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Bullying Statistics Every K-12 Teacher, Parent and Student Should Know

Learn all about important bullying statistics, the different types, and what you can do to address bullying both in school and at home.

Bullying Statistics Every K-12 Teacher, Parent and Student Should Know

Cyberbullying among students ages 12-17 has nearly doubled from 18 percent in 2007 to 34 percent in 2016, one recent study found.

Bullying, commonly defined as unwanted and aggressive repetitive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance, has essentially existed since the beginning of time. However, with so many more outlets of communication available at our fingertips, recent studies show bullying in K-12 schools has taken on a life of its own.

Before we delve into specific bullying statistics, it is important to define the different types of bullying that exist today.

It’s likely that when many of us think of bullying “back in the day”, we largely recall name-calling or shoving as the most common forms. However, due to several influences like technology and social media, bullying has expanded to include four main categories:

  1. Verbal bullying, including teasing, inappropriate comments, name-calling, threats and offensive hand gestures.
  2. Social bullying, including intentional exclusion, spreading rumors and embarrassing someone.
  3. Physical bullying, including hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing or breaking someone’s personal belongings.
  4. Cyberbullying, which includes many of the same behaviors as social and verbal bullying, but takes place online where information can be quickly disseminated and to a large number of people.

General Bullying Statistics

Here are some overall bullying statistics from a study released by The National Center for Education Statistics in December 2016. The authors surveyed students ages 12-18 during the 2014-2015 school year.

  • One in five (20.8 percent) students reported being bullied (down from 23 percent in 2005).
  • 66.8 percent said they were bullied once or twice in the school year; 33 percent were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year; 4.2 percent were bullied almost every day.
  • 13.3 percent were made fun of, called names or insulted; 12.2 percent were the subject of rumors; 3.9 percent were threatened with harm; 5.1 percent were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; 2.5 percent were tried to make do things they didn’t want to do; 5 percent were excluded from activities on purpose; 1.8 percent had their property destroyed on purpose.
  • 33.6 percent of bullying occurred in a classroom; 41.7 percent occurred in a hallway or stairwell; 9.4 percent occurred in a bathroom or locker room; 22.2 percent occurred in the cafeteria; 19.3 percent occurred outside on school grounds; 10 percent occurred on the school bus; 11.5 percent occurred online or by text.
  • 22.8 percent of females reported being bullied compared to 18.8 percent of males.

To see more in-depth data on types of bullying, the location of bullying and the frequency of bullying, including by race, grade and household income, view this article’s slideshow.

Cyberbullying Statistics

Along with the rising use of technology and social media comes the continued threat of cyberbullying.

While recent data from the Centers for Disease Control suggests cyberbullying (or “electronic” bullying, as the study refers to it) has been on a slight decline from 2015 to 2017, it still poses a significant threat to adolescents and teens.

A 2016 study conducted by Dr. Justin Patchin and Dr. Sameer Hinduja surveyed a nationally-representative sample of 5,700 middle and high school students ages 12-17 from July through October. The results showed that the percentage of students who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime has nearly doubled from 18 percent in 2007 to almost 34 percent in 2016.

The researchers asked students what kind of bullying they had endured and what kind of bullying they had done to someone else in the previous 30 days. Below are two charts of those findings.

The researchers also collected data on the students’ weekly use of technology to get a representation of its prevalence in their lives and the different potential outlets for bullying. Below is a chart of the study’s findings.

The popularity of cell phones and other technologies allow students to use social media both in school and at home, making cyberbullying an around-the-clock occurrence. Because of this, both parents and teachers can play an integral role in effectively addressing online safety issues.

Clay Cranford, the deputy sheriff for the Orange County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Department, who is an expert on cybersecurity for children, spoke with us at the 2016 Campus Safety Conference about how parents and teachers can help students stay safe online. Check out the video here.

Bullying Statistics Surrounding Minority Groups

People of all ages who are part of a minority group have long been singled out for their differences, making students who are part of a minority group more prone to bullying.

The National Center for Educational Statistics’ 2016 study we mentioned earlier found the most common reasons students reported being bullied are because of physical appearance, race and ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation.

Continue on to the next page to learn more about bullying of students with disabilities and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ community.

About the Author

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Amy Rock is Campus Safety's senior editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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4 responses to “Bullying Statistics Every K-12 Teacher, Parent and Student Should Know”

  1. Myles says:

    Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole mmy iPaad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so sshe can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is nnow destroyed and she hass
    83 views. I know ths is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  2. Concerned Friend says:

    That is rough, thanks for sharing, Myles. It seems like your cousin’s actions pretty clearly fall into category 3, “Physical Bullying.” Your comment brings to light the fact that bullying exists EVERYWHERE, not limited to K-12 schools.

    I wish we had better resources for you to vent your frustrations—hang in there!

  3. Lomvula says:

    We are brothers and sisters make me feel free when I’m around you and make me feel secure

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