Quick review for understanding bullying

What is bullying?

Bullying is a form of emotional or physical abuse that has three defining characteristics:

  1. Deliberate—a bully’s intention is to hurt someone
  2. Repeated—a bully often targets the same victim again and again
  3. Power Imbalanced—a bully chooses victims he or she perceives as vulnerable

Bullying occurs in many different forms, with varying levels of severity.

It may involve:

  • Physical Bullying—poking, pushing, hitting, kicking, beating up
  • Verbal Bullying —yelling, taunting, name-calling, insulting, threatening to harm
  • Relational Bullying—excluding, spreading rumors, getting others to hurt someone
  • Cyberbullying—Sending hurtful messages or images by Internet or cell phone


Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders

Bullying involves multiple players. Bullies, victims, and bystanders all play important
roles in contributing to bullying—and each can help make bullying stop.

Bullies… select and systematically train their victims to comply with their demands. They
seek active encouragement, passive acceptance, or silence from bystanders. But, bullies
can be stopped when victims and bystanders stand up against bullying.

Victims… reward the bully by yielding control and showing signs of intimidation. They
often fail to gain support from bystanders and avoid reporting the bullying. But, victims
can learn to defeat the bully by responding assertively, rallying support from bystanders, or
reporting the bullying to adults.

Bystanders… play an important and pivotal role in promoting or preventing bullying. Often
without realizing it, they may exacerbate a situation by providing an audience, maintaining
silence, actively encouraging, or joining in. But, bystanders can neutralize or stop the
bullying by aiding the victim, drawing support from other bystanders, or obtaining help
from adults.

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“By the age of 13, as many as 7 out of 10 kids will quit playing an organized sport, because it is simply not fun anymore.”

- The Aspen Institute Project Play