Bullying is a repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour intended to cause harm, fear or distress, including psychological harm or harm to a person's reputation. It often involves an imbalance of social or physical power.
Physical – For example: poking, elbowing, hitting
Verbal – For example: name calling, insults, racist, sexist or homophobic comments, put- downs or threats
Social – For example: gossiping, spreading rumours, excluding someone from the group, isolating, ganging up
Cyber – For example: social or verbal bullying through the use of email, text messages or social media.
Below are some warning signs to help identify if a person may be engaging in bullying behaviour:
Not understanding or caring if someone is hurt
Unexplained increase of money, clothing or other items
Boasting about taunting someone
Passing off teasing as a joke
Laughing when others get hurt
Demonstrating aggressive behaviour
Grouping together with some individuals and intentionally leaving others out (e.g., isolating, shunning)
Bullying is the misuse of power intended to harm or humiliate someone else. People of all ages may engage in bullying behaviours.
Bullying behaviour is not the same as hurting someone's feelings if there is no misuse of power or a deliberate intent to cause harm. It is important to support individuals to understand the difference between these behaviours as part of learning how to build healthy relationships.
Bullying behaviour is sometimes confused with conflict. Conflict is a disagreement about different beliefs, ideas, feelings or actions. It is a normal part of healthy relationships. For example, friends may disagree over which movie to see or what game to play. Learning skills to resolve conflict appropriately is very important for building and maintaining positive relationships.