More than 90 percent of British children have been bullied or have witnessed someone being bullied due to their intelligence or talent, a survey by the U.K.-based Anti-Bullying Alliance has found.
The research indicates that more than a quarter of the 1,000 11-16 year-olds surveyed, or 27.3 percent, have quit an activity they enjoy for fear of being bullying. About half have downplayed a talent for the same reason — a number that rises to 53 percent among girls.
When it comes to core academic subjects, one in 10 children say they have made an effort to hide their science ability, while nearly one in five girls and more than one in 10 boys deliberately underachieve in math to evade bullying.
"We know that bullying can lead to children missing school, failing exams, dropping out of sport, avoiding extra-curricular activities and limiting their life choices,” Anti-Bullying Alliance Chair Ross Hendry said in a statement. “It's unacceptable that rather than celebrate their talent, they feel that they have to hide their gifts, purposely underachieve in crucial subjects and miss out on things they enjoy because of bullying.”
A Guardian blog post points out that, much like in the U.S., bullying is now following children home via social media. According to a study released in August, about 15,000 bullying-related tweets are posted every day, amounting to more than 100,000 derogatory messages each week.
Research conducted in the U.S. last year also found bullying to have a significant impact on high-achieving students, especially blacks and Latinos. While all the students who reported being bullied in the 10th grade saw a slight decrease in GPA by 12th grade, the change was more pronounced for black and Latino students who tend to earn high grades. Black students saw a 0.3-point decrease in 12th grade GPA from a 3.5 GPA in 9th grade, before they were bullied. High achieving Latinos who were bullied experienced a 0.5-point drop in GPA from a 3.5 their freshman year.
"Stereotypes about black and Latino youth suggest that they perform poorly in school," study co-author Lisa M. Williams said in a statement. "High achieving black and Latinos who do not conform to these stereotypes may be especially vulnerable to the effect bullying has on grades."
The release of the Anti-Bullying Alliance survey results coincides with the start of Anti-Bullying Week, which takes place Nov. 19-23.