FCD Blog

Researchers have been studying bullying and its effects over many years. One of scientists’ main concerns has been whether bullying predicts violence and aggression later in life. For this reason there have been many studies conducted to see how bullying affects bullies and their victims over time.

In 2012, Maria M. Ttofi, David P. Farrington, and Friedrich Losel found a link between school bullying (bullies and their victims) and aggressive and violent behavior later in life. This study found a consistent link between bullying and bully victimization and later violence. This study also found that the younger children are when they exhibit bullying behaviors, the more likely they are to have incidences of assault, weapon charges, robbery, battery, as well as fight, be defiant, argumentative, and cruel later in life.

Past research studies have shown adults criminals, with violent offenses, often have school records of aggressive behavior and bullying. Bullying at school was found to predict criminal offensive up to six years later and victims of bullies have been found have a higher likelihood of offending later in life than those who were not bullied.  Furthermore, bullies are more likely to become depressed later in life than those who did not bully others and those who were victimized were more likely to suffer from depression up to seven years later.

Statistics show 1 in 3 k-12 grade students is either a bully or the victim of a bully. Based on the frequency of bullying activity and the study findings, there is a need for prevention intervention programs throughout schools to offset these negative effects for both bullies and their victims later in life.  Parents can also be proactive by communicating with their children to help reduce the harmful effects of bullying on their child. For more strategies to help you be more proactive visit http://www.aces.edu/family-health/families-children/bullying/


Modecki, K.L. et al (2014). Bullying prevalence across contexts: A meta-analysis measuring cyber and traditional bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(5).


By:​ Jessica Norton

STOPit, which was made available in January 2014, comes preloaded with tools to anonymously report harassment to school officials, help friends in need, access 24/7 helplines or alert local law enforcement of potentially dangerous situations. The app concept originated three years ago, after Todd Schobel, the company's founder and CEO, heard about the high-profile suicide of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian who killed herself after years of being bullied.

More than 50,000 kids in 83 school districts in 13 states across the country use STOPit. Over the last year, it's been named as one of "5 Apps to Help Change the World" by CNN and made Scholastic's list of "6 Awesome Apps for Classroom Management."

Stopit app.jpg
The application can be purchased for $3.99 on the iTunes app store or schools can buy it and make it free for students.​


Issues of bullying are portrayed and discussed in all types of media today, including music, movies, television shows, and literature. However, the biggest entertainment industry that brings to light the issues of bullying is movies. Movies have been used to show how bullying can effect children emotionally and socially, ways children can take a stand against bullying, and the struggles of both bullies and victims. Below are some examples of movies that highlight these issues of bullying.

Mean Girls (2004) shows how easy it can be for children to move roles from being the victim to becoming the bully and vice versa. Cady is the new girl at school who plays a joke on the popular girl at school, Regina. She is sucked into the idea of popularity and tries to bring Regina down by turning the other girls against her. Regina goes from being the bully to becoming the victim of bullying in a matter of weeks. Mean Girls shows the spectrum of the relationship between victim and bully, showing that roles in the relationship can shift.

Toy Story 3 (2010) shows how even a bully can be experiencing struggles of his or her own. Though Lotso is initially an unsympathetic character, the movie reveals that his owner abandoned him. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Lotso now believes that love doesn't exist, and wants to ensure that everyone around him is also miserable. However, the toys join together in standing up to Lotso and eventually become his friend. Toy Story 3 also shows that genuine connection with others can be an effective coping technique when dealing with bullied ... be they stuffed animals, or humans.

Cyberbully (2011) shows us the negative effects cyber bullying can have on teenagers, when Taylor is subjected to bullying through a social network website. We can see how the bullying affects Taylor at school and at home, making her unable to function, ultimately bringing her to consider suicide. Taylor’s family and friends come to her rescue by supporting her and by helping her stop the bullying from continuing. The movie also shows us how a good support system of friends and family can help teenagers overcome the negative effects of bullying.

Written by: Kelcie Silvia

KnowBullyingApp.jpgParents can have a hard time knowing how to start conversations with their children about bullying. With the increasing prevalence of bullying in schools today, it is important for parents to discuss bullying with their children. It can be difficult talking to children about the different types of bullying, strategies to prevent bullying from occurring at school, and/or ways they can respond when seeing someone being bullied. In response to this need, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created a free smart phone app called KnowBullying, to help parents learn how to start conversations with their kids and prevent bullying. Some of the features of the application include: easy-to-use conversation starters to talk with your child about bullying, tips about bullying for specific age groups, warning signs to know if your child is bullying, being bullied, or witnessing bullying, as well as links to other anti-bullying resources. 

Click the link below for a video introducing the KnowBullying application! 



Daughter-sharing-text-message-with-dad.jpgResearch has shown that healthy relationships between parents and children can lead to better outcomes for children throughout their lives. These positive parent-child relationships can help decrease the negative effects of bullying, such as helping children build more positive relationships with peers, be more engaged at school, have higher self-esteem, and be less likely to bully others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designed a free, online resource for parents on essentials for parenting toddlers and preschoolers to build healthier parent-child relationships. The purpose of the resource is to provide information on how parents can build healthier relationships through the use of videos and activities. Some of the features of the website include: assisting parents to create healthy structure and rules for their children, using appropriate consequences for their children, how to effectively communicate with their child, and how to use time-outs. Here is the link to the website: www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials

For more information about building positive-parent child relationships, visit our website.

“White Rabbit,” staring Britt Robertson (“Tomorrowland”), Nick Krause (“Boyhood”) and Sam Trammel (“True Blood”) is about a high school shooter in the making, and the devastating effects of teen bullying. Jordan Roberts, executive producer of the movie states, “Our writer, Anthony Di Pietro, was brilliant. He basically looked at: What are the four elements of the composite of most high school shooters? A lot of them suffer from parental neglect, mental illness, access to guns and they were bullied.”

The film tackles a powerful subject, but executive producer Jordan Roberts says she hopes parents watch it with their own children who are 13 and older. Roberts believes that although the film is not rated, the content would probably earn a PG-13.

Roberts’ vision was produced by SSS Entertainment and Burning Sky Films, and distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures.

To see the trailer: http://youtu.be/gCUSBraayvo​

It is normal for people to disagree, have conflicting viewpoints, and become angry with one another for their actions.  For example, siblings often disagree and may engage in rough-housing, children may find it difficult to get along with certain classmates, even adult strangers can find themselves in conflict with one another in traffic, waiting in lines, and over public policy issues.  Questions parents often ask are, “Where do we draw the line?  What is a normal amount of conflict for my child to experience? How do I know if they are being bullied?”

An important distinction to make between bullying and normal conflict is the intent behind the action.  Is the intent of the conflict to share viewpoints or air frustration, or is it to directly harm someone?   Additionally, when someone is bullying another person there is usually an imbalance of power, which can be anything from age, size, popularity, or status.  When this difference in power is used to target a specific group or individual, the bullying behavior that results is aggressive, negative, and unwanted.  It is possible for bullying to occur in a single instance, but it usually happens in a pattern of behavior repeated over time.  This means that one negative comment between people, while unpleasant, is most likely not bullying.   However, if these comments persist or become more hurtful, it could be considered bullying.  Knowing the difference between bullying and normal conflict can help you understand how to respond, whether in your own life, or for your child.  If you would like to know more on this topic, please visit: http://www.aces.edu/family-health/families-children/bullying/basics/what.php 

Written by Kaitlyn McHugh (HDFS Gradute Student) 


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.

2. Shame

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 others.

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.

5. Feel 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.

6. Helplessness

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.

8. Self-Reliance

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. 

Nationally, 1 in 7 students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying. 71 percent of students report that incidences of bullying is a problem at their school. Bullying is a national issue and is also a local issue in the state of Alabama. Every year, Alabama students endure bullying and harassment in person and online.  Oftentimes adults do not know or recognize that their child is being bullied or that their child is bullying others.  When adults realize that bullying is a problem, they often do not know how to handle these issues.  Alabama Cooperative Extension Systems, has resources available to help you along the way. Through the efforts of Family and Child Development Extension Specialist, Dr. Adrienne M. Duke and the input of the FCD team, we have established a comprehensive resource for parents and guardians. All content is based on the latest research on bullying, provides helpful tips for addressing a range of bullying issues, and provides information on a program called Be SAFE that we offer to schools, after-school programs, and community organizations. Visit our website address at http://www.aces.edu/bullying.


Extension Gifts Tree Image.jpg


‘Twas the month of December
When all through the family tree
Every member was stirring
In search of gifts to keep them strong and healthy!
They looked high and low
Under pie and mistletoe
When it dawned on them all the resources
Their local Extension had to bestow!
 Ho, Ho, Ho…
Searching for gifts that keep on giving?  Alabama Extension has programs and resources to help make the seasons bright throughout the year for you and your family!  Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Extension has educational goodies that are research-based, timely and concise!  Unwrap these tools and more from Extension’s Family and Consumer Science department this season!
Family and Child Development: “Kids from 1 to 92,” you’re covered!   Family and Child Development (FCD) covers youth to parents and caregivers across the lifespan.  Programs address bullying, healthy relationships for both teens and adults and include a series of workshops and classes focused in enriching parenting skills and promoting family strengths.  Publications are also available for beginning and veteran parents addressing key developmental stages and issues for infants to teens as well as health and wellness for individuals and couples.
Nutrition, Diet and Health: “Parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting” are the tasty temptation of the season; however, Extension offers resources to help Alabamians improve and maintain overall healthy lifestyles across seasons.  From healthy cooking schools to research-based educational publications providing fundamental health and wellness information, Extension is committed to improving state statistics and the health of all individuals and families.
Food Safety: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” creates a perfect scene to conspire following a great meal.  Extension has certifications, programs and more to help ensure those meals prepared at restaurant to home kitchens are done properly for health and goodness sake!  Attend a program or explore online publications for the latest safety guidelines and information.
Personal Financial Management: “A pair of hop along boots…” and “dolls that will talk...” may no longer be the latest craze but balancing finances and obligations amid mounting demands continues to create a sense of chaos for many individuals.  Extension provides tools designed to help both youth and adults make better sense of money matters. From budgeting to estate planning and much more, Extension is an authority in being money-wise.  Download your 2015 Money Management Calendar online for free or purchase a copy at Extension’s online publication store. 
Stay updated on the latest Extension news, program opportunities and resources by visiting your local Extension office or online at www.aces.edu.  Extension will be closed from December 22nd through January 2nd.  From our family to yours, you’re wished a holiday season filled with delight and  new year that is healthy and bright!


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