Bullying: How to Recognise It and What to Do About It
Life is all about learning new things and interacting with people. Sometimes, these don’t run as smoothly as we would like. With the former, problems arise such as burnout or a lack of resources (which we are trying to aid through Gooroo Clubs!). With the latter, the main problem that arises when individual interact with each other is bullying. But, what exactly does that entail? In today’s blog, we give the lowdown on this behaviour, signs that it’s going on, and what you can do to help prevent it.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, aggressively dominate or intimidate. This behaviour is often repeated and habitual. Additionally, it results from a perception of an imbalance of physical or social power. Thus, distinguishing it from conflict.
These actions range from one-on-one encounters, to group instances also known as “mobbing”. What’s more, if it occurs in school and the workplace it is also referred to as “peer abuse”. This culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other.
In the US, bullying divides into four basic types of abuse:
- Physical. This is any action that hurts someone’s body or damages their possessions. Examples include: stealing, shoving, hitting, fighting, and intentionally destroying someone’s property. Unfortunately, this behaviour will only escalate over time thus the need for quick intervention is imperative.
- Verbal. This is the most common type. And, refers to any abuse conducted by speaking, other use of the voice, or some form of body language that does not involve physical contact. Examples include: derogatory name-calling, spreading rumours, threats, yelling or talking rudely, mocking, laughing at someone, rude gestures, making insults and/or otherwise making fun of someone. Although it is common in all genders, it is often seen in groups of girls.
- Relational. This is any bulling that has the intent to hurt somebody’s reputation or social standing. Therefore, it can also link with physical and verbal bullying. Examples include primarily social exclusion. What’s more, because of the nature of this abuse, it can continue for a long time without being noticed.
- Cyber. This last major type is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. These are serious crimes with legal consequences. Examples of cyber abuse include by use of email, instant messaging, social media websites, text messages, and cell phones.
How to Prevent It
So, what do we do to stop bullying? Or, better yet, prevent it from even happening?
- Help Kids Understand It. Encourage them to speak to a trusted adult and discuss strategies for staying safe. Give them the tools to stand up for themselves and teach all children that no means no.
- Keep Lines of Communication Open. Spend time talking with others to reassure them they have someone to talk to. Additionally, give children the vocabulary to describe bullying, and discuss how their words and actions might effect others.
- Model Treating Others with Kindness and Respect. Even if you disagree with them. Show that there is not place for abuse and instead what others methods can help manage stress and conflict.