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What do pupils do when they are bullied?

In 1997 over 2,000 pupils in England answered questions about bullying. It was found that in a bullying situation the most common reaction was to ignore the bullies (66%), the next most common response was to tell them to stop (26%). Other strategies which were used less frequently included asking an adult to help and fighting back (both 23%), then crying, followed by asking friends for help. The least common reaction was to run away. It was found that girls were more likely than boys to cry or ask friends for help. Boys were more likely than girls to fight back. It was also found that the reactions changed with age. As they grew older, children were less likely to react by crying and running away and were even more likely to ignore the bullies. It's pointed out that reacting by ignoring the bullies might well be more useful with some types of bullying rather than others, for example it would probably be more useful if a child was being called horrible names rather than being hit.
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Article details

P K Smith and Shu Shu (2000) 'What Good Schools Can Do About Bullying: findings from a survey in English schools after a decade of research and action', in, 'Childhood', Volume 7, Issue 2.
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Author details

Peter SmithProfessor Peter K Smith is Head of the Unit for School and Family Studies, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths College, London. He has been involved in bullying research for a number of years and has published widely on this topic.

Peter Smith may be contacted by email, and the website of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths College may be found here.
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