Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that invokes 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 – such as 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 excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Types of Bullying

There are different types of bullying.

Verbal Bullying
Social Bullying
Physical Bullying

How You Should Respond to Bullying Behavior

  • If you or someone you know has been a victim of suspected bullying, report these instances to a teacher, school administrator, or other trusted adult as soon as possible.
  • If you experience bullying, some immediate steps you can take include walking away or telling the aggressor to stop in a firm but calm way.
  • If you witness bullying behavior, be more than just a bystander. Only intervene if it is safe to do so. Peer-to-peer early intervention is proven to be effective in reducing bullying.
  • In a moment of bullying, a safe way someone can help the person being bullied can include creating a distraction to help focus the attention on something else.
  • If you are a target of cyberbullying:
    • Save evidence by taking screenshots or keeping copies of bullying texts, emails, or other communications.
    • Don’t respond! Tell a teacher, school administrator, or other trusted adult as soon as possible.
    • Block the aggressors from your social media, email, or other social networking pages.