Where Bullying Happens Most

Top Five Places Where Bullying Happens The Most

By Jessica Swisher

Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique Gifted Lovable You, an international bullying prevention nonprofit organization, wanted to know where bullying occurs most in a youth’s environment. They surveyed over 4,000 students through their self-esteem and empathy-building bullying prevention school assemblies. The students ages ranged from 7 to17 and the outcomes were very similar.

According to the students, the top five ranking areas where bullying happens the most are:

1. School Playground,
2. School Bus,
3. School Hallway,
4. Self-Bullying, and
5. School Bathroom.

Hey U.G.L.Y., who invented the term ‘self-bullying’, understands that most of us are our own biggest critic.

“When someone calls us something negative, they are saying it once, but we repeat it to ourselves 3000 times,” explained Hey U.G.L.Y. co-founder and president, Betty Hoeffner. “We are our own worst bully. Our goal is to empower youth to understand the dynamics of self-bullying and give them the tools they need to quiet that internal voice that tells them they are not good enough.”

In the survey, youth almost unanimously say the reason number one reason bullies bully is because they are being bullied by someone else.

“Bullying is a learned behavior that is passed along through social interaction,” says Jessica Swisher, Outreach Coordinator for Hey U.G.L.Y. and Psychology major at Purdue University. “We want to show youth that having empathy for someone can change a person’s life.”

In the Empathy For The Bully exercise in Hey U.G.L.Y.’s Stop Bullying Task Force Program and Stop Bullying Boot Camps, students report an 85% reduction in the pain level they experienced because of a bullying situation. They also report no longer feeling alone which is huge because, according to the Department of Education, 160,000 students report staying home from school each day because they fear being bullied.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders of industry, government and families,” noted Hoeffner. “We may not be able to do away with bullying completely, but if we can lessen the pain impact, and teach youth to have empathy for the bully, their hearts won’t be so heavy.”

In response to a parent reaching out to Hoeffner because her son had been brutally bullied while 20 students stood around and did nothing, Hey U.G.L.Y. created Bullying Bystanders Unite, a program to help youth join the cause of putting a stop to bullying by speaking up.

“Imagine you have fallen off a boat and you do not know how to swim – immediately sheer panic sets in,” explained Swisher. “You do not need everyone on the boat to come to your rescue; you only need one in order to survive. It only takes one person to make a difference and save a life. It is the same with bullying. The bystander effect happens more than we expect, but Hey U.G.L.Y. is doing something to stop it with their Bullying Bystanders Unite campaign which teaches youth how to safely come to the aide of someone being bullied.”

“We have all heard the saying, ‘Children are so resilient’, but resilience can only happen for so long,” continued Hoeffner. “Children can only bounce back from stressful circumstances for so long before it takes a toll on them and they lose their will to fight.”

An 11 year old student from one of Hey U.G.L.Y.’s our assemblies sums it up perfectly: “If you aren’t honest about how you are feeling to your parents, adults, or authority, you might end up feeling worse later on. It could lead to self-harm or suicide.”

“It is a scary thing when a child as young as 11 can already reason suicide or self-harm due to constant bullying,” said Swisher. “It is time to stand up and make change happen within our schools and ourselves.”

Hey U.G.L.Y., which stands for Unique Gifted Lovable You, is an international nonprofit organization that is dedicated to empowering youth to be their true selves and part of the solution to bullying, youth suicide and substance abuse. Utilizing peer-to-peer learning Hey U.G.L.Y. helps students, schools and youth-serving organizations co-create an environment of respect, acceptance and inclusion. Since 2002 Hey U.G.L.Y. has helped millions of students through their HeyUGLY.org website, Choose To Change radio show, contests, curriculum and interactive assembly presentations. The HeyUGLY.org website has been saving the lives of bullied youth who are suicidal. Hey U.G.L.Y.’s world class speakers give students the tools they need to squish out that negative voice in their head that tells them they are not good enough.