What is Bullying?

Bullying is when one or more persons repeatedly and purposely say or do mean or hurtful things to a person, who has a hard time defending him or herself.  This repeated unwanted, aggressive behavior towards a person can happen face to face or through an electronic device.

Cyber-bullying, like traditional bullying, involves an imbalance of power, aggression, and a negative action that is often repeated.  It is done through email, instant messaging (IMing), chat room exchanges, Web site posts, or digital messages or images send to a cellular phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).

Bullying is different from playful teasing and can take on many forms:

  • Verbal through derogatory comments and bad names
  • Social exclusion or isolation
  • Physical by hitting kicking and shoving
  • Through lies and false rumors
  • Having money or other thing taken or damaged by students
  • Being threatened or forced to do things by students
  • Racial bullying
  • Sexual bullying

This list has been adapted from a publication originally created for “Take a Stand.  Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!” a campaign of the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.stopbullying.gov