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What is Bullying? Introduction

By KARTHIK – January 6, 2020




Bullying meaning

Bullying means a behaviour which someone uses to hurt another both physically and mentally. Bullying at its basic form is when someone is picked on by a person or group called bullies, because of one being different. This behaviour happens when there is real or perceived power over another.
This arrogant behaviour when repeated will have a long-lasting physiological impact on both persons. Bully is defined as those who abuse, make fun of, aggressively dominate or intimidate others based on
  • race or religion
  • how one looks
  • how someone acts
  • social and economic status
  • sexual orientation
 Bullies will make fun of anyone who they think don't fit in or be different from themselves. The bullies generally use their power whether it be physical strength, seniority, popularity, access to private information, to control or harm others.



The behaviour is categorised into four depending on how, when and where one forces power over the other.



Cyberbullying is harassment over the internet executed through digital devices like computers, laptops, smartphones. Cyberbullying generally occurs include social media, YouTube, gaming platforms, and chat rooms where the audience is not confined, and people can view and participate in the sharing of content.
The different types of Cyberbullying involve
  • Posting hateful comments on the internet
  • Spreading humiliating rumours\facts
  • Posting private information about another individual
  • Issuing online threats and provoking them to hurt themselves


Verbal bullying

Verbal bullying is saying something uses verbal language to gain power over his or her peers. mean things. Verbal bullying is very serious as when allowed to prolong over long periods of time will destroy a child’s self-perception and self-esteem. This can lead to depression, anxiety and other deep physiological problems
The different types of Verbal bullying include:
  • Name-calling
  • Teasing
  • Taunting
  • Inappropriate sexual comments
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social bullying

Social bullying is hurting someone’s reputation or relationship as it humiliates and damages someone socially. Social bullying is often carried out behind the back of the person who is being bullied and is often harder to recognize.
The different types of Social bullying include:
  • Lying and spreading fake rumours about someone
  • Leaving someone out and encouraging others to do the same
  • Damaging someone's social reputation or social acceptance
  • Socially excluding someone online, posting negative comments
  • Humiliating one with nicknames and continuing when asked to stop     

Physical bullying

Physical bullying is using one’s body and physical bodily acts to exert power over others. Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Unlike social and verbal bullying, the effects of physical bullying can be easier to identify and is the easiest to stop.
 Physical bullying includes:
  • Causing physical harm by hitting/punching/ kicking
  • Degrading someone by spitting, slapping, tearing clothes
  • Taking or breaking someone’s personal possession
  • Making inappropriate or rude hand gestures




Bullying and its effects are not just limited to those who are bullied but also those who bully, and those who witness bullying. The degree with which its effects each of them is different. Bullying if allowed to continue or failed to stop it will lead to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health.
The physiological impacts of bullying may lead to varying mental health issues like anger, drugs or substance abuse, and even suicide in extreme cases. In most cases, the victims of bullying will resort to bully behaviour as a form of defiance or sharing of their sufferings.
Therefore, it is important to have an open dialogue not just with kids to stop bullying in school but also with the family.
Bullying is normally the result of the various underlying issues that one has faced throughout their life. Bullying alone is not the cause of suicide among kids but there are many underlying issues that contribute towards the suicide risk.
 Mental health issues created as a result of depression, problems at home, medications and trauma history could also contribute to suicide and other extreme behaviours.
This health risk increases when one doesn’t speak on the issues, he/ she faces or not getting support from parents, peers, and schools.


Who Are Bullied

The ones who are bullied suffer the most and its impact can last a lifetime. This negative experience will lead to various mental health issues which might lead to extreme behaviour.
 The ones who are bullied might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
The one who is bullied are more likely to experience:
  • Mental health problems like anxiety, depression, loneliness, increased feelings of sadness, self-harm and changes in sleep and eating patterns, and these issues may creep into adulthood.
  • Loss of interest in personal and social activities that one previously enjoyed.
  • Physical Health issues
  • A decrease in academic performance leading to lower GPA and standardized test scores.
  • Lack of participation in school events.
  • likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.


Who Bully Others

The ones who bully others can also carry on the violent and other extreme behaviours into their adulthood. The bully is also imitating certain behaviour he/she has experienced in the past.
The ones who bully others are more likely to:
  • Become victims of alcohol abuse, prescription or illegal drugs from adolescence to life.
  • Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults 
  • Have poor academic performance
  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Drop out of school, get into fights, vandalize and damage property
  • Be abusive toward their spouses, friends, partners, children and adults



The ones who look away don’t want to get involved or be in a situation, taking a walk from the situation only helps the bully or bullies. Bystanders provide bullies with an audience, and often actually encourage bullying.
The bystanders don’t want to take the responsibility and address the issue or report the incident to superiors or senior authorities out of fear becoming victims of bullies.
The one who witnesses bullying are more likely to:
  • Have increased chances of adopting bully behaviour
  • Be scared and miss or skip school out of fear of being bullied
  • Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety



Learning about bullying, its impact and what one can do if you are the victim or a bystander is the most important step. Friends, parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a very important role to play in preventing bullying.
Creating awareness through classes, talking about what bullying is and how to stand up to it bullies safely. Educating kids that bullying is unacceptable from an early age will help them carry these values throughout their life. Making sure the kids know how to get help is as important as teaching them about bullies.
Having an open dialogue with students and creating trust through open communication. Listen and check in with kids often as a friend would definitely help in reducing the barrier. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
Understanding and supporting kids do what they love would help them to take their mind of problems they might be facing. Encouraging special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behaviour.


Look Out for Signs

Look out for warning signs that may point towards problems, such as avoidance of school or other social situations, unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items and changes in eating habits. However, not all victims of bullying exhibit the same warning signs, they may go to great lengths to hide it.
This is where paying attention and looking for signs is most important. Engaging with students daily and asking questions that encourage conversation.


Do Not Ignore

Do not ignore incidents as harmless teasing and never assume that a situation is ok. Different students have different methods of dealing with pressure situations. What may be considered teasing among friends to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Students react differently when threatened in any way and therefore it is important not to ignore.

Remain Calm

It is important that when you intervene, try to get both sides of the story and do not to argue with either students or involved parties. Address respectfully so that one expects the same behaviour from them. Keep the situation from escalating and first make sure everyone is safe and that no one needs immediate medical attention. Explain to them what needs to happen next and what would follow if such an incident is repeated.

Do Something.

Doing something to stop, prevent or intervening as soon as you see a problem between students or two persons. Don’t ignore the incident as “kids are just having fun” some get over it and some never do. The effects of this incident can last a lifetime if situations are not immediately resolved.
Involve other adults if you deem the situation may get out of hand. Be sure to always refer to the anti-bullying policy in the school or workplace.

One on One

Deal with the bully and bullied individually and don’t attempt to sort out the facts in the open while everyone is present. All the parties involved are addressed individually and talking with one another is stopped, separating the bystanders is important to get an accurate representation of the events. This way, everyone will be able to tell their side of the story without worrying about what others may think or say.


Explain that this type of behaviour is very serious and address the resulting consequences based on the anti-bullying policy in the school or workplace. This type of behaviour is wrong, will not be tolerated, and even bystanders also have a right and a responsibility to stop bullying. This empowers the bullied to feel safe and all involved would be accountable for their actions.

Do not Judge

Getting all the information is the top priority as it is possible that the person you suspect to be the bully may be a retaliating or cry for help. It may also be the result of an undiagnosed medical, emotional or psychological issue. It is important not to make any assumptions listen to each of the individuals with an open mind.

Professional Help

Getting appropriate authorities involved in order to get professional help should be the top priority. Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Do not make any assumptions, if there are any underlying unresolved issues, refer the student to a counsellor or nurse in the school and psychologist, social worker, or other appropriate professionals.



Bullying in school is a significant problem as 1 in 5 students have been bullied in school worldwide. It one of the most common antisocial behaviour in school among adolescents and children. Students who are bullied often feel threatened and powerless and lead to mental health issues.
Bullying can lead to long-lasting psychological, emotional, and physical problems. Therefore, it is important that teachers recognize the signs of bullying and combat it.
What should you do If you’re being bullied
  • Acknowledge that you are being bullied and acknowledge that it’s unacceptable even if the behaviour is from a classmate or senior.
  • Understand the impact of bullying on your health and stress level, finding ways to counteract the negative impacts.
  • Have an open dialogue with a trusted friend or teachers and let them know what you are going through.
  • Identify the problem is the first step of resolving the issue. Document events and circumstances with as much detail and see if this bullying is happening to others, reach out to them.
  • Confront the bully and that you will not tolerate such behaviour. Put him on notice and address his behaviour as unacceptable will not be tolerated.
  • Report the behaviour to the counsellor if directly confronting the bully isn’t the right option or the behaviour has not changed or has little or no effect.



Bullying is not just limited to schools as kids aren't the only bullies. Bullying can also occur in the workplace as it is a competitive environment. Working in a stressful environment can alone have a major impact on your success, health and happiness. On top that if bullying in the workplace can only elevate the problems. Living this way every day creates a constant level of stress and can affect one’s productivity in office and household.
What should you do If you’re being bullied
  • You will obviously need to tell an upper manager or go to HR if your boss is the bully. Report with the work that you did to document what has been happening will be crucial, as will allies and witnesses who can support you and back up your story.
  • If everything fails, consider pursuing a role in another part of the organization, or seeking opportunities elsewhere. Working for an organization that tolerates or even encourages bullies, that’s not the right place for one’s mental stability.
  • Always work toward getting away from the bully as it will help you feel more empowered. Finally, when you land a new job document your reason for leaving during your exit interview.                                                                                                                                                          




  • Bullying means a behaviour which someone uses to hurt another both physically and mentally. 
  • Bullying at its basic form is when someone is picked on by a person or group called bullies, because of one being different.
  • This behaviour happens when there is real or perceived power over another. 
  • Bullying and its effects are not just limited to those who are bullied but also those who bully, and those who witness bullying. The degree with which its effects each of them is different.
  • Learning about bullying, its impact and what one can do if you are the victim or a bystander is the most important step. 
  • Friends, parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a very important role to play in preventing bullying. 

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