What is bullying?

Bullying is a serious problem. It is unfortunately something that happens to lots of young people. It might have happened to you or someone that you know.

If you’re not sure exactly what bullying is this definition might help.

Bullying is when someone (or a group of people) with more power than you, repeatedly and intentionally uses negative words and/or actions against you, which causes you to feel upset and might change how you feel about yourself and the type of things that you do.

In Australian schools bullying affects approximately one student in every four. Think about your group of friends. How many people would this affect?

Bullying can be really harmful and no one should have to put up with it! There are lots of types of bullying and it is important that you know what they are and what they look like.

  1. Physical bullying
    This is when a person (or group of people) uses physical actions to bully, such as hitting, poking, tripping or pushing someone. Repeatedly and intentionally damaging someone’s belongings is also physical bullying.
  2. Verbal bullying
    Using negative words repeatedly and intentionally to upset someone, is also a form of bullying. Examples of verbal bullying includes name calling, insults, homophobic or racist comments, and verbal abuse.
  3. Social bullying
    Lying, spreading rumours, playing a nasty joke are all examples of social bullying. Repeatedly mimicking someone and deliberately excluding someone is also social bullying behaviour.
  4. Psychological bullying
    Psychological bullying is when someone (or a group of people) repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions which cause you psychological harm. Intimidating someone, manipulating people and stalking a person are all examples of psychological bullying.
  5. Cyberbullying
    Cyberbullying is when someone (or a group of people) uses technology to verbally, socially or psychologically bully.
    Cyberbullying can happen in group chats, through social media, emails or texting. If any of these things have happened to you or someone else that you know you have been a victim of bullying. This website is designed to let you know there is an answer. You don’t have to stand by and let it happen to you or others.

    What isn’t Bullying?

    Other forms of hurtful behaviour are often mistaken for bullying. Upsetting and harmful things happen, but not all of them are bullying.

    Mutual arguments or disagreements are upsetting, but usually everyone involved wants to solve the problem and there is no power imbalance. A mutual argument or disagreement is not bullying.

    Unless you deliberately and repeatedly try to cause someone distress, exclude them or encourage others to dislike them then it isn’t bullying; not liking someone is not bullying.

    Single acts of meanness, spite, conflict, rejection, exclusion, physical harm and emotional aggression hurt people and can cause great distress. However, these things are not examples of bullying unless someone is deliberately and repeatedly doing them to you.

    Source: National Centre Against Bullying