What is bullying?
Who’s involved in bullying?
What does bullying look like?
What are the affects of bullying?
What are the affects of bullying?
Bystanders may be affected in the following ways:


Bullying is not just a part of growing up.

It can zap the fun right out of school, distract your child from learning and contribute to a negative school climate. You’re probably aware that bullying is a reality in children’s lives, but you may not have a true picture of what’s really happening. This website will provide you with ideas to support your children and guide them towards making good choices.

What is bullying?

Bullying is a negative, repeated and intentional act of harassment that can take on many forms, varying from physical abuse to exclusion. Bullying is a difference in power between the victimized child and the individual or group that is doing the bullying. The greater “power” may be a result of being older, physically stronger, or having higher social status than the child being victimized. It is a myth, however, that children fit stereotypical profiles of “hulking tyrant” and “wimp”. There are as many reasons for bullying and being bullied as there are children. Sometimes children are targeted just because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who’s involved in bullying?

Many people think that bullying is a matter to settle between the aggressor and the victim. This is not true. The vast majority of the time, bullying involves three key behaviors:

1) Bullying others
2) Being bullied
3) Witnessing bullying

Depending on the circumstance, your child may have experienced all of these at different times.

Bullying others causes harm. Children who decide to bully usually want to look and feel powerful, gain a sense of control, or fit into a group that supports the bullying behavior.

Being bullied may happen for no particular reason, but it could be because targeted children are different in some way or won’t stand up for themselves. Even a minor, unimportant difference can be a reason for targeting a child. It’s important to remember that when harassment takes place, it says far more about the person doing the bullying than the person being bullied.

Witnessing bullying but doing nothing about it sends the message that bullying is okay. This is why children need to understand that bystanders have the MOST power to stop bullying. In fact, research shows that bullying can stop in as little as 10 seconds when bystanders intervene (Hawkins, Pepler & Craig, 2001).

What does bullying look like?

Bullying comes in many forms and can look very different from one situation to another. No single form of bullying is less hurtful than another. All bullying is disrespectful and causes harm. All forms should be taken seriously, and some are criminal offenses.

Physical Bullying: This includes hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, ganging up, physical intimidation and physically-based sexual harassment.

Verbal Bullying: This includes name-calling, threats and verbal intimidation, incessant mocking, teasing, taunting and making snide comments and putdowns.

Indirect or Relational Bullying: This includes deliberately excluding others from the group, spreading rumours, gossiping and manipulating situations to humiliate others.

Cyberbullying: This occurs through harassing emails, instant messages and chat rooms. Forwarding and spreading hurtful messages and/or images are included in this category, as is stealing passwords and sending messages under an assumed identity. Children who bully use this technology to ‘instantly’ harass others at any time of day.

What are the effects of bullying?

Children who are bullied may be affected in the following ways:

Anxiety, fear, irritability and/or depression,

Lowered self esteem, lack of confidence, withdrawal,

Poor concentration, lowered school achievement, avoidance of school
Sleeping problems, bedwetting, nightmares

Physical symptoms such as stomachaches,
headaches or other physical symptoms

Being bullied can also have lasting effects on how children relate to people in their teenage years and as adults. When bullying is ignored, children may act out in anger or use drugs or alcohol.

Children who bully may be affected in the following ways:


Adopt the belief that disrespecting others and abusing
power is fun and acceptable

Learn maladaptive ways to relate to others that
won’t serve them well in the future

Use abusive behavior as a coping mechanism
(i.e. taking out frustrations on others)

May feel guilty or trapped in their pattern of behavior

May be rejected by their classmates and lose friendships because
they are not respected by their classmates

Experience low achievement in school

Contrary to popular opinion, children do not just grow out of bullying. Bullying can lead to further antisocial behavior if there is no adult intervention. Research indicates that children who bully are likely to become aggressive adults. Specifically, of children who bully in grade two, 60% were convicted of a felony by the age of 24 (Olweus, 1991).

Bystanders may be affected in the following ways:

Feeling unsafe in the classroom and on the playground

Feeling insecure about becoming the next target

Feeling powerless to take a stand when they see bullying occur,
accompanied by feelings of guilt

They may be drawn into bullying behavior because they feel
it’s a way to be included

They may be drawn to bullying if they see that adults don’t intervene

All children are negatively affected when bullying occurs. It poisons the child’s environment and many children feel helpless to do anything about it. This is why becoming an involved adult can make such an impact.