What is Bullying?

  • Bullying is a form of abuse. It is repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful individual or group abusing those who are less powerful.  The power imbalance may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is often referred to as a target.

    What Are the Different Types of Bullying?

    There are four main types of Bullying. These include:

    1. Physical Bullying involves physical contact that would hurt or injure another person or their property.  Examples include: hitting, kicking, pinching, pushing, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack.
    2. Verbal Bullying is the most common form of bullying. Examples include: name calling, insulting, teasing, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks.
    3. Emotional Bullying in an indirect form of bullying and is most common among girls. Examples include: isolation, spreading rumors or lies about the target
    4. Cyber Bullying is any type of bullying that is carried out by an electronic medium.  Examples include: text messages, picture/video clip, phone calls, E-mail, chat rooms or instant messaging, social networking sites.


    The Bullying Circle

    Bullying affects more than just one student.  Nearly one in five students in an average classroom is experiencing bullying in some way. The rest of the students, called bystanders, are also affected by the bullying.

    Dan Olweus, "Peer Harassment: A Critical Analysis and Some Important Issues," in Peer Harassment in School, ed. J. Juvonen and S. Graham (New York: Guilford Publications, 2001): 3-20.


    Additional Resources

    Bullying in Schools

    Megan Meier Foundation

    Wikipedia - Bullying Definition

    Facts and Myths About Bullying