The psychological effects of Bullying
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behaviour 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 behaviours happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumours, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Types of Bullying
There are three types of bullying:
- Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
o Inappropriate sexual comments
o Threatening to cause harm
- Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes
o Leaving someone out on purpose
o Telling other children not to be friends with someone
o Spreading rumours about someone
o Embarrassing someone in public
- Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
o Taking or breaking someone’s things
o Making mean or rude hand gestures
Where and When Bullying Happens
Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the bus, at the bus stops. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the child’s community, or on the Internet in the form of cyber-bullying.
Warning Signs for Bullying
There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying —either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.
It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.
Continued in next edition with Signs a Child Is Being Bullied