Bullying is ongoing repetitive behaviour with the intention to hurt someone and can happen anywhere to anyone, including at home, work, online, the playground, in friendships, in a group, on public transport or at school. It involves the misuse of power with the purpose to cause emotional, mental, or physical harm. Bullying behaviours include the use of force, coercion, teasing, threats, abuse, or aggression to dominate or intimidate. Bullies may target those who are sensitive, socially withdrawn, physically weaker, anxious, passive, or have low self-esteem.

Bullying tools

The different types of bullying include:

Physical: hitting, kicking, biting, fighting, slapping, punching, shoving, stealing or damaging property.

Verbal: name-calling, teasing, insulting, verbal abuse, racist remarks.

Social: exclusion, rumours, lies, negative imitations, spreading derogatory information.

Prejudicial: religious insults, LGBT or anti-gay harassment, culture, or skin colour discrimination.

Sexual: suggestive name-calling, vulgar gestures, pornographic images, insulting comments, inappropriate questions or comments about appearance, prepositioning, uninvited touching.

Cyberbullying: abusive comments, texts, emails, social media posts, disturbing images, online threats.

Why do people bully others?

All bullies are different, and bullying is never ok. Bullies use different styles and tactics to intimidate and control their victims. Some bullies are covert with how they attack their target, while others are outright mean. Most bullies are confident and have a group of followers. These bullies have a sense of entitlement that stems from their popularity, size, upbringing, or socioeconomic status. They thrive on the physical power and control they have over their victims.

They also crave reaction from their victims, peers, or bystanders. When bullies get a desirable reaction without any sort of negative repercussion, this encourages them to continue their bullying behaviour. Being aware of the types of bullies can help you be better deal with them.

Bullying tools

Here is a brief list of bullying types:

Bully victims: the bully has been bullied.

Popular bullies: thrive on the attention and power.

Relational bullies: use gossip and name-calling because they are jealous or want social control.

Serial bullies: appear charming but are skilled manipulators and liars.

Group bullies: create a dangerous pack mentality when together.

Indifferent bullies: Lack empathy and enjoy seeing a person suffer.

How to deal with bullies?

There is something you can do! It is important for victims to know being bullied is not their fault and schools, organizations, and parents to know stopping the bully is not the sole responsibility of the person being bullied. The person being bullied should be encouraged to seek help, find safety, or avoid situations where the risk of being bullied is high. The most effective anti-bullying interventions are when organisations implement comprehensive anti-bullying programs to protect everyone.

When someone is bullied others may not want to interfere, in case they become a target, however intervening plays a crucial role in ending bullying. Intervening can be done directly by expressing disapproval, defending the victim, or distracting the bully. In groups, only one person standing up against the bully can be enough to encourage others to defend the victim too. Indirectly, peers can confide in a trusted person in authority who will then deal with the situation.

Bullying tools

Images from Canva

Actions to take against bullying:

Try to keep a distance from the bully

Make it clear what they are doing is wrong

Confide in someone you trust

Get help to report bullying, harassment, cyberbullying or assault

Unfortunately, if a bully feels powerful and in control, they will continue bullying if there are no negative consequences. There is no one solution to ending bullying and it may take various methods for it to stop. Most importantly seek help through the various agencies available who can offer guidance. 

Bullying resources

Contact us

Read blogs

Why do some children bounce back from setbacks while others struggle?

What is anxiety disorder, and can it be treated with mindfulness?

What is empathy and how do you teach it?