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.
Bullying includes harassment, physical harm, repeatedly demeaning speech and efforts to ostracize another person. Bullying is active, and is done with the intention of bringing another person down. It is important to realize that there are different kinds of bullying:
- Physical Bullying: This is the most obvious form of bullying. In this type of bullying, the instigator attempts to physically dominate another teen. This usually includes kicking, punching and other physically harmful activities, designed to instill fear in the one bullied, and possible coerce him or her to do something.
- Verbal Bullying: When someone verbally bullies another, he or she uses demeaning language to tear down another’s self-image. Bullies who use verbal techniques excessively tease others, say belittling things and use a great deal of sarcasm with the intent to hurt the other person’s feelings or humiliate the other teen in front of others.
- Emotional: This is even more subtle than verbal bullying. Teenage bullying that includes emotional methods aims at getting someone else to feel isolated, alone and may even prompt depression. This type of bullying is designed to get others to ostracize the person being bullied.
- Cyber Bullying: Electronic bullying is becoming a very real problem for teens. This type of bullying uses instant messaging, cell phone text messages and online social networks to humiliate and embarrass others. This can be especially devastating to the people being bullied, since they cannot even find a safe place in the virtual world.