By the end of high school, incidents of physical bullying decrease, while verbal and emotional bullying increases, taking new forms, including social, racial, gender-based and sexual bullying.

Verbal bullying in high school usually consists of harsh language or negative comments about a person’s appearance or beliefs. Emotional bullying takes the abuse even farther with such acts as giving someone the silent treatment, spreading inappropriate or unkind rumors, and purposefully provoking others by whispering or laughing in front of them. High school bullying may also include such acts as graffiti on lockers and school walls, threats of violence and exclusion, hazing and ostracizing peers.

In addition, cyberbullying has become the weapon of choice for many bullies, who use the Internet and electronic formats to harass and torment their victims. From posting gossip and rumors on social media, to threatening someone via text or e-mail, this form of bullying has become rampant throughout high schools. Some cases have even led to the suicide of its victims.

High school students can also become a victim of or a witness to traffic bullying, also known as vehicular bullying. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, this type of bullying involves an attempt to intentionally injure or kill another driver as a result of a vehicular incident. These incidents are a leading cause of car accidents in the United States. In fact, a survey of 16 cities by the American Automobile Association showed there were 10,037 incidents of aggressive driving in one year, resulting in 216 deaths and more than 12,610 injuries.

What you can do

  • Find out your school’s protocol for bullying. If they don’t have one, encourage them to establish one.
  • Encourage your child to speak up. By saying “That’s not cool, let’s get out of here,” kids can stand up for each other.
  • Teach your child that something as simple as walking up and standing next to someone being bullied can make a difference.
  • Download the maskmatters for your child. (Available through apple and google play)
  • What bullying looks like
  • Judgment
  • Name calling, degrading comments
  • Text “bombing” and negative text messages
  • Cyberbullying (through social media, texts and e-mails)
  • Gossip
  • Criticism
  • Social isolation
  • Harassment, hazing
  • Defacing victim’s property

Conversation starters

  • Did you know that just making eye contact with a bully can make him stop?
  • Did you know just standing next to the victim can stop the bully?
  • Did you know when you walk away from a bully it can show him that his behavior is not funny or okay?
  • Sometimes just saying “that’s not cool, let’s get out of here” can stop the bully and give other bystanders the confidence to speak up or walk away.
  • Who would you feel comfortable talking to if you encountered a bullying situation?
  • Create a suggestion box or hotline at your school that will let students share issues and concerns.
  • What would you do if you opened a instagram account and you received 10 hate messages in a half hour?
  • I heard that bullying can be described as judgment or exclusion. What do you think?

Reading List

“Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult
“Some Girls Are” by Courtney Summers
“Please Stop Laughing at Me” by Jodee Blanco

Possible Effects

  • Low self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal
  • Substance abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Cutting, self-injury
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Decease in academic performance
  • Decrease in school attendance

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