Bullying Myths and Facts
It’s bully-mythbusting time!
Here are a few of the top bullying myths and facts surrounding bullying:
- Bullying always occurs between a bully and victim. WRONG. This bully myth is wrong. Youth move in and out of the bully and victim roles depending on conditions in their homes, school and community. Some children fall into category called ‘Bully-Victim’ meaning that they’re a bully to some children and a victim of bullying for others.
- Bullying is a normal part of growing up. WRONG. Bullying doesn’t end when one reaches adulthood (as the high incidence of bullying the workplace clearly shows.) Contrary to this bullying myth, Bullying is not a normal part of growing up, extends beyond childhood, and can have legal and psychological ramifications for the youth and community involved.
- Bullying is impossible to Stop. WRONG. There are in fact many schools where bullying and victimization is rare. Tackling bullying requires dealing with bullying at several levels including in the home, at school and in the community. Tackling bullying also requires positive adult leadership in schools, positive student leadership and healthy relationships between everyone involved.
- Physical Bullying is more damaging than verbal or relational bullying (aka “Sticks and stones may break my bones but works will never hurt me.”) WRONG. This is a dangerous bullying myth, especially for those living in some states in the US (e.g., Georgia) that have limited the definition of bullying to only physical acts – a definition that ignores the fact that most acts of bullying are not overt, physical actions. Relational Bullying, excluding victims from group activities, can be even more damaging and unlike a physical definition of bullying is often invisible and so can go on for years without being noticed. This can make Verbal Bullying and Relational Bullying even more insidious than physical bullying.
- Figuring out whether our school’s anti-bullying programs are working is too complicated. WRONG. What it does require is your school to begin keeping records of bullying incidents and then observing any change in the number of incidents after the implementation of your anti-bullying programs. Anti-bullying software like BRIM that makes it easy to view changes in bullying rates at your school can help. (We’ve found that once schools begin both tracking bullying incidents and allowing students to anonymous report online, schools experience an initial increase followed by a significant decrease in the number of bullying incidents.