There’s a good chance you’ve been bullied at least once in your life. You’re not alone.

More than 1 in 5 students is bullied in school, a new study shows. High school and middle schools are stomping grounds for the kind of bullying that can severely affect a child’s life.

Here’s a look at some statistics related to bullying, compiled by the National Center for Bullying Prevention:

Among high school students, 20 percent are bullied on school property and 16 percent are cyberbullied
Among middle school students, 45 percent are bullied on school property and 24 percent are cyberbullied
Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of children who were bullied did not report it
Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers
Almost three-quarters (74.1 percent) of LGBTQ students were verbally bullied (e.g., called names, threatened) in the past year because of their sexual orientation

Since children spend most of their time in school or school-sanctioned activities, their life experiences both now and in the future are greatly shaped by their school life. Studies in JAMA Psychiatry have shown that students who have suffered bullying in school tended to show symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Bullying is a big deal. Know the signs and how to address it.

Signs that your child could be facing bullying in school:

  • Decreased confidence
  • Signs of self-isolation
  • Change in behavior
  • Decreased desire to go to school or school-related activities
  • Shows signs of bullying younger siblings
  • Waiting to use bathroom at home (school bathrooms are a common place for bullying)

How to address it:

  • Ask open-ended questions that allow your child to give more than a one-word response.
  • Pay attention. We all have a lot on our plates, but being attentive and aware is key to catch the trouble signs.
  • Listen and respond with kindness. Show your child that they are putting their trust in good hands.
  • Seek the help of a trained mental health professional if the signs continue, intensify, or your gut instinct tells you “something is not right with my child”.

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