At OpenView Education we work with thousands of young people every year providing education on bullying. An essential first step is establishing a shared definition of what bullying is.
This helps young people to know the difference between a conflict (an argument or disagreement), and bullying. We created this short video to support educators and teachers to introduce the topic of bullying, and exploring how we know if something is bullying:
When we think of the word bully, we might picture in our mind, this kind of situation.
There is one person who is the bully, and one person who is the victim. However in reality, this isn’t always how bullying looks. Bullying can happen in lots of different ways, sometimes bullying isn’t so obvious and can even be quite subtle.
The first thing to remember is that bullying isn’t the same as an argument or a disagreement. It’s normal to have an argument sometimes. Or for one of our friends to say something that might make us feel upset. But this isn’t the same as bullying. If we have an argument or a disagreement, we could call this a conflict. Conflicts are normal, but they are not the same as bullying. So how do we know if something is actually bullying?
Repetitive. It usually happens on more than one occasion, it’s done again and again.
Intentional. This means the person doing the bullying is doing it on purpose.
And we know that something is bullying if there is a power imbalance. A power imbalance is when one person, or a group of people has more power than another person.
For example, if there was a group of five people, making an unkind joke about one other person, this would cause a power imbalance. Because there is a group of people, being unkind towards one other person. The group has more power than the one person by themselves. This is a power imbalance.
How can bullying happen?
Bullying can happen in lots of different ways.
- Bullying can be physical, where someone hurts someone else through their actions.
- Bullying can be verbal, through the unkind things someone says or through spreading rumours about someone.
- Bullying can happen online, in an online game, group chat or on social media.
- Bullying can be psychological and social, for example bullying could involve a group of people leaving someone out on purpose or ignoring them.
So, now you know what bullying looks like, it’s over to you.