All of October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and the second Wednesday is National Stop Bullying Day. Observation started to bring awareness to the issue and help adults and children know how they can keep it from happening.

What Is Bullying?

A lot of adults think of a bully as that big kid who catches someone behind the bleachers and threatens to give him a knuckle sandwich if he doesn't hand over his lunch money. Really, it's any type of unwanted or aggressive behavior. Here are the two key elements:

  • Power imbalance -- One kid has popularity, strength or information they threaten to use to hurt another.
  • Repetition -- Bullying happens more than once, or at least there's the perception that it will recur.

It can be verbal, social or physical. Sometimes it happens at school, but bullying can also happen on the playground, the bus, in your neighborhood or online.

How Many Kids are Victims of Bullying?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System indicating that across the United States 19 percent of high school students reported being bullied during school. The same report says 14.9 percent of students in the same age group reported being electronically bullied in the last year.

How Adults Can Stop Bullying

Adults can use sites like stopbullying.gov to inform themselves about the issue. On October 10, use #NationalStopBullyingDay to post on social media. If you have children, talk to them about examples of bullying behavior. When adults act quickly and consistently in response to bullies, they help stop the behavior over time.

What Kids Can Do

Kids can keep themselves and others safe from bullying when they do the following:

  • Treat others with respect. Think through what you do and say to make sure it won't cause physical or emotional harm.
  • If you're angry, take time to cool off or find healthy ways to communicate.
  • If you're being bullied, look the bully in the eye and tell them calmly and firmly to stop. If you can't or they don't stop, find an adult.
  • If you see someone else being bullied, let an adult know.
  • Stay near grown-ups and kids you know treat others with respect.

What do you think? Has your child been a victim of bullying? Or has someone you know inspired others to take a stand against a bully? Let us know in the comments.