Understanding Bullying

In order to understand bullying, it is helpful to picture the bullying act. In each bullying act there is a victim, the head bully, there can be assistant bullies who join in, reinforcers like an audience or the ones who laugh or encourage the bully, outsiders who stay away or take no sides, and defenders who step in, stick up or comfort the victim.

By definition, a bully is “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker”.

Bullying is a big problem. Bullying involves an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim; this makes it hard for the victim to defend him/herself when the bully is doing something deliberately hurtful towards him/her.

Bullying is an ongoing situation since it is repeated over time. A single aggressive incident is considered harassment and can be extremely harmful to the victim, but it is not bullying as it is not repetitive.

Bullying can be direct or indirect, and it can be done by one or more individuals, many times children.

Bullying can be differentiated by the type of aggression it is done through:

* Physical bullying: the aggression takes the form of pushing, hitting,
kicking, gesturing, or invading the physical space of the victim in a
way that it is not wanted by the victim, or the undesired taking and/
or destroying of the victim’s property.

* Verbal bullying: the aggression is done through teasing, insulting,
cursing, threatening, or expressing mean words towards the victim.

* Relational bullying: the aggression is excluding, rejecting and isolating
the victim, damaging the victim’s position and relationship within a
social group, as it happens in cliques.

* Cyberbullying: willful and recurring damage caused through the use of
computers, cell phones, and other electronic devises.
Examples of repeated and intentional actions that result in harm to a person:
* sending repeatedly unkind words over the internet or cell phones
* posting text, images, audio or video through a cellphone network, or over
the internet
* sending a picture or video using a cell phone or via the internet