Bullies “choose their victims wisely, targeting kids who are unpopular and less likely to be defended by their peers,” concludes a study of Dutch elementary students reported in LiveScience. The University of Groningen study is published in the March/April 2010 issue of the journal Child Development.
Bullies gain status by dominating their victims. Usually, elementary-school boys care only about what other boys think, while girls care about other girls.
In a popular anti-bullying program in the U.S., children are encouraged to stick up for victims rather than standing by passively or backing the bully, reports NPR. They’re also told not to fight back. Violence is not OK, even in self-defense.