What is Bullying for Teens

What is bullying?

Bullying is when someone is being mean to others who don't have as much power as them. There are three main types of bullying.

  • Physical - Any kind of physical attack like hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, scratching, spitting. Damaging or taking someone else's things may also be a form of physical bullying. 
  • Verbal - Name-calling, insulting, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, remarks or teasing, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks. This is the most common type of bullying. 
  • Emotional - spreading nasty stories about someone, being left out of social groups, being made the subject of mean rumours.
  • Unequal Power - One person has more power than the other person (or at least it seems that way to the people involved).
  • Hurtful Actions - Physically or psychologically harmful behaviour takes place.
  • Direct and Indirect Actions - The behaviour may be face-to-face or behind one's back.
  • Repetitive Behaviour - The hurtful actions keep happening so the person being hurt finds it more and more difficult to escape.

The basic elements of bullying are

Teasing, rough housing or even play fighting are not considered bullying when both students are willing participants.

Criminal Offences:

Bullying can be a traumatic experience, and some forms of bullying can even be considered illegal. These include:

  • Threats - whether done face to face, online, over the phone or through text messaging.
  • Assaults - including pushing, tripping, slapping, hitting or spitting.
  • Theft of personal items - like a backpack, books, electronic devices, etc.
  • Harassment - repeated tormenting online, with texts, phone calls and/or emails.
  • Sexual Exploitation - sharing videos or photos with nudity of people under 18.
  • Hate crime - bullying based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, etc.

For all of these criminal offences, it is important to notify your local police department who will decide if an investigation is warranted and whether charges may be laid.