What is bullying?
If we look at the formal definition of 'Bullying' it is: When a person or group of people use words and or actions intentionally and repeatedly to reject, control, intimidate or hurt others. It is where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. BUT. This behaviour has to start somewhere...
Let's start with the Bullybug
The Bullybug can find anyone. The Bullybug can strike at any time. The Bullybug can appear in many different forms and we believe that it is helpful to identify and label the bullying 'behaviour' rather than labelling the person as 'a bully'. We have listed a few of these behaviours below.
ANYONE can experience bullying behaviour, anywhere, at any time and in many ways...
Social bullying is behavior that damages someone's relationships and the opinion others have of them.
Some examples of what social bullying behavior can look like are:
- Encouraging other people not to be friends with someone.
- Deliberately leaving someone out or ignoring them.
- Embarrassing someone in front of other people.
- Sharing information or images whether true or false to hurt someone or make other people not like them.
Verbal bullying is behavior that involves saying or writing unkind things to hurt or threaten someone.
Some examples of what verbal bullying behavior can look like are:
- Making fun of someone and or their family regarding the way they look or other ways they may be different such as race or disability.
- Teasing and name calling
- Inappropriate comments that make the other person feel uncomfortable or scared.
- Threatening to hurt someone in any way.
Physical bullying is behavior that involves physically injuring someone, damaging their belongings or making someone afraid of being hurt.
Some examples of what physical bullying behavior can look like are:
- Touching someone in anyway when they don't want you to.
- Hitting or kicking
- Pushing or tripping
- Intimidating someone by standing too close or leaning over them.
- Stealing or breaking belongings
Cyberbullying is repeated social, verbal and threatening behavior that involves the use of digital technology.
Cyberbullying has another level of harm that comes with interactions reaching a wider audience, spreading faster than in person and often being made anonymously creating another level of power imbalance and vulnerability.
Some examples of what Cyberbullying behavior can look like are:
- Sending threatening or unkind messages to someone via text, social media or email.
- Sharing images or information about someone with others via text social media or email without the person's consent.
Covert bullying behaviour
Bullying behavior can sometimes be hard to recognize as it is not always used in an obvious way and out in the open where people can easily hear or see it.
Sometimes it is used in more subtle or sneaky ways when no one is watching or in a way that makes it hard for others to see or hear. This is called 'covert behaviour'.
ALL unkind behaviour hurts..
Unkind behaviour, even if not technically bullying behaviour can still be hurtful and cause long lasting harm.
For example, a single comment about someone's appearance might stick with that person for life, make them self-conscious and affect their self worth.
ALWAYS think about the effect your words and actions might have on others.
Why do people use bullying behavior?
There are many reasons why someone might use bullying behaviour. Our minds work differently and our home environment and life experiences influence the way we understand and interact with the world around us.
It is helpful to understand the triggers that can cause bullying behaviour. Below are SOME examples however there may be other reasons for the behaviour too.
Often bullying behavior is used like a shield.
Sometimes when we are going through something really tough we might use bullying behaviour to feel like we still have some control over something.
Also when we don't like something about ourselves and perhaps feel jealous of others, we might use bullying behaviour to deflect this onto another person. This often just leads to everyone feeling bad about themselves.
Sometimes bullying behavior is learned by example.
Right from when we are babies, we learn to react to situations based on how those around us behave. We can mirror this behaviour without even thinking about it.
Bullying behavior can be used to get attention
There are many reasons we seek the attention of others such as feeling lonely, bored or wanting someone's affection or approval. Sometimes bullying behavior is used to get this attention because we don't know how to communicate our needs in a better way.
Bullying behavior is sometimes used due to low self-worth.
We might use bullying behavior due to peer pressure or to feel like we fit in and 'look cool' in front of others.
Bullying behavior can also come from fear and lack of understanding...