What is Bullying?


Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions.  The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying.

Bullying is a widespread and serious problem that can happen anywhere.  It is not a phase children have to go through, it is not "just messing around", and it is not something to grow out of.  Bullying can cause serious and lasting harm. Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying involves:

  • Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves.
  • Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm.
  • Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group.

Types of Bullying


Bullying can take many forms. Examples include:

  • Verbal: name-calling, teasing.
  • Social: spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships. 
  • Physical: hitting, punching, shoving.
  • Cyberbullying: using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others.



Cyberbullying, instead of happening face-to-face, happens through the use of technology such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.  Cyberbullying peaks around the end of middle school and the beginning of high school.  

Examples of cyberbullying include:

  • Sending hurtful, rude, or mean text messages to others.
  • Spreading rumors or lies about others by e-mail or on social networks.
  • Creating websites, videos or social media profiles that embarrass, humiliate, or make fun of others.

Bullying online is very different from face-to-face bullying because messages and images can be: 

  • Sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Shared be shared to a very wide audience.
  • Sent anonymously.

Effects of Cyberbullying


Research on cyberbullying has found that students involved are more likely to:

  • Be unwilling to attend school.
  • Receive poor grades.
  • Have lower self-esteem.
  • Have more health problems.

Cyberbullying can have particular affects on those who are targeted. Research has found that young people who have been cyberbullied are significantly more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs.
  • Skip school.
  • Experience in-person bullying or victimization.