Bullying is a subtype of aggressive behaviour in which the perpetrator exerts power over a weaker victim through various means including physical size or strength, age or psychological advantage, and which is repeated over time
Systematic abuse of power which repeatedly and deliberately harms others

What Bullying Isn’t
An odd fight or quarrel between children of approximately equal strength is not classed as bullying


Types of Bullying

Direct-Physical – kicking, hitting, pushing, taking belongings
Direct-Verbal – name-calling, taunting, mocking, making threats
Indirect-Relational – excluding people from groups, deliberately ignoring, gossiping, spreading rumours

Cyber Bullying

Bullying using electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers

92 students aged 11-16 from 14 London schools completed a survey on bullying.  22% had experienced cyber bullying at least once.  6.6% had experienced being bullied in this way in the previous two months



Bullying frequently occurs in the presence of peers but the actions of those peers more often encourage the bullying than stop it

An audience to bullying is consistent and may provide the person doing the bullying with positive reinforcement

The increases in arousal levels when watching bullying may encourage children who would normally not act aggressively, to become involved

Peer Involvement

54% of peers’ time was spent reinforcing bullying by passively watching
21% of peers’ time was spent actively supporting bullies
25% of peers’ time was spent intervening on behalf of victims and 75% of these peer interventions were successful in stopping bullying



The invisible engine in the cycle of bullying

As the number of bystanders increases the likelihood that someone will intervene to stop the situation decreases. 

Bystander Effect

May be a diffusion of responsibility. Leaving it to others to sort out?
They may find it difficult to support in reality. Lack of effective strategies?
May be concerned about their own safety and preservation. They may fear being bullied themselves?
They may not understand bullying or have the skills to intervene effectively


Roles in Bullying

Assistant – joins in and assists the person doing the bullying
Reinforcer – does not actively attack the victim but provides positive feed back to the person bullying
Defender – shows anti-bullying behaviour – comforting the victim; taking sides with them and trying to stop the bullying
Outsider – stays away not taking sides with anyone - allows bullying to continue by silent approval


Typical Characteristics of those who Bully

Strong need to dominate
Impulsive and easily angered
Defiant and aggressive towards other adults
Shows little empathy
Physically stronger (if male)
Not low self-esteem – those doing the bullying may be among the most popular or socially connected children
Not unpopular


Typical Characteristics of those Victimised

Cautious, sensitive, quiet, withdrawn, shy
Often do not have single good friend
Physically weaker (if male)

The pupil may have a particular characteristic that makes them stand out:
They may have special educational needs
Be of a minority community
May not fit gender stereotypes

Individual Pupil Responses to Bullying

Aggressive – escalates the problem
Passive unconstructive – ignores the behaviour but meets the bully’s demands
Passive constructive – exiting quickly from a bullying situation and seeking support from peers (may disable a victim)
Assertive – a pupil calmly refuses to comply with demands and fails to reinforce bullying behaviour (most successful)

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