Bullying is an act of aggression with three specific characteristics:
- Unwarranted and intentional act to do harm to an individual.
- Repetitive (or likely to be repeated) action involving the same or a different targeted person.
- Involves an imbalance of power, where the person engaging in bullying behavior perceives her/himself to be superior to the person targeted.
All three characteristics must be present in order for an aggressive behavior to be bullying.
Physical bullying involves hitting, shoving, pushing, tripping, and other kinds of force.
Verbal bullying involves hurtful comments, name-calling, teasing, and making threats.
Social bullying involves using relationships to hurt someone, including embarrassing someone in public, excluding someone from participation, and spreading rumors.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
One of every five American teens and one of every four Michigan teens are bullied.
Incidents of verbal, social and cyberbullying become more frequent as children age, while physical bullying decreases. Furthermore, girls engage in social (relational) bullying behaviors earlier than boys.
- 20% of American students and 25% of Michigan students report being bullied on school property in 2015.
- Bullying was declared a "serious public health issue" in 2016 by the National Institutes for Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
- Bullying is now considered an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) by the US Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Justice.
Please contact Julie McDaniel, PhD for additional bullying prevention information, resources and services.