What is bullying?

Bullying is the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face-to-face or through cyberspace, and comes in many different forms:

Verbal

Name calling, persistent teasing, mocking, taunting and threats.

Physical

Any form of physical violence, intimidating behaviour, theft or the intentional damage of possessions. This includes hitting, kicking and pushing.

Emotional

Excluding, tormenting, ridiculing, humiliation, setting people up and spreading rumours.

Cyberbullying

The misuse of digital technologies or communications to bully a person or a group, typically through messages or actions that are threatening and/or intended to cause offence, anxiety or humiliation.

Who gets bullied?

It is never your fault if you are bullied. People can be targeted for any reason, but people who bully others often target 'difference' and bullying can be a form of wider discrimination. For example bullying behaviour may be:

Racist

Targeted at ethnicity, skin colour, language, religious or cultural practices.

Homophobic, biphobic and/or transphobic

Targeted at actual or perceived sexuality and/or gender.

Sexual and/or sexist

Sexual and/or sexist behaviour that is intended to cause offence, humiliation or intimidation .

Disablist

Targeted at an impairment or special educational need.

Targeting any 'difference'

In our experience bullying behaviour can also be targeted at 'looks', weight and height, colour of hair, wearing glasses or braces, acne, psoriasis and eczema, scars, marks or conditions of the face or body, body odour, poverty, gifts and talents or family situation (e.g. divorce, bereavement, homelessness).

What is NOT bullying

Bullying is behaviour that is intended to hurt, is repeated and where there is an imbalance of power (when it is hard for the person being bullied to defend themselves). This means that one off incidents are not usually bullying behaviour though they may still be frightening and harmful.

In a group situation it may be the case that lots of children say or do something to a child, and though each individual child may only say or do something once, the behaviour has been repeated throughout the group, and is therefore likely to be bullying.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the misuse of digital technologies or communications to bully a person or a group, typically through messages or actions that are threatening and/or intended to cause offence, anxiety or humiliation.

Examples of cyberbullying

  • Abusive comments, rumours, gossip and threats made using digital communications and/or technologies - this includes internet trolling
  • Sharing pictures, videos or personal information without the consent of the owner and with the intent to cause harm or humiliation
  • Hacking into someone's email, phone or online profiles to extract and share personal information, or to send hurtful content while posing as that person
  • Creating dedicated websites that intend to harm, make fun of someone or spread malicious rumours
  • Pressurising someone to do something they do not want to such as sending a sexually explicit image

 

Dealing with cyberbullying

Subscribe to updates for parents, carers and education professionals, direct to your inbox.

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site you agree to these cookies being set. See our cookies policy for more information or to change your cookie preferences at any time.

OK, hide this message
Back to the Top