What is bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.  The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.  Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.


Double I-R Criteria for Bullying

Bullying behavior is Intentional, Imbalanced, and Repeated

·      Intentional – bullying incidents are not accidental; the bully intends to inflict harm upon the victim; bullying differs from everyday “rough-and-tumble play” in that the behavior continues or even escalates when asked to stop

·      Imbalanced – bullying occurs in an interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power, either physical or psychological; bullies are adept at identifying other students who lack the skills, abilities, or personal characteristics to defend themselves; bullies are masters of the abuse of power and use of coercion

·      Repeated – acts must occur more than once; teachers/adults must step in to provide support and protection when incidents are repeated and beyond the control of the victim; while “single-event” acts of aggression are problematic and require adult attention; most students experience the occasional unpleasant or even aggressive acts but are able to handle the “single-event” incident

Types of bullying

There are many different types of bullying that can be experienced by children and adults alike, some are obvious to spot while others can be more subtle. The different types of bullying below are some of the ways that bullying could be happening.

·      Physical bullying

Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying causes both short term and long-term damage. 

·      Verbal bullying

Verbal bullying includes name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. While verbal bullying can start off harmless, it can escalate to levels which start affecting the individual target. Keep reading in this section for techniques to deal with verbal bullying.

·      Social bullying

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as covert bullying, is often harder to recognize and can be carried out behind the bullied person's back. It is designed to harm someone's social reputation and/or cause humiliation. Social bullying includes:

·       lying and spreading rumors

·       negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks

·       playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate

·       mimicking unkindly

·       encouraging others to socially exclude someone

·       damaging someone's social reputation or social acceptance.

·      Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying can be overt or covert bullying behaviors using digital technologies, including hardware such as computers and smartphones, and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms.

Cyber bullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying. Cyber bullying can include:

·       Abusive or hurtful texts emails or posts, images or videos

·       Deliberately excluding others online

·       Nasty gossip or rumors

·       Imitating others online or using their log-in