Bullying among children is understood as repeated, negative acts committed by one or more children against another. These negative acts may be physical or verbal in nature - for example, hitting or kicking, teasing or taunting - or they may involve indirect actions such as manipulating friendships or purposely excluding other children from activities. Bullying used to be considered a part of growing up - unpleasant but unavoidable. The law now recognizes that bullying at school can cause immense harm and unhappiness. .
Bullying among primary school age children has become recognized as an antecedent to more violent behavior in later grades. Not only does bullying harm both its intended victims and the perpetrators, it also may affect the climate of schools and, indirectly, the ability of all students to learn to the best of their abilities. Victims of bullying are often rejected by their peers, and are at risk for depression, dropping out of school, poor self-esteem, and other mental health problems, including schizophrenia. It is not only victims who are at risk for short- and long-term problems; bullies also are at increased risk for negative outcomes. Children who are bullies often attend school less frequently and are more likely to drop out than other students. Authors of the survey "Talking With Kids About Tough Issues," by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Nickelodeon, asked 1,249 parents of children ages 8 to 15 and 823 children ages 8 to 15 about their problems and whether they sort them out by talking to each other. .
Seventy-four percent of 8- to 11-year-olds say teasing and bullying occur at their school, more than smoking or drinking or drugs or sex. As kids get older -- 12- to 15-year-olds were a separate group in the survey -- the number rises to 86 percent, still higher than substance abuse or sex. And both age groups called the teasing and bullying "big problems" that rank higher than racism, AIDS, the pressure to have sex or to try alcohol or drugs .