Help Stop Bullying

Help Stop Bullying

Lee esto en EspañolBystanders can play a key role in stopping bullying — both in school and online. Help your kids learn what it means to stand up for someone who is bullied.

Sadly, bullying among kids and teens is still very common in the U.S. About 20% of all students between 12 and 18 report being bullied at school. leaving site icon

Bullying can take a toll on a young person’s mental and physical health. Victims of bullying are more likely to:

  • Have trouble with their schoolwork
  • Feel depressed and anxious
  • Think about suicide
  • Try to harm themselves

Victims are not the only ones who suffer because of bullying. Kids and teens who witness bullying are also more likely to experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of helplessness

In reality, bystanders are not as helpless as they may think.

Keys to Stopping Bullying

Experts say bystanders play an important role in putting an end to bullying. While most kids who are bullied won’t tell anyone, someone else who sees it can report it to a teacher, parent or other trusted adult. This brings bullying out in the open.

Rather than putting themselves in the path of the bully where they could become the next target, witnesses stand up to bullying when they:

  • Report the incident to a trusted adult
  • Support the victim

They can lend support to victims in many ways. They can say hello and start a conversation. Or introduce them to friends.

What Parents Can Do

Parents play a vital role in teaching young people ways to stand up to bullying, not just stand by.

  1. Talk openly with your kids.
    Discuss the importance of treating all classmates with kindness and respect. If you’re not sure about how to bring up the topic, try watching a show or movie that features bullying with your kids. Ask if they see any similar situations at school or online. Ask them how it makes them feel, and listen closely to what they have to say.
  2. Explain that reporting bullying is not tattling.
    Let them know when they report bullying or cyber-bullying they’re doing the right thing. Kids can make an anonymous report if they feel uncomfortable. If their report isn’t taken seriously, encourage your child to talk to other adults until something is done.
  3. Teach your kids how to safely support bullying victims.
    Emphasize that standing up to bullying doesn’t mean getting into a physical confrontation. They can help by being there for the victim, whether that’s soothing them after an attack or just sitting with them at lunch if they are alone.

The end to bullying can start with you and your kids. Talk with them about the importance of being kind and respectful. Make sure you lead by example by modeling that behavior with those around you.

Sources: Facts About Bullying, leaving site icon U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2021; The Effects of Bullying, leaving site icon U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2023

Originally published October 13, 2015: Revised 2020, 2023

  • The anti-bullying policy's goal is to guarantee that students learn in a supportive, loving, and secure atmosphere where they are not afraid of being bullied. The Top 5 Anti-Bullying Apps are shown below. For more information, see You should utilize parental control software to keep an eye on your children if you are a parent. If you're a student, you should download a smartphone app that allows you to notify others if you've been bullied or if you've seen bullying. If bullying occurs, all students should be able to recognize it and understand that it will be dealt with swiftly and efficiently.