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When Does Bullying Occur?


Studies have shown that bullying most likely occurs in classrooms, lunchrooms, hallways, and on the bus (Olweus, 1992). Bullying also occurs outside of school in the neighborhood, during after-school programs and events, and through technology. Many parents are not aware of the ways that cell phones play an important role in the ways that youth bully others. In reality, your child could be experiencing emotionally damaging harassment while sitting in the car with you. This is a far departure from pre-1990, when bullying via technology was at most, repeatedly calling the home phone of the person and hanging up.


Grades 5-8 have been consistently found to be the grades in which bullying is most likely to take place (Nansel et al., 2001). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 26% of 10-12 year olds have been exposed to bullying, either as victims or perpetrators. Why is this? In this age range, youth are finding ways to deal with the changes in the format of their education, combined with the changes of puberty. Youth move from having only one group of students and one teacher they interact with daily, to multiple teachers and classrooms of students. Hormonal changes, combined with variations in size and physical maturation, may heighten the awareness of difference and create social hierarchies based on narrow definitions of masculinity, femininity, and attractiveness. These social hierarchies are too often supported by media images and popular culture.


Nansel, T., M. Overpeck, R. Pilla, W. Ruan, B. SimonsMorton, and P. Scheidt (2001). "Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment." Journal of the American Medical Association 285(16):2094-2100.

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying in school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers