Bullying and Peer Pressure

A blue-eyed teenage girl with up-do hair and a red plaid shirt is lying on her arms on a white bed. Next to her are two books.
billings clinic pediatrics

We Are Here to Help You

Social pressure and stereotypes influence self-esteem and decision-making, especially in adolescents, as they are completing their character building. At Children's Clinic, we care about the well-being of our patients, so our highly trained staff is ready to listen to you and help you.

  • Bullying
  • Cyberbullying
  • Peer Pressure
  • Social Media Use


In the background, there is a group of teenagers pointing at and mocking a sad red-haired girl with her arms crossed in the center of the picture.

Bullying is a huge concern for kids, teens, and parents. The most important thing for you to do if you are getting bullied is to tell a trusted adult.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time. Both teens who are bullied and those who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. 

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. There are three types of bullying: verbal, social, and physical.

Bullying stops us from being who we want to be, prevents us from expressing ourselves freely, and might even make us feel unsafe. If you are bullied, say something! If you are bullying, it’s not cool!

I might be being bullied:

  • SPEAK UP: If you feel uncomfortable with the comments or actions of someone… tell someone! It is better to let a trusted adult know than to let the problem continue.
  • Get familiar with what bullying is and what it is not. If you recognize any of the descriptions, you should stay calm, be respectful, and tell an adult as soon as possible.
  • If you feel like you are at risk of harming yourself or others, get help now!

I don't get bullied, but my friend does:

To learn more about bullying, check out these trusted resources:



A teenage boy in red tennis shoes and a green shirt sits on the floor in the corner of a room with his face down while sadly holding his cell phone.

Cyberbullying is bullying that happens through texting, the internet, or social media. Remember, bullying does not only happen at school. It happens on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Just because cyberbullying isn't happening face-to-face doesn't make it any less real or harmful.

Cyberbullying comes in many forms, but the most common are:

  • Receiving intentionally hurtful text messages, emails, or direct messages on social media sites.
  • People spreading rumors or lies about someone online.
  • People sending images or videos intended to humiliate or embarrass someone.
  • People sending threats to someone.
  • People setting up and using fake online profiles to embarrass or intimidate someone.

How is cyberbullying different from other forms of bullying?

Bullying is a kind of behavior that is designed to cause intentional harm. Cyberbullying can be even more distressing because of its very public and uncontrollable nature. For example:

  • There’s no limit to who can view or take part in cyberbullying.
  • It can be very difficult to remove content shared online.
  • Bullies can be anonymous.
  • Content can be accessed through search engines.

It's hard for teens to escape the bullying, especially if they use technology in their everyday lives. It's suggested that teens can be more likely to be bullied online than they would in real life, as the bullies feel less accountable for their actions due to the nature of the online world.

Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure

Three teenagers are seated. The focus of the camera is on the boy in the middle, who is wearing a gray sweatshirt.

It can be difficult to stand up to a group of friends who want you to do something that you do not feel comfortable doing! However, it is a very important skill. 

Here are some links to help you think through how to stand up to your friends and peers:

Social Media Use

Social Media Use

A Teenage girl with straight hair and mezcilla shirt is taking a selfie on a yellow couch

Social media is everywhere! Have you ever paid attention to how much time your phone is in your hand throughout the day?!

There are many benefits of social media. Through social media, you can:

  • Develop better social skills.
  • Feel less isolated.
  • Learn about new cultural and societal ideas and issues.
  • Bond with your friends.
  • Have fun.
  • Be better equipped to be active citizens in society.
  • Develop real-world skills to help you become more independent.
  • Learn about world events.
  • Access health information (like this website!).

But there are many risks, too:

  • Spending too much time online and being disconnected from the real world.
  • Being the victim of cyberbullying.
  • Having your personal information shared online.
  • Being harassed or annoyed by someone you do not want attention from.
  • Being the victim of an online scam.
  • Having reduced self-esteem.