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. Both kids who are bullied and 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.
Types of Bullying
There are different types of bullying:
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
- Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through texting or messaging online through social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.
How You Should Respond to Bullying Behavior:
- If you or someone you know has been a victim of suspected bullying, report these instances to a teacher, counselor, supervisor, school administrator, or other trusted adult as soon as possible.
- If you experience bullying, some immediate steps you can take include walking away or telling the aggressor to stop in a firm, but calm way.
- If you witness bullying behavior, be more than just a bystander. Only intervene if it is safe to do so. Peer- to-Peer early intervention is proven to be effective in reducing bullying.
- In a moment of bullying, a safe way someone can help the person being bullied can include creating a distraction to help focus the attention on something else.
- If you are the target of cyberbullying:
- Save evidence by taking screen shots or keeping copies of bullying texts, emails, or other communications
- Don’t respond! Tell a teacher, counselor, supervisor, school administrator, or other trusted adult as soon as possible
- Block the aggressors from your social media, email, or other social networking pages
For more information on bullying, please see the resources below.