Bullying Definitions


» Physical Bullying

This is any bullying that hurts someone’s body or damages their possessions. Stealing, shoving, hitting, fighting, and destroying property all are types of physical bullying. Physical bullying is rarely the first form of bullying that a target will experience. Often bullying will begin in a different form and progress to physical violence. In physical bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their body.

Appropriate RESPECT Programs: Stop & Think, Fun & Games, Spelling It Out, Scraps, Reporting

» Verbal Bullying

This is any bullying that is done by speaking. Calling names, spreading rumors, threatening somebody, and making fun of others are all forms of verbal bullying. Verbal bullying is one of the most common types of bullying. In verbal bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their voice.

Appropriate RESPECT Programs: Stop & Think, Fun & Games, Spelling It Out, Out of Bounds, Scraps, Standing Up, Reporting

» Social Bullying/Relational Aggression

This is any bully that is done with the intent to hurt somebody’s reputation or social standing. Social bullying often happens between friends. It can happen in two ways: either by trying to exclude somebody and make them feel unwanted, or by gaining somebody’s trust and then breaking it. Social bullying could include spreading a friend’s secret all over school to damage their reputation, or encouraging others to ignore, chastise, or threaten a friend. The movie Mean Girls (2004) shows many examples of this kind of bullying. This type of bullying is most common among girls, but can certainly happen with guys as well. In social bullying, the main weapons the bully uses are relationships.

Appropriate RESPECT Programs: Fun & Games, Out of Bounds, Scraps, Standing Up, Reporting

» Cyberbullying

This is any bullying that happens over any technological device. This includes email, instant messaging, social networking sites (such as Facebook), text messages, and cell phones. Cyberbullying is one of the trickiest forms of bullying because it is so new. Many adults are not familiar with the latest technology, making it difficult for them to know what to look for or how to intervene. The weapon the bully uses in cyberbullying is technology.

Appropriate RESPECT Programs: Out of Bounds, Scraps, Standing Up, Reporting

» Dating Abuse

Dating abuse is a type of bullying that can take the form of any type of bullying mentioned of above within the context of a dating relationship. Verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are all signs of an unhealthy relationship. An abusive relationship can be characterized by any one of those signs or a combination of many.

Appropriate RESPECT Programs: Out of Bounds, Cracked But Not Broken


» Bullies

  • A bully is the one who is trying to hurt or control others.
  • Bullies have often been bullied himself/herself.
  • It is important to know that anybody can be a bully!

» Targets

  • The target is the person who is being bullied.
  • No one deserves to be bullied!

» Bystanders

  • A bystander may or may not be a friend of the target, but he or she is aware that the bullying is happening.
  • Bystanders can be leaders/heroes/role-models by doing something helpful or getting help! Bystanders can be silent bullies if they do not try to get help.
  • A bystander can provide help by reporting the bullying. Reporting is not tattling! Tattling is trying to get someone into trouble. Reporting is trying to get someone out of trouble!


» Unfair Use of Power

  • Power can be defined in many ways (i.e., older, stronger, smarter, more friends in a given situation).
  • Everyone needs power and control in their lives. However, people engaging in bullying behaviors use their power in unhealthy ways to hurt others.
  • Ask: Were they using their power unfairly?

» Intent to Harm

  • Sometimes accidents or misunderstandings can be misconstrued as bullying behaviors.
  • Ask: Were they intentionally trying to hurt your feelings, body, or reputation?

» Repeated Behavior

  • Sometimes people make mistakes and cross other peoples’ emotional and physical boundaries.
  • Ask: Did you ask them to stop? Did you let them know that you did not like their behavior?