The act of “bullying” has been around for ages. Bullies and “mean kids” have been around forever, but technology now gives them a whole new platform for their actions. Unfortunately, it’s become quite an epidemic and cyber-bullying has really taken it to a whole new level. Rumors and lies for example, aren’t just spread through the halls and at recess. With the internet and technology, bullying can go viral and quickly reach a large amount of children and teens. Schools have implemented a “zero-tolerance policy” but with the growing rate of social media, many teens are connecting to various sites outside of school walls, creating more cyber-bullying cases than ever before. Bullying can have devastating effects both emotionally and physically.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and a time to focus on, and raise awareness of, bullying.  During this month, many groups across the country will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of bullying. The goal is to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages.

If your child has been a victim of bullying or has been accused of bullying, please contact Schulze Law. We can help answer any questions and assist with the legalities involving your situation.

Be sure to check out this link and visit Stomp Out Bullying on ways to get involved this month and do your part to stop bullying!

What is bullying?

According to, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Types of bullying according to

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:

  • Teasing
  • Name-calling
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

  • Leaving someone out on purpose
  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

  • Hitting/kicking/pinching
  • Spitting
  • Tripping/pushing
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things
  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. Cyberbullying can include:

  • Text, tweet, or response to something online that is harsh, mean, or cruel
  • Impersonating a victim online or posting personal information, photos, or videos designed to hurt or embarrass another person
  • Creating a fake account, webpage, or online persona with the sole intention to harass and bully

According to the statistics, bullying is extremely prevalent. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do something about it! Check out some of the staggering statistics:

  • Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. (org)
  • More than 160,000 U.S. students stay home from school each day from fear of being bullied. (Pacer Center)
  • The most common reason cited for being harassed is a student’s appearance or body size. Two out of five teens feel that they are bullied because of the way that they look. (org)
  • Bullying directly affects a student’s ability to learn. Students who are bullied find it difficult to concentrate, show a decline in grades, and lose self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. (Pacer Center)
  • Students who are bullied report more physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, than other students. (Pacer Center)
  • Students can be especially effective in bullying intervention. More than 55% of bullying situations will stop when a peer intervenes. (Pacer Center)
  • 56% of students have personally felt some sort of bullying at school. Between 4th and 8th grade in particular, 90% of students are victims of bullying. (org)
  • In some cases, bullying has led to devastating consequences, such as school shootings and suicide. (Pacer Center)

With all the rapid advancements in technology, cyberbullying is relatively new, and parents, schools and law enforcement are having to quickly learn how to navigate these waters. Recent studies about cyberbullying rates have found that about one in four teens has been the victim of cyberbullying, and about one in six admit to having cyberbullied someone.

According to Signs of cyberbullying vary, but may include:

  • Being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone
  • Being very secretive or protective of one’s digital life
  • Withdrawal from family members, friends, and activities
  • Avoiding school or group gatherings
  • Slipping grades and “acting out” in anger at home
  • Changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite
  • Wanting to stop using the computer or cellphone
  • Being nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message, text, or email
  • Avoiding discussions about computer or cellphone activities

How Can We Help?

  1. Block the bully. Most devices will have privacy settings that will allow you to block communications from specific people.
  2. Although it may be tempting, DO NOT respond or retaliate. Generally, this will only add fuel to the fire and continue to perpetuate the issue.
  3. Make sure your child knows that it’s not their fault. No one deserves to be repeatedly treated cruelly.
  4. Save the evidence. The one thing about bullying online or on phones is that it can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You can save that evidence in case things escalate.
  5. Be aware of your child’s online activity. Even if you trust your child, you can’t trust everyone they may come in contact with online. Check their postings and the sites they visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online. Keep an eye out even before any bullying takes place.
  6. Limit access to technology. Don’t let their technology get out of hand. Most websites and smartphones include parental control options that give parents access to their kids’ messages and online life.
  7. Get help. If the matter is getting out of hand, you should call your local police and consider reporting it to school authorities.
  8. Tell the person to stop, but don’t engage in the bullying behavior. Help assist your child in telling the bully to stop the behavior but don’t allow the situation to escalate, or if it seems to provoke the bully more, don’t do it. This takes a judgment call.
  9. Protect your accounts. Remind your kids never to share passwords with anyone.
  10. If someone you know is being bullied, take action. The best thing you can do is try to stop the bullying by taking a stand against it. If you can’t stop it, support the person being bullied. Get involved! October is the perfect month to stand up to bullying!

All types of bullying can have detrimental effects. Let’s all take a stand to prevent and end the cycle of aggression. By following the above tips and getting involved, we can all do our part to protect our children and teens. Contact Schulze Law today for more information or if you need assistance or guidance.