Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior 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 behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power (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 behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. 
    Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and intentionally excluding someone from a group.

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

   •    Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:

           ◦    Teasing

           ◦    Name-calling

           ◦    Inappropriate sexual comments

           ◦    Taunting

           ◦    Threatening to cause harm

   •    Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:

           ◦    Leaving someone out on purpose

           ◦    Telling other children not to be friends with someone

           ◦    Spreading rumors about someone

           ◦    Embarrassing someone in public

   •    Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:

           ◦    Hitting/kicking/pinching

           ◦    Spitting

           ◦    Tripping/pushing

           ◦    Taking or breaking someone’s things

           ◦    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 playground or the bus. It can also happen traveling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.


Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else that causes embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter)
  • Text Messages
  • Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)
  • Email

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