What is Bullying?

Bullying can be anything from being made to feel physically intimidated to having hurtful rumours spread over social media.

Here are a few ways children and young people have described bullying:

  • being called names
  • being ignored and purposely left out
  • being put down or humiliated
  • being teased
  • being pushed or pulled about
  • having money and other possessions taken or messed about with
  • having rumours spread about you
  • being threatened or intimidated

There are different types of bullying:

  • verbal or written abuse - such as targeted name-calling or jokes, or displaying offensive posters
  • violence - this includes threats of violence
  • sexual harassment - unwelcome or unreciprocated conduct of a sexual nature, which could reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or intimidation
  • homophobia and other hostile behaviour towards students relating to gender and sexuality
  • discrimination including racial discrimination - treating people differently because of their identity
  • cyberbullying - either online using social media or via mobile phone, offensive texts for example.

What is not bullying?

There are also some behaviours, which, although they might be unpleasant or distressing, are not bullying:

  • mutual conflict - which involves a disagreement, but not an imbalance of power. Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.
  • single-episode acts of nastiness or physical aggression, or aggression directed towards many different people, is not bullying
  • social rejection or dislike is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.