide their identity with anonymous emails or screen names. Second, cyberbullying can go viral, which means a larger number of people are aware of the bullying via the Internet. Third, it is easier to be cruel using technology because the bullies do not have to see the immediate response of their victims. Finally, many parents and teachers are not technologically savvy enough to be aware of what is going on online.[9]
  • There are typically three types of bullying: social (excluding victims from activities, rumors), verbal (threatening, taunting, teasing, hate speech), and physical (kicking, hitting, punching, choking).[16]
  • Mean Girl Fact
    When girls bully, their tactics can be quiet and covert
  • When boys bully, they tend to use more threats and physical intimidation on both boys and girls. Girls are usually more verbal and tend to target other girls.[3]
  • Bullying can occur anywhere there is a perceived or real imbalance of power, ranging from in the home to an international level.[11]
  • The two students involved in the 1999 Columbine massacre were described as gifted students who had been bullied for years. During the school shooting, the boys killed 13 people, injured 24, and then killed themselves.[16]
  • Jingoism, or extreme patriotism, often leads to international bullying.[16]
  • Researchers note that bullying escalates in the later years of elementary school, peaks in middle school, and then dissipates by high school. They also note that 6th grade is the worst year for bullying.[11]
  • Academically gifted students, especially those with high verbal aptitude, are often bullied and are more likely than less gifted students to suffer emotionally.[2]
  • In 2007, the five worst states for bullying in kindergarten through 12th grade were (1) California, (2) New York, (3) Illinois, (4) Pennsylvania, and (5) Washington.[7]
  • Every day, 160,000 students skip school because they are afraid they will be bullied.[7]
  • Thirty percent of students who say they have been bullied said they sometimes had brought weapons to school.l[11]
  • Of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the U.S. Secret Service, bullying was involved in 2/3 of the cases.[16]
  • Students see an estimated four out of every five bullying occurrences at school and join in about 3/4 of the time.[11]
  • It is a myth that bullying will most likely go away when it is ignored. Ignoring bullies reinforces to them that they can bully without consequence.[16]
  • It is likely that if someone was bullied in school, they will also be bullied in the workforce.[14]
  • Celebrities who report being bullied in high school include Lady Gaga (who was thrown in a garbage can), Rosario Dawson (for being flat chested), Fred Durst (known as an underdog), Kate Winslet (for being chubby), and Michael Phelps (for his gangly form and big ears).[17]
  • A 2007 poll found that 1/3 of workers, or 54 million Americans, reported workplace bullying.o[16]
  • Cyberbullying Fact
    Teen girls face more online harassment than almost any other group
  • Only 1 in 10 victims of cyberbullying tell a parent. Fewer than 1 in 5 cyberbullying incidents are reported to the police.[16]
  • An estimated 40%-75% of bullying in schools takes place during breaks, such as during recess, at lunchtime, in the hallways, or in the restrooms.[16]
  • According to a 2004 survey of 4th through 8th grade students, 53% of children reported that they used the Internet to say something negative about another child.[16]
  • Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and then declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.[1]
  • Globally, over 1/3 of young teens experience bullying in school. Bullying affects children everywhere, across all countries and across all income levels.[15]

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