What is Bullying?

In 2014 the U.S. Department of Education and the Center for Disease Control defined bullying as having these components:

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Power imbalance

  • Repeated or likely to be repeated.

Middle schoolers are most likely to be bullied. Most bullying in this age group is done in person. It involves name calling, spreading rumors, teasing, hitting, pushing, threatening or sexual comments. Sometimes kids are bullied online.

Bullying can have a lot of long-term consequences that may last into adulthood.

Consequences of Bullying

Mental Health Consequences for the Victim

People who are bullied can experience depression and anxiety . They may feel rejected, isolated and alone. These feelings can turn into sadness, hopelessness and despair.

Being bullied can also cause trust issues and problems communicating with other people.

All these problems can negatively impact academic performance and concentration. Grades may go down suddenly. Bullying can even cause a loss of appetite and difficulty with sleep.

In extreme cases, victims of bullying may become suicidal or retaliate with violence.


Consequences of being bullied include

Consequences of Bullying for Bystanders

Witnesses of bullying can be victims too.

Consequences for bystanders may include include:

  • An increase likelihood of using alcohol or drugs.

  • Increased depression or anxiety.

  • Feelings of helplessness.

  • Missing or skipping school.


What are some consequences witnesses of bullying can suffer?

Take Action

Now that you've learned about the impact of bullying on victims and witnesses of bullying, next time you see an incidence of bullying ask yourself:

  • How might the victim feel?

  • How might the bystanders feel?

  • How might you help them feel not so alone?

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This Byte has been authored by


Deb Dobrich

Learning Experience Designer/Squad Leader