About bullying

What is bullying?

Bullying can be defined as verbally, physically and emotionally inflicting unwanted pain and suffering. In other words, bullying can be described as a forceful assertion of power or control through aggression.  It is deliberate behaviour and often repeated over a long time.

It can happen anywhere and at any time. Bullying can take place in the classroom, the playground, around the school lavatories or even at home. Often peer pressure is responsible for this type of behaviour.  It can hurt a child both physically and emotionally.

Bullying that happens online, whether through social media sites, chatrooms, Whatsapp, Facebook or just through text messages is called cyberbullying.

This is very waring because a child feels like there is not escape from their ordeal. Indeed because of modern communication cyberbullying can take place at any time of day or night.


Bullying includes:

  • Verbal abuse, such as name calling and gossiping
  • Non-verbal abuse, such as hand signs or text messages
  • Emotional abuse, such as threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone
  • Exclusion, such as ignoring or isolating someone
  • Undermining, by constant criticism or spreading rumours
  • Controlling or manipulating someone
  • Racial, sexual or homophobic bullying
  • Physical assaults, such as hitting and pushing
  • Making silent, hoax or abusive calls
  • Online or cyberbullying.

Signs of bullying

It can be hard for parents to know whether or not a child is being bullied. And a child may well keep quiet about it because they’re scared the bullying will get worse. They might think that they deserve to be bullied, or that it’s their fault.

It is often difficult for teachers or parents to detect what is bullying behaviour if it is well disguised. But some of the signs include:

  • Being afraid to go to school, being “sick” too often in order to skip class
  • Belongings getting “lost”
  • Books and clothes being torn
  • Physical injuries such as unexplained bruises
  • Not doing as well at school
  • Asking for money to give to a bully or even stealing it
  • Being particularly nervous
  • Losing confidence
  • Becoming easily distressed and withdrawn
  • Problems with eating or sleeping
  • Bullying others


Who is affected by bullying?

Nearly all children will be affected by bullying in some way. They might be a victim of bullying, they might bully others, or they may witness bullying.

Even if they aren’t directly affected, it’s likely they’ll know another child who is bullied or who bullies others.

Get involved

We’ve made quite a splash with our campaigns. But with your help, we can continue to change social attitudes on bullying and abuse wherever it occurs.

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