Bullying Increasing: First Boys, Now Girls
Bullying Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road
Oct. 12, 2005 (Washington) -- That schoolyard bully who pushes, punches, and
threatens other children may in turn commit assault behaviors later, says a
Bullying is a growing problem, with the average number of school-based
violent events involving multiple victims increasing from one event per school
year in 1992 to more than five events per year in 1998, according to a HELP
Network fact sheet.
Studies have shown that the prevalence of bullying is about 30% in
school-age children, says Joseph Wright, MD, associate professor of pediatrics,
emergency medicine, and prevention & community health at Children's
National Medical Center. According to the National Youth Violence Prevention
Resource Center, approximately 30% of youths are involved in bullying by either
being the victim, the bully, or both.
Girl Bullies on the Rise
The researchers cited other studies that showed that at age 11, 25% of boys
and 14% of girls report bullying others. And at least 22% of boys and 26% of
girls report being bullied.
"While bullying once was seen as an activity of boys, there has been a
burgeoning increase in the number of girls who bully," Wright says.
"Girls now threaten, use innuendos, and tease others about their clothes as
ways to interact together. They are joining in. Many are bullying through the
format of 'cyber bullying' through emails, instant and text messaging, and
Styles of bullying range from the direct of pushing, punching, spitting, and
tripping to the more indirect of threats of teasing, spreading rumors, and
shunning, he says.
Bullying is associated with higher rates of frequent fighting and injuries
and weapon carrying, with the associations being stronger for bullies than
targets, he told those attending the American Academy of Pediatrics National
Conference and Exhibition.
"This isn't a low-morbidity activity," notes Wright. "Bullying
behavior presents the risk of down the stream. Bullying is
weapon carrying, frequent fighting, and injuries."