While its pertinence shifts from time to time, bullying never seems to fade from the media entirely, and maybe for good reason since most Americans believe the problem isn’t going away. Six in 10 adults (60%) agree bullying in schools today is more common than when they were in school, with women more likely than men to feel this way (65% vs. 53%, respectively).
Nearly 3 in 4 adults (73%) say they have some experience with bullying in school (grades K-12) – whether they were the victim, the instigator, or are simply aware of someone else’s ill-treatment. Millennials and Gen Xers are more likely than older generations to have experience with bullying (84% and 81% vs. 66% Baby Boomers and 47% Matures).
Bullying in the digital age
About 1 in 5 adults (21%) who were bullied or witnessed it say they experienced cyber bullying. Moreover, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) adults agree technology has made it easier to bully someone. Unsurprisingly, Millennials are much more likely to have experienced cyber bullying than any other generation (39% vs. 14% Gen Xers, 10% Baby Boomers, and 8% Matures). This number jumps to an astounding 60% when looking at younger Millennials ages 18-24. Women, more so than men, agree technology is making it easier to bully someone (88% vs. 84%, respectively).
Sticks and stones
Among those who experienced bullying, nearly all (98%) encountered face-to-face bullying – either verbal (88%) or physical (68%). Women are more likely than men to have verbal experiences (92% vs. 83%, respectively), while men are more likely to have physical ones (78% vs. 58% women).
With verbal bullying the most prevalent form, it comes as little surprise that many believe this is still on the rise. Two-thirds (66%) of all adults agree children today are more likely to bully each other verbally/emotionally than when they were in school.
However, this hardly means that physical bullying is going away any time soon. Just 35% of all adults agree children are lesslikely to bully each other physically today than when they were in school. Interestingly, Millennials are more likely than any other generation to agree with this sentiment (46% vs. 34% Gen Xers, 29% Baby Boomers, and 28% Matures).
The rhyme or reason
According to those who have experience, the most common reasons for bullying are physical appearance (62%) and social awkwardness (54%). Other top reasons include:
- Race/ethnicity (34%)
- Unusual qualities (32%)
- High level of intelligence (27%)
- Behavioral or emotional disorder (27%)
- Physical disability or illness (25%)
- Socioeconomic standing (25%)
- Sexual orientation (23%)
- Intellectual disability or cognitive impairment (21%)
- Sexual history/reputation (18%)
- Not confirming to gender stereotypes (18%)
- Gender identity (14%)
- Alcohol/drug use history/reputation (8%)
What do you think?