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What Is Bullying?
What Is Bullying?
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What Is Bullying?

This video defines bullying and differentiates the types of bullying – active bullying (physical or verbal), passive bullying (making someone feel inferior or excluded), and cyber bullying (sending mean messages via text, email, or social media). The video goes over what to do if someone is bullying you or if you witness bullying, including saving the evidence of cyber bullying. It also includes how to support someone being bullied. 

Youth

Bullying is when one person hurts, harms or is mean to another person over and over again. Some bullies may be mean by repeatedly tripping, hitting or pushing someone, while other bullies may leave a person out or not invite them to join games or group activities. Other bullies may send mean messages through text or social media over and over again.

Bullies may act this way to make themselves feel better or more powerful than other people. Bullies may also act this way towards people they believe are different from other people. It is never okay to bully others for any reason.

If you are being bullied or know someone who is being bullied at school or online, talk to a parent, teacher, counselor or another trusted adult. You and your friends can also stand up against bullying by speaking up when someone is being bullied, refusing to share mean and harmful messages about your peers and reporting bullying when you witness it.

If I think I am being cyberbullied, what can I do?

It’s often recommended that you ignore bullying messages instead of responding to them, but we know that’s tough! You can also unfriend bullies or block their messages or texts, so you don’t see them. Ignoring cyberbullying isn’t your only option, and you definitely don’t have to face it alone. It’s a good idea to get help from a parent, school counselor or another trusted adult. Save the messages, especially if the cyberbullying contains threats, so they can be reported to the proper authorities.

Why do people bully?

People bully others for many reasons. Often they to it because they are insecure, and they put others down to try and feel better about themselves. Sometimes though, a person may bully others when someone is bullying them and they feel like they don’t have any power.

If a bully is being mean, should I be mean back?

Being mean to a bully may make you feel good in the short term; however, it doesn’t guarantee that the bullying will stop. In fact, being mean to a bully may only make them feel like they have more of a reason to be mean. If you’re worried about how to address a bully, talk to an adult you trust about how to deal with the situation.

Parents

Bullying is repeated behavior that hurts, harms or humiliates a person either physically or emotionally, and it can happen while at school, in the community or online. Active bullying is physically harmful behavior, like tripping, hitting or pushing, while passive bullying involves excluding a person from a group or social activities. Cyberbullying includes repeatedly sending hurtful or humiliating messages through text or social media.

Twenty-two percent of 12-to 18-year-old students report being bullied during the school year, but only 64 percent of young people who are bullied report it, according to the 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Young people may be bullied for a variety of reasons, including their physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or social status. Young people who are bullied may be more likely to have problems in school or experience sleep difficulty, anxiety or depression.

Young people have a unique power to prevent bullying. Some research estimates that 57 percent of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of a person who is being bullied. Parents and guardians can encourage their children to be upstanders by speaking up when someone is being bullied, refusing to share harmful messages about their peers and reporting bullying when they witness it. Talk with your child about bullying, so they know they can come to you for help if they or their friends are being bullied.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

Start essential conversations about bullying with your children, so they know they can come to you if they or someone they know is being bullied. The easiest way to start these conversations is to talk about issues as they arise in everyday life. Here are some ways to start these conversations:

Talk about bullying if you hear about an incident

If you hear about someone who is being bullied or is bullying other kids, broach the topic with your child while in the car. “I heard Alice was sending messages that weren’t very nice to another kid at school. Did you hear about this?” This is just one way to begin the conversation. You can talk about how hurtful bullying is and how some people bully others to make themselves feel powerful. By asking what your child thinks about this, you can find out if they have experienced bullying and how they would handle it. This is also a good time to reassure your child that they can come to you if they are bullied.

Make it clear that bullying others is wrong

Sometimes it can be difficult for young people to see bullying as a particular wrong if they don’t see adults standing up against it, or if they see adults bullying each other. Being clear with young people that it is wrong to bully others, and practicing kind, supportive behaviors goes a long way to help them understand the importance of being an upstander.

Educators

Bullying is repeated behavior that hurts, harms or humiliates a person either physically or emotionally, and it can happen while at school, in the community or online. Active bullying is physically harmful behavior, like tripping, hitting or pushing, while passive bullying involves excluding a person from a group or social activities. Cyberbullying includes repeatedly sending hurtful or humiliating messages through text or social media.

Twenty-two percent of 12-to 18-year-old students report being bullied during the school year, but only 64 percent of young people who are bullied report it, according to the 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Students may be bullied for a variety of reasons, including their physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or social status. Young people who are bullied may be more likely to have problems in school or experience sleep difficulty, anxiety or depression.

Young people have a unique power to prevent bullying. Some research estimates that 57 percent of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of a person who is being bullied. Educators can encourage their students to be upstanders by speaking up when someone is being bullied, refusing to share harmful messages about their peers and reporting bullying when they witness it. Talk with your students about bullying, so they know they can come to you for help if they or their friends are being bullied.

National Sex Education Standards

IV.2.AI.1 - Situations that May Be Uncomfortable or Dangerous

Identify situations that may be uncomfortable or dangerous (e.g., bullying, teasing, child sexual abuse)

View all IV.2.AI.1 Videos

IV.2.AI.2 - Trusted Adults, Including Parents and Caregivers

Identify trusted adults, including parents and caregivers, that you can talk to about situations which may be uncomfortable or dangerous (e.g., bullying, teasing, child sexual abuse)

View all IV.2.AI.2 Videos

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • According to the video, what’s the biggest difference between someone who is a bystander to bullying and someone who acts as an upstander?
  • What are three different strategies an upstander could use to address bullying when they see it?
  • Do you believe the strategies listed in this video could be effective at addressing bullying? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think people choose to bully others?
  • What difference do you believe it would make if more people became upstanders instead of bystanders when bullying happens?

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