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.
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.
Physical: When someone pushes, shoves, hits, kicks, bites, or otherwise hurts another person’s body. It can also include talking or damaging someone else’s things.
Verbal: It’s really common because it is quick, direct, and easy to do. Examples include teasing, name calling, threats, mean jokes, rumors, gossip, and saying things about someone that are not true.
Emotional/Social: It is not always obvious, but it can hurt a lot. It hurts people on the inside and makes them feel bad about themselves. Examples include leaving someone out on purpose, telling lies about someone, and embarrassing somebody.
Cyberbullying: Using technology is the sending mean text messages, posting videos, stories, or photos that make fun of someone, and spreading rumors online.
Research shows that bullying has significant short and long-term effects that impact education, health and safety.
Bullying can negatively impact a child’s access to education and lead to:
School avoidance and higher rates of absenteeism
Decrease in grades
Inability to concentrate
Loss of interest in academic achievement
Increase in dropout rates
Bullying can also lead to physical and mental health problems, including:
Headaches and stomachaches
Increased fear or anxiety
Post traumatic stress
Bullying also impacts student sense of well-being, such as:
Self-harm and suicidal ideation
Feeling of alienation at school
It’s not just the targets of bullying who are hurt by it. Students who bully sometimes have problems with the law when they’re older. Students who see bullying happen often feel afraid or angry and even though they want to help, they don’t know how.
If you’re being bullied, there’s a lot you can do:
Know that you do not deserve what is happening
Tell someone: your parents, a teacher, or trusted adult.
With that adult, develop a plan about how you can respond to the situation.
A lot of kids say they don’t want to tell an adult about bullying because they don’t want to be called a tattle-tale. But there’s a big difference between “telling” and “tattling”.
Telling→ Done to protect yourself or another student from getting hurt.
Tattling→ Done to get someone in trouble.