Bullying Can Happen Anywhere, but Home Is Often First Line of Defense

Bullying can on- or offline, and parents are often the first line of defense.

ByABC News
September 1, 2010, 12:03 PM

Sept. 1, 2010 -- Modern-day bullying can happen anywhere -- at school, at the mall or on a playground or at home. It can take place over a computer or a cell phone, within large or small groups.

Bullying is particularly prevalent among elementary and high school students, and as 55 million students return to classrooms this month, the effects from several terrorizing bullying incidents during the past school year continue to reverberate.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 26 percent of 10-, 11-, and 12-year-olds come up against bullying -- either as victims or as bullies. When passive bystanders are included in the numbers, 77 percent of third-graders fall into the "bully circle."

How can parents know if their child is a bully, and what can they do to prevent it?

"I think the real challenge is bringing adults up to speed that this is not an acceptable set of behaviors. This is not just kids being kids. This is not a rite of passage," explained Dr. Joseph Wright, a professor and vice chairman of pediatrics at George Washington School of Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The academy urges parents and caretakers to monitor their children for impulsive behavior, aggressive attitudes and lack of empathy toward siblings, which are the classic signs of bullying tendencies.

Cyberbullying, said Wright, has created an atmosphere in which bullies can remain anonymous as they attack through texting and social media sites.