Bullying is an increasing problem for schools in
the United States. However, even with the rate of victimization increasing,
children and adolescents do not always let adults know about the bullying they are
experiencing. Most researchers focus on
asking adults why children choose to keep bullying a secret; instead, DeLara
(2012) asked youth why they choose not to report being bullied.
Below are 8 reasons why victims of bullying choose not to talk about their experiences:
1. Bullying is Common
Bullying is increasing in schools
and seems to be occurring all the time. Students responded that since bullying is
so common, it has become normal to them. For this reason, they do not see the
need to report it.
Bullying leaves children feeling powerless, weak, and
ashamed. Several students reported that they were afraid they would be looked
down upon if they reported being bullied at school, so they chose not to tell
3. Concerned that no one will believe them
Students may fear that adults or other peers will not
believe that bullies are targeting them. They may have had bad experiences of reporting
bullying before and therefore decide not to disclose.
4. Are not aware of the types of bullying
Sometimes, students may not realize that they are being
bullied. Students also may not have the same definitions of bullying and
therefore do not report every incident of bullying.
like they deserve it
Sometimes students are aware of their faults that bullies
tend to tease them about. Because of this, students may believe they deserve
the bullying because they are critical of themselves too.
Based on their experiences with adults, students stated that
they feel helpless because the adults tend to not believe students who report
bullying or do something to help stop the bullying from continuing. If adults will
not do anything about the bullying situations, what is the point in reporting?
7. Afraid the bully will retaliate
Sometimes students may believe that reporting bullying will
not make the situation better, but will make the situation worse. They believe
that the bullying would only increase for telling.
Almost ¾ of the students in DeLara’s study reported that
they had a sense of responsibility in being bullied and that they could figure
out a resolution on their own. Students believe that they need to be tough in
difficult situation and need to fix it themselves.
Written by Kelcie
Silva (HDFS graduate student)
DeLara, E. W.
(2012). Why adolescents don’t disclose incidents of bullying and harassment. Journal of School Violence, 11, 288-305.
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