So What Is Bullying?

noun, plural bul·lies.

a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

Archaic . a man hired to do violence.

verb (used with object), bul·lied, bul·ly·ing.
to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.

verb (used without object), bul·lied, bul·ly·ing.
to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.

This is a big question that is asked many times. SO what is bullying and what clues might I see at home that my child is being impacted?

Bullying is when an individual or a group of people upset or hurt others ON PURPOSE. It may be saying hurtful things to them or about them, it may be damaging their own property and it is something that is repeated over time.

The problem with bullies and bullying, it is that it is difficult to detect until something major happens to the victim.

We often forget that it is also something that can damage the person being targeted through their reputation and social acceptance.

Have you bullied someone?

Have a think.

Really think.

Has there been a time, even when you were young where you may have deliberately said something, or did something horrible to another person?

It may even have been yesterday.

We focus on bullying in schools. But, it is also equally as present in the office as well.

It can happen to anyone.

And it is NOT OK.

There are no excuses.

Because of the changes with technology, bullying is now being moved to the online medium. Some of these apps, like snapchat, are deleted within 10 seconds of opening the message. Which means that it is increasingly difficult to prove that those who are bullying are behind it.

What makes it equally as difficult is that often kids who are bullying others, if they are in a group (which is often the case) they will all stand together in their story. They will discuss what version of events all of them are going to go with to make it appear that they are the innocent ones. Pack mentality. If 6 people say they are innocent and 1 person is being bullied ——- you don’t have to be a genius to see how this scenario often plays out in schools.

And trust me. I have seen this occur so many times within the school environment.

There is more than just one type of bullying and it is important that we know the many different forms that bullying may present itself in.

Physical Bullying – This is actually touching a person. It can be hitting and it can be pushing and it is deliberate. It is done deliberately in the hope that it will fire their victim up so much, they will start a fight. And then guess who gets into trouble………

Verbal Bullying – This is the use of negative words toward another. It can be name-calling, it can be racist, it can be homophobic and it is done intentionally and repeatedly to upset another person.

Indirect Bullying – This form happens behind someone’s back with intent to humiliate or damage a person’s reputation. It can be spoken, mimicking or gossip spreading.

Social Bullying – Used to deliberately exclude someone from a group. It can include lying about others or playing nasty pranks on them.

Psychological Bullying – When an individual uses words or actions to cause psychological harm on purpose.

Cyber Bullying – The new biggest form of bullying. It can happen in chat rooms, social media, mobile phones, other apps.

Everyone of these can hurt individuals.

But why do I need to know about all of these forms of bullying? How can I do something to help?

It is really important that EVERYONE is aware of the variety of forms of bullying, because that is how we can empower one another and make a real change.

Sometimes we are looking for the physical signs of bullying before we actually help one another. We watch for the kid that is being hurt by others, whose bag is being stolen and thrown into the bin, for the group of kids deliberately chasing others and calling them names. We are looking for the obvious signs that something is happening.

We don’t see it in the public forum – it is cleverly hidden- because more often than not, the bully KNOWS it is the wrong thing to do. We don’t see the social media taunting, the messaging, the phone calls. We don’t see the notes being passed around the room about individuals.

Kids are crafty. They know when they are doing the wrong thing……. And they know how to cover it up too!

What we need to look for are the silent signs of bullying. These are the ones we miss. These are the ones that cause the biggest impact.

As parents and members of the community, we need to watch for these sign with the students who are in our care.

  • Is the person suddenly more quiet than usual?
  • Are they withdrawn?
  • Do they no longer want to go to the after school activities that they loved?
  • Do they want to be left alone all the time?
  • Are they constantly hiding away from the outside world?
  • Have their moods changed? Are they happy one minute and upset the next? Are they angry? Are they explosive?
  • Do they no longer “care”?
  • Do they feel sick constantly and not want to go to school?
  • Are they not sleeping?

Take notice of these things. Stand up and make your child hear you. Stand up and make your child feel safe.

The only way we can tackle this is to talk about it!

Did you use the conversation starters in the last blog? These can help you start the conversation!

It is important that our kids know what bullying is, and know where to get the help if they need it!

Photograph of Alysha Griffiths

Join me in raising awareness!

Kids Helpline
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne

Who is Alysha Griffiths?

Alysha is the owner of Breakaway Education in Mittagong. With over 10 years of classroom experience, Alysha’s passion lies in helping students to become empowered in their abilities and believe in themselves. She has a passion for raising awareness of empowerment, the impact of bullying and self-belief in her students and community.