There are three aspects to bullying that most experts can agree upon¹: there is a difference of power, it is repeated, and it is intentional.
The difference of power exists between those being hurt (victim) and those doing the hurting (bully). Additionally, bullying is repeated on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. The repetitive nature of bullying diminishes the morale of those being bullied.
Bullying is also intentional. Bullying is meant to harm another person intentionally. Informing the person harming that their actions are actually harmful can solve unintentional harm.¹
There are many reasons why people bully others. First, bullying is something that people learn. Bullies may also be bullied themselves or have been bullied in the past. Additionally, people bully because it makes them feel superior to others and may psychologically give them power and strength.¹
Bullies, although they cause harm to others, need help themselves. If bullies do not learn how to change their behavior they usually end up in trouble with the law. By age 24, 60 percent of people who were childhood bullies have at least one criminal conviction in Canada.¹ Adults who continue to bully face other adverse effects such as alcoholism and antisocial personality disorders.¹
Bullying can take many forms. Physical bullying involves hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving, or making someone do something they don’t want to do. Emotional bullying can mean using words or threats, calling someone names, or saying bad things behind someone’s back.
Exclusionary bullying can make someone feel unsafe or scared by leaving them out of games or making them feel like they are unimportant. Lastly, cyberbullying involves bullying someone through informational and communication technologies. These can include Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.¹
1. Bullying. What is bullying? Retrieved May 14, 2014, from http://www.bullying.org/htm/main.cfm?content=1059#q13
Image source: Wikimedia Commons