According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration, for every 25 middle school students, an average of two kids are harassed daily, while two or three are bullied weekly. In addition, almost nine out of 10 kids say they’ve seen someone being bullied.

While bullying in elementary school involved more physical acts, bullying in junior high begins to focus on the mental and emotional aspects of abuse. Verbal abuse is common, with middle school children teasing each other about such things as body size, clothing choices, hairstyles and hygiene.

Emotional bullying happens in the form of social alienation, which, although very subtle, can have long-lasting effects. Junior high students may exclude one another from their regular circle of friends, with the victim eating lunch alone, not having a partner in gym class, or being excluded from parties and get-togethers outside of school.

Junior high students also begin to become exposed to bullying through electronic media or cyberbullying. With today’s teen rarely being out of ouch, students may do such things as post derogatory comments on each other’s social media pages, or e-mail or text threats to another student.

Studies show that bullies in junior high school are more likely to pick on people their own age. And while girls are more likely to verbally harass, boys usually use physical attacks, but are also likely to verbally threaten and harass someone.

What you can do

  • Teach your child to be assertive. Emphasize peaceful ways to solve problems.
  • Hold kids accountable. If children stand by and watch someone being bullied, make it clear their behavior hurts the victim, too.
  • Be a good example. If you see someone being bullied or hurt, help them.
  • Download the maskmatters app for your child(ren)
  • What bullying looks like
  • Name calling, degrading comments
  • Social isolation
  • Gossip, starting rumors
  • Criticism
  • Threatening comments
  • Fighting, pushing and shoving
  • Cyberbullying (Social media sites, texts and e-mails)
  • Breaks or destroys things belonging to the victim
  • Teasing about who their peers associate with

Conversation starters

  • Have you ever witnessed someone being bullied? How did you handle it?
  • Have you ever been bullied? How did it make you feel?
  • I can remember being bullied in school. Have you had to deal with a situation like that?
  • I heard that kids sometimes post videos on YouTube of kids fighting.
  • What do you think about that?
  • How would you feel if someone created a fake instagram profile about you?
  • Why do you think someone bullies?
  • Do you think adults can be bullies?
  • When kids stand up to the bully, the bully will most likely realize his actions are not okay.

Reading List

“The Misfits” by James Howe
“Bullies are a Pain” by Trevor Romain
“Brutal” by Michael Harmon

Possible Effects

  • Depression, self-injury
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxious avoidance of settings in which bullying may occur
  • Greater incidence of illness
  • Lower grades or drop in grade
  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • Computer avoidance or computer obsession
  • Withdraws from family

To read more on this topic click here