Teens and Bullying. Teasing. Harassing.
Whatever you want to call it, bullying is a problem in many schools and continues to be a hot topic in the national press. We've know many students experienced some form of bullying in the past year. For some, it may have occurred just once this, while for others, it happened daily.
At the conclusion of the contest, Stage of Life took the time to look into and categorize why teens are bullied.
The StageofLife.com poll results revealed the following bullying statistics:
- 1085 teens from across the US took part in StageofLife.com's bullying poll by answering the question, "Have you ever been bullied, teased or picked on, and if so, about what?"
- After taking the poll, hundreds then submitted personal essays to the national writing contest about their personal experiences with bullying or being bullied.
- 91% of the over 1000 teens surveyed have been a victim of bullying
- "Looks/Size" is the number #1 reason teens have been bullied
- The top five reasons identified by victims of bullying as its cause were:
- Looks/Size (23%)
- Being Smart, "Nerdy" (19%)
- Interests/Hobbies (13%)
- Race (9%)
- Family (6%)
- 3% of teens admitted to having been a bully and now regret their actions
- 6% of teens have never been bullied
- The following reasons were also identified by teenagers for the cause of the bullying: being poor (5%), being rich (2%), having physical or learning disability (4% combined), sexual orientation (2%), and receiving food assistance from food stamps or a food bank (1%).
- View all our bullying poll results.
From the contest there were several themes and trends that emerged:
1. Confidence is Key: Most teens learned that the best way to overcome bullying is to be proud of yourself; have faith in who you are as a person, and a bully’s words won’t sting as badly.
2. Friends: It also helps to have a friend who helps you stand up for yourself, or at the very least, understands what you are going through. Friends help shoulder your sadness or pain, and can make dealing with bullies much easier.
3. School Officials: Sadly, many teens expressed frustration that their school officials did NOTHING to stop bullying, even after it was reported! This has been a crisis in many school systems, who wave bullying off as a “he said, she said” situation, and decide not to take action. It is important for victims to stress the importance of their situation, and make sure the bully receives a punishment for their actions.
4. Racism: There were a surprising number of stories about racism. Teens still suffered bullying because of something like the color of the skin, or the shape of their eyes. Many teens spoke about the surprise that a melting pot like America could still be this intolerant.
5. Body: Almost one-third of essays submitted this month dealt with bullying because of looks, body shape, or body size. Teens were frustrated because they didn’t look “perfect.” Many teens sought therapy or hospitalization because of this harsh bullying.
6. Bottom Line: Bullying is completely unacceptable; and yet, almost 100 unique stories show that teens regularly deal with bullies and bullying. All stories made a call for bullying to end—that it does nothing but hurt—and yet it continues. You can help by standing up for the bullied, and most importantly, standing up for yourself. Do not let the bullies get you down. You are perfect just the way you are.
Real Life Bullying Essays from Teens:
Immediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our semi-finalists and over 85 other personal bullying essays and stories from college students and teenagers that answered the question, "Have you ever been bullied?"
Please take a few moments to read a bullying story or two. If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most. We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their contest entry).
Winner: I was bullied because of my acne by annchovy (Be proud of yourself)
- I was bullied because my dad is a politician by dobbys_sock77 (She was bullied by girls who were caught under the politician stereotype)\
- I Was Bullied Because They Did Not Know by leoda (Her family received food stamps after the recession hit)
Aside from the finalists, we had a wide variety of teen writing contest entry essays about bullies. We've categorized the responses.
- I was bullied because of my breasts by jcfischer (Her guy friends made fun of her chest size)
- I Was Bullied Simply Because I Am Me by DreamyGal (Bullying made her not want to attend school)
- I was bullied because I am fat by christinemp16 (Bullying brought her to therapy)
- I was bullied because of my clothes by ashley6749 (She thought buying new clothes would help her fit in)
- I Was Bullied Because I’m Fat by IceKacky (Poem about her weight)
- I was bullied because I have scars on my face by kmtunduwani (This teen wishes she didn’t have scars)
- I was bullied because unlike you, I’m no supermodel with a size of two by Kenya J (She has stopped eating during lunch at school to avoid being teased)
- I was bullied because of my looks by Rebecca_07 (She is teased for being very thin)
- I was Bullied For Being Ahead of Puberty by PenguinLuver (Her “friends” accused her of stuffing her bra in the fourth grade)
- I was bullied because I was insecure by heylookitstaylor (This teen developed very early, and “let” people bully her)
- I was bullied because of my hair, and because I let myself care by culacula14 (Young classmates did not understand her Hispanic heritage—or appearance)
- I Was Bullied Because of My Nose, and Other Various Reasons by mynameislynn (She became homeschooled to avoid bullying)
- I was bullied because I was overweight in middle school by adw12 (This teen’s bully apologized to her a few years down the road)
- I was bullied because I’m fun-sized by weirderest (Her basketball coach did not want her on the team because she was “height disadvantaged”)
- I was bullied because of the way I speak by Trinity_Daniels (This teen stood up to the bullies that made fun of her lisp)
- I was bullied because of my size by crisamelia (She was called “Big Mama” throughough elementary school)
- I was bullied because of my hands by dryu (This teen was bullied in what is supposed to be a safe haven: church)
- I Was Bullied Because of My Acne by daniellev689 (This teen learned to be happy in her own skin)
- I witnessed bullying based on appearance by rellea (This teen thought she had the courage to stand up for her friend, but found it hard to say something to bullies)
- I Was Bullied Because I Was An Easy Target by _mrsFERB (This teen tried very hard to be liked)
- I Was Bullied for the Paleness of My Skin by Jewels624 (Bullying has left her paralyzed with fear)
- I was bullied because of my weight by cocobobo10 (Her ex-best friend ordered a gang of girls to beat her up)
- I Was Bullied Because Of My Body by kelsita (Even after she lost weight, she was skeptical of boys’ newfound kindess towards her)
- I Was Bullied Because I am Ugly by artfreak889 (When she decided to take revenge on her bully, her plan blew up in her face)
- I was bullied because of my acne by randomcat (Be optimistic and focus on the good things in life)
- I was bullied because I am not model skinny by jyms00480629 (Bullying led her to develop an eating disorder that landed her in the hospital)
- I was bullied because of my acne by annchovy (Be proud of yourself)
- I Bullied Myself Because a Cerebral Mirror Once Refused to Align with Me by bbontempo3 (He attempted suicide because he didn’t think he was good enough)
- I was bullied because of my size by MoonDancer31807 (This girl was teased for dressing like a goth)
- I Was Bullied Because: My Friends Weren’t Friends At All by jenx817 (This teen’s friends turned on her as soon as she got a boyfriend)
- I was bullied because of jealousy by haleychristina (She was bullied because of her confident and outgoing personality)
- I Was Bullied Because I Did Not Belong to the Clique by Theresa (Cliques make a person feel secure, but they hurt people’s feelings)
- I was bullied… cyberbullied by auderyskulls (This teen discovered that social networking sites like MySpace can be a breeding ground for bullies)
- I Was Bullied Because My Ex-Best Friend Turned Against Me by jes.35 (She was angry that her ex-best friend bragged too much)
- I was bullied because I stood up for a friend by whenwillitgetbetter (This teen stood up for a friend who was being bullied, and ended up becoming a target herself)
- I was bullied for defending a friend who was being bullied by Ninlite (Nobody should let bullies get away their actions)
- I was bullied because I was an easy target by :)Brenna (This teen fell into a clique in elementary school)
- I was bullied because of jealousy and a birthday party by kayaraven (Her ex-friend gave her a list of reasons why she didn’t want to be friends with her… on her tenth birthday)
- I was bullied for being timid by germalist (She stood up for a friend who couldn’t stand for herself)
- I was bullied because I was not aware by joshchonpc (His “friend” used to leave his body black and blue)
- I was bullied because of being the new kid/being smart by sms56400 (Her classmates didn’t like her because she was smart)
- I was bullied because of my fortunate blessings by Dante1o1 (Her classmates used her as a “toy”)
- I was bullied because I was different by lizzy2345 (She was bullied for everything from her smarts to her interests to her looks)
- I Was Bullied Because I Chose to Jump Beyond the Muddy Puddle by Nerdminus (The only thing that matters is that you are happy with yourself)
- I Was Bullied Because I Wasn’t Cool by Emily (Her self esteem plummeted after overhearing a quick snippet of conversation about her)
- I was bullied and used for my knowledge by ilikeyumibetter (This teen’s “friend” was only her friend so she could copy homework)
- I was bullied because I was a nerd by Frizzynot (Her middle school classmates tormented her because she got good grades)
- I was bullied by my brain by momorgan92 (She bullied herself because she was not perfect)
- I was bullied because I’m smart by m.kelly2014 (Therapy helped her overcome bullying)
- I was bullied because of my bubbly personality by minichen97 (This teen is very gullible, and her friends teased her for being stupid)
- I was bullied because of how I speak by firesong15 (She had a heavy British accent in a very rural Ohio town)
- I was bullied because of hate by DesTin DeTar (This teen was bullied because she was the minority)
- I was bullied because of my foreignness by tle1925 (Her family gave up their old life to come to America)
- I was bullied because of my name by xoxohersheykiss (She has a difficult first name to pronounce)
- I was bullied because of my looks and race by Bunni_4eva (She realized that she should have spoken up when she was bullied)
- I Was Bullied Because of My Race by Chelarose (She was teased for being an illegal citizen)
- I was bullied because of my race by autumnleaves (Her family taught her to be proud of her Chinese heritage, and to stand up for herself)
- I was bullied for being an “Oreo” by myzaa (Students called her “white on the inside,” because she was not a “ghetto” African-American woman)
- I was bullied because of my accent by DaniellaRodriguez (Students judged her intelligence based on her “poor” English speaking skills)
- I was bullied because of my racial background by calvinboyo (This teen confronted his bully with kindness)
- I was bullied because I am different—aren’t we all? by lavaloner (She learned to overcome bullying with a friend by her side)
- I was bullied because of who I was by Kevser (She had a hard time speaking English when her family moved from Turkey)
- I Was Bullied Because: I Am White by ciaobella14 (She stopped attending her Arts Middle School because she was teased for being a “princess”)
- I was bullied because of my country by juliarho (This student felt persecuted by her British classmates because she was American)
- I was bullied because I didn’t speak English by NRNT (This teen suffered teasing and physical violence)
- I Was Bullied Because They Did Not Know by leoda (Her family received food stamps after the recession hit)
- I was bullied because I was poor in sixth grade by Bluedreams101 (She was bullied because she did not dress well like the popular girls)
Your Sexual Orientation
- I Was Bullied For Being Bisexual by kaitmalo (Although bullying hurt her, it also made her a stronger person)
- I was bullied because I’m bisexual by SweetSerenity (Her confidence in her sexuality defeated her bullying
- I Was Bullied Because of My Possessions by riserthinking (His classmates stole his favorite binder and pencil case)
- I was bullied because I was rich by smiley192 (Her bullying stopped when she stood up for herself)
I Was the Bully
- I was bullied because someone was jealous of my family by Jesusrocks246 (A girl at her church picked on her because the girl’s family was not as close)
- I was bullied because my dad is a politician by dobbys_sock77 (She was bullied by girls who were caught under the politician stereotype)
A Learning Disability
- I was bullied because of a learning disability by stephw9288 (His brother was bullied for having high-functioning Autism)
We could not list all of the essays submitted for this contest, but we thank every student that participated in the conversation about bullying. To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students: