BullyingI did a lesson in my class on bullying yesterday. When I asked the class to share if anyone had ever been bullied before, it was practically unanimous. We discussed reasons why people bully...


I did a lesson in my class on bullying yesterday. When I asked the class to share if anyone had ever been bullied before, it was practically unanimous. We discussed reasons why people bully other people. My question is .... do you think bullying is an inevitable occurrence during childhood, or can it be avoided? I have been thinking a lot about how being bullied can lead to more violence, depression and suicide in teens. Anyone care to share their ideas or thoughts?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that maybe we've expanded the definition of bullying to the point where everyone inevitably gets bullied.

For example, I just asked my 3rd grader what bullying is and she said (her school is big into anti-bullying) that a nonviolent kind of bullying is "saying mean things."  If we really are expanding our definitions that far, then I've been bullied and I've been a bully.  (Come to think of it, if your whole class raised their hands, then there must be people who are both victims and bullies unless all the bullies are in other classes.)

So I think it really depends on what we call bullying.  I think that meanness is inevitable.  However, I don't think that the kind of really nasty, concerted efforts to hurt someone (like the ones that drive people to suicide) are that common and I do not think they are inevitable.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How many of us have not been bullied by siblings? (and much of this bullying was physical) Did we report this to authorities? There are the strong and the weak in every species in the world, so bullying is a fact of life.  How many entire countries have not been "bullies" in history? Unfortunately, this Brave New World in which we live has cyberbullying and others aspects that many of us have not had to deal with in our lives. 

It seems that the stronger sense of self that one has, the more resistance that person can exert against bullying, especially psychological bullying.  If a person measures himself by the number of "friends" he/she has on Facebook or some other superficial measurement, then the magnitude of the importance of what it directed at him/her increases.  Post #3 and #5 have excellent points.


amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to agree with post #3.  Are we all really so soft that we can't deal with the bumps and bruises of just growing up without calling "foul" anymore?  We're so afraid that our kids are going to get hurt that we take away all the events that allow us to fall occasionally on our knees and learn from the experience. 

Kids are mean, and they're mean to each other.  They react in jealousy, anger, and just to fit in with the "in" crowd.  Calling people names or pushing in the hallway are normal. 

However, in the (almost) two decades that I've been teaching, there has never been a suicide at my schools (car, boating, four-wheeler,  and hunting accidents, yes, but no suicides).  I tend to agree with Pohnpei that this sort of harrassment is not common, although I am sure it does occur. 

sboeman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There seems to be a strong push in all school districts to adopt anti-bullying campaigns.  I teach at a fairly large high school and, unfortunately, we see episodes of bullying in our school quite often.

Our administration has been keeping track of each event and have found some interesting information: the most common occurrence of bullying for the past two years has been freshman girls becoming physically aggressive over Facebook posts - this is a big issue at our school, and young girls do not seem to have any coping skills for dealing with offensive media postings!

There are numerous solutions: helping students avoid becoming "targets", identifying bullying and teaching them how to act appropriately, empowering others to step in and intervene, etc.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We all remember the bullies of our youth, although In think in the modern day, it takes on a different definition.  Consider, for example, bullying in cyberspace, where there is an anonymous feeling (there's no face to face contact) that seems to give more people carte blanche to say and post whatever they feel, not realizing or not caring that the permanency of the internet, and it's limitless audience, can do so much more damage than a push on a playground.

Same is true for texting or "sexting" or the taking of photographs. My point being that the socialization process I grew up with in the 70s and 80s has been replaced with one that contains a more destructive form of bullying.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to think that bullying in some shape or form is inevitable.  No matter what kids will be trying to figure out who the leaders are, who the dominant people are, and this has been going on for centuries and isn't likely to change.  Unfortunately, I do think that the addition of the opportunities for bullying online create a type of bullying that in many ways is more insidious and more problematic because of the lack of face to face consequences and the ability to bully from anywhere with anonymity and I fear it may be more dangerous than the kind we are more accustomed to.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that with our greater awareness of bullying - not just in school but in society in general - we have broadened our definition of what constitutes bullying. The term now seems to cover anything from one-off thoughtless remarks to prolonged torment and torture. Bullying -in the sense of one person negarively asserting their power over others - is an intrinsic part of human nature. What we need to do to move forward is to recognise bullying behaviours in ourselves and others and teach resilience to those likely to be victims: which is most of us.


accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Unfortunately, I can only agree with the rather pessimistic message that bullying is a universal phenomenon. I remember reading recently about the occurrences of bullying in work situations among adults and how high they were. This makes it absolutely vital that we confront children with the issue at an early age so they can talk through it and we do not dodge this important issue.

coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, social networking can be a open arena for cyber bullying - a place where vulnerable and isolated teens might be at risk socially, and they are in a 'place' where they don't have the back up of their parents. Most of the bigger sites have now taken this on board and have advice pages, but one much smaller site was mentioned in connection with a teen tragedy in the U.S.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In reply to #1:
aishcutiee | Student

I would say that to bully or to get bullied by someone has no age. It doesn't matter if you are a kid or an adult it could happen anywhere, anytime, you just have to make sure you don't mess with someone just try and be yourself. Never try to imitate or be an copycat. Bullying can be avoided..... if you call kids help phone, talk to someone u trust, or a friend or a sibling. There are many types of bullying out there...it's really sad. Basically people bully because they have nothing else to do, or they r taking revenge from someone, or that's how they were treated before and now want others to feel that way...and by doing this it will make them more happier...somehow... we say bullying cases r taking places with teenagers.....is just the generation talks...or just a streotype.....BULLYING IS EVERYWHERE< IT HAPPENS WITH EVERYONE NOT JUST TEENAGERS>....