Basics of Bullying

Basics of Bullying


What is Bullying?

Bullying involves:

  • Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control harm, and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
  • Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm - physical, emotional, psychological, etc
  • Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same person over and over by the same person or group

Types of Bullying

  • Verbal: writing or saying mean things – name-calling, teasing, taunting, threatening
  • Social: hurting someone’s reputation or relationships – spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships, embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical: hurting someone’s body or possessions – hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone’s things, making mean or rude hand gestures
  • Cyber: sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else – social media, text, email, direct message, instant message, message boards, chat rooms, video games, apps

When and Where Can Bullying Happen?

Bullying can happen anywhere and at any time. Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in 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. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
  • Text Message sent through devices
  • Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
  • Games and Gaming Devices
  • Email

Special Concerns about Cyberbullying

With the prevalence of social media and digital forums, comments, photos, posts, and content shared by individuals can often be viewed by strangers as well as acquaintances. The content an individual shares online – both their personal content as well as any negative, mean, or hurtful content – creates a kind of permanent public record of their views, activities, and behavior. This public record can be thought of as an online reputation, which may be accessible to schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others who may be researching an individual now or in the future. Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved – not just the person being bullied, but those doing the bullying or participating in it. Cyberbullying has unique concerns in that it can be:

  • Persistent – Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.
  • Permanent – Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.
  • Hard to Notice – Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize.

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