7 CHARACTERISTICS OF BULLYING
1. BULLYING IS INTENTIONAL
One or more young people choose to bully a single or many other students. The target is not to blame. Bullies are responsible for their actions.
2. BULLYING IS AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR
Bullying is unprovoked, hostile, forceful, sometimes violent, and often threatening behavior. Bullies seek to hurt, harm, threaten, harass, intimidate and/or terrorize the “target(s).” It often spans a long period of time, not just one incident, though sometimes the incident may be severe enough in one incident. Hitting, name-calling, isolating and ostracizing, terrorizing and threatening are common bullying tactics.
3. BULLIES SEEK POWER AND CONTROL
Bullying is not simple or innocent play. It is not fun for the target and many peers who are watching the behaviors. Generally, the bully seeks domination and control over the target(s), as well as witnesses and bystanders.
4. BULLYING MAY BE PHYSICAL, VERBAL, AND/OR VISUAL
Physical bullying includes hitting, slugging, kicking, pushing, shoving, pulling, and restraining the target. Name-calling, insults, belittling, taunting, gossiping, and threatening are examples of verbal bullying. On the rise is sexual bullying: sexual name-calling, comments about the target’s appearance, and uninvited touching.
5. CYBERBULLYING IS BECOMING AN EPIDEMIC
The use of technology to bully is out of control: emails, phone calls, texting, use of social media such as Facebook, Vine, Instagram, Ask.fm, and other apps. Internet communications are 24/7. The bully is sometimes anonymous, and always behind the device so they are emboldened to act. It is more difficult to intervene in cyberbullying until after the damage is done.
6. BULLYING MAY BE CLEARLY DISCRIMINATORY
Bullies often consider one’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and disability to select targets. As well, almost any real or imaged difference can be used as an excuse to bully.
7. BULLYING IS NOT AN INNOCENT PRANK OR PASTIME
Bullying hurts and keeps on hurting. Studies have shown that the target and the bullies may suffer depression, humiliation, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), anxiety about attending school, and other emotional injuries. Some contemplate suicide. Everyone is harmed by bullying behavior. Bullying interferes with learning in our schools.