How is bullying defined? – Bullying is when someone aggressively uses their “power” to target another individual with repeated, unwanted words or actions. Those targeted are hurt either physically or emotionally and have a hard time stopping what is happening to them. Scholars often describe bullying as when “someone makes you feel less about who you are as a person.”
Conflict vs. Bullying – Bullying is different from conflict.
- Conflict is a disagreement or argument in which both sides express their views.
- Bullying is negative behavior directed by someone exerting power and control over another person.
Bullying is done with a goal to hurt, harm, or humiliate. With bullying, there is often a power imbalance between those involved, with power defined as elevated social status, being physically larger, or as part of a group against an individual. Students who bully perceive their target as vulnerable in some way and often find satisfaction in harming them.
In normal conflict, children self-monitor their behavior. They read cues to know if lines are crossed, and then modify their behavior in response. Children guided by empathy usually realize they have hurt someone and will want to stop their negative behavior. On the other hand, children intending to cause harm and whose behavior goes beyond normal conflict will continue their behavior even when they know it’s hurting someone.
The three-version series outlines how cyberbullying is defined, along with information on how to prevent and address the behavior.