Bullying is a deliberate action that is ongoing. It makes the person being bullied feel humiliated, threatened and erodes their confidence and self-esteem. It can also cause a range of physical symptoms. It is extremely damaging to the person. Bullies behave this way to exert power over someone unfairly.
There are three main types of bullying behaviour:
For example put downs, insults, malicious teasing, spreading rumours to damage a reputation, saying things to embarrass someone (for further details, refer to the verbal abuse section)
For example, treating a person as though they don’t exist, indicating they are always wrong, that they have no value, ignoring, sniggering at, being dismissive and other non-verbal expressions of dislike (for further details, refer to the emotional abuse section)
For example, physically intimidating behaviour (e.g. invasion of personal space), threatening physical action, physically excluding (e.g. not allowing someone to sit down), blocking access attempts (e.g. to access lecture/tutorial/lab), coercing someone to do something they are not comfortable with, deliberately damaging personal property (for further details, refer to the physical abuse section)
People can be the targets of bullying behaviour for a number of reasons, including: their behaviour, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality, ability and disability (also see the section on racism). Whatever the reason, the bully is trying to exert power over another person by undermining them in some way. They will identify an aspect of the person, or alternately have no specific reason, and behave in order to hurt the other person.
With the advance of technology cyber bullying is a growing phenomenon. Technology is an excellent tool for bullies to wreak havoc with people’s lives.
If your friend is experiencing any of the following then that amounts to cyberbullying:
- Harassing and threatening messages
- Sending nasty SMS, IM’s pictures or prank phone calls
- Using person’s screen name or password to pretend to be them
- Forwarding other’s private emails, messages, pictures or videos
- Posting mean or nasty comments or pictures
- Sending sexually explicit images- ‘sexting’
- Intentionally excluding others from an online group
Sexting is when you send a naked picture of someone or a sexual message to someone via a mobile phone. However, sexting can also occur on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter etc. The problem is that once these messages have been received the recipient can send them on to anyone they want or post them to a public site.
Information can be passed around so easily and it is very difficult to prevent it once it is out there. Recent figures from the USA indicate that 79% of 20-26 year olds had been involved with sexting.