What is bullying?

Bullying is a relationship problem.

Bullying doesn't have just one look. Who is bullying, who the victim is, where they are, how old they are and many other factors can help shape what bullying looks like. Bullying is defined as repeated aggression in which there is an imbalance of power between the child who bullies and the child who is victimized. Within this definition of bullying, children who bully learn to use power and aggression to control and distress others and children who are victimized become increasingly powerless. 

Bullying typically falls into one of four categories:

Physical bullyingPhysical Bullying

This is the type you typically see in the stereotypical bully. Physical bullying is often easier to notice as it is more overt and can sometimes leave a mark. It includes:

  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Shoving
  • Spitting
  • Beating up
  • Stealing
  • Damaging Property

Verbal BullyingVerbal Bullying 3

Words have power, as anyone who's been victim to verbal bullying will tell you. It tends to happen when adults aren't around to hear it and doesn't always leave any immediate noticeable signs. It includes:

  • Name-calling
  • Mocking
  • Hurtful teasing
  • Humiliating¬†
  • Threatening
  • Racist or sexist comments

Social BullyingVerbal Bullying

Also known as relational bullying, this type of bullying is designed to humiliate the victim and affect them socially. It includes:

  • Excluding others
  • Gossiping and spreading rumours
  • Setting others up to look foolish
  • Damaging friendships


It can be easy to be hurtful through technology as you don't always have to face your victim and you don't see the how your words affect them. Because of this, some cyberbullies don't even realize that they are bullying someone. Cyberbullying includes using email, text messages and internet sites to:

  • Threaten
  • Harass
  • Embarass
  • Socially exclude
  • Damage reputations and friendships

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