Bullying is any act where a person uses intimidating behaviour to physically or emotionally hurt another person or people. There is normally an imbalance of power within a bullying relationship. This imbalance can be real or perceived, and bullying acts may be used by the intimidators to increase the power gap. Bullies try to gain power for themselves by taking power away from their victims. In most cases, the aggressive acts that are used by bullies are repeated or have the potential to be repeated in order to exacerbate the effects. A person may be bullied by a single person or by a group of people.
Bullying can be hard to spot and difficult to stop. Bullies are manipulative and seek to undermine their victims, which makes it more difficult for them to seek help. However, it is possible to stop bullying with the support of others. Anti-bullying campaigners favour strategies which prevent the onset of bullying in the first instance.
Who can be bullied? It is possible for anyone to be bullied or to be the bully. Most people associate bullying with children; however bullying can occur in the workplace, in the home, in the neighbourhood and online. Bullying within adult relationships or groups is often misunderstood or misclassified because people often think that bullying only affects children and teenagers.
People may be bullied because of their age, race, gender, social background, physical appearance, mental health, intelligence, sexual orientation and other factors.
What are the effects of bullying? Most people find bullying to be very upsetting, and bullying can cause mental and physical health problems. In addition to the injuries which can be caused by any physical assaults that are carried out by bullies, some people find that the stress of being bullied can also manifest itself through physical illnesses. Some victims of bullying may also choose to self-harm. Bullying can also have long lasting effects on the victim’s mental health. This can have a profound effect for the rest of their lives. In extreme cases, a victim may choose to take their own life as a way to escape bullying.
Are there different types of bullying? Bullying can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. Verbal bullying is one of the most common types of bullying. Verbal bullying includes name-calling, teasing, hurtful comments and other types of spoken communication which are designed to upset the victim. Bullying can also manifest itself in a physical way. Types of physical bullying include; hitting, tripping, pushing, hair pulling, stealing, breaking personal property, and throwing things at the person who is being targeted.
Social bullying is a type of bullying where the bullying seeks to alienate their victims by destroying relationships or damaging their reputation. Doing this can make the victim feel more alone and makes them even less likely to seek support. Social bullying tactics include; spreading rumours, excluding a person from a pre-existing social group, and telling other people not to be friends with that person.
Different types of bullying have developed in response to the different ways in which people now communicate with one another. For example, improved internet communications and increased access to social media means that cyber bullying has now become a major concern. Cyber bullying is the term used for bullying actions which take place using modern communication methods. Examples of cyber bulling include; prank phone calls, hurtful messages on social media sites, fake social media profiles and posting malicious rumours online about the person who is being bullied. Some people who are being cyber bullied have never actually met their tormentors in real life.