How to spot the signs of bullying

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

In the past few years, there has been a concerted effort to stop bullying in our schools. Despite this effort, bullying still persists for millions of kids across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bullying affects 20% of high school students and cyberbullying affects 16% of high school students. The CDC also found that 33% of students ages 12-18 who reported bullying at school and 27% of students ages 12-18 who reported cyberbullying said they were bullied at least once or twice a month. Middle school students reported the highest rate of bullying - 25% - at least once a week.

Bullying not only effects the victim in the short- and long-term (including social isolation, low self-esteem, anxiety etc.), but the bully as well. According to, bullies can have difficulty maintaining social relationships and have an increased risk of substance abuse.

According to, it is important to know the signs of bullying and to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others.

Signs a child is being bullied:

- Unexplained injuries

- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry

- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness

- Changes in eating habits (suddenly skipping meals or binge eating)

- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares

- Declining grades, loss of interest in school work or not wanting to go to school

- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem

- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home or harming themselves

Signs a child is bullying other:

- Get into physical or verbal fights

- Have friends who bully others

- Are increasingly aggressive

- Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently

- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings

- Blame others for their problems

- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions

- Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity