What is bullying?
Bullying is a type of behavior that is unwanted by the person who receives it. It is unwanted and or aggressive behavior, and it takes place over a period of time. It involves a power imbalance between the person who is the bully and the person who is being bullied.
Types of bullying
There are many different types of bullying, including homophobic, transphobic, biphobic and cyber bullying.
Homophobic bullying is often used to describe bullying that results because of someone’s actual or perceived gender orientation. However, this would better be described as transphobic bullying, which is behavior or language which makes the individual feel unwelcome, excluded or marginalized because of their actual or perceived gender orientation.
This is a term to use for bullying directed to people because of someone’s actual or perceived attraction towards people regardless of their sex (bisexual).
Cyber bullying involves the use of electronic technology, including phones, computers, tablets and social media, for example.
There are three types of bullying behavior: verbal, social and physical.
Verbal bullying involves anything that is written or said. This includes calling the person a name, taunting them, teasing them, making inappropriate comments and making threats.
Social bullying is when the bully tries to or actually does hurt the individual’s reputation or relationships. This might involve excluding someone on purpose, encouraging others to not become friends with them, deliberately embarrassing someone in front of other people and spreading rumors about them.
Physical bullying involves hurting or damaging an individual’s body or possessions. This includes anything from spitting, hitting, kicking, biting, pinching, pushing, tripping, breaking something and or directing rude or mean gestures to someone.
What to look for?
There are many different telltale signs of bullying, including:
- Changes in your child’s habits
- Their grades get worse and their academic progress starts to decline
- They have injuries that they are not able to explain
- Some of their property goes missing. For example, they lose their schoolbag, lunchbox, their cardigan (jumper), their pencil case
- Some of their property is damaged. For example, their jewellery gets broken, their notebook gets destroyed or their phone gets damaged
- They cry and are moody
- Their mood changes and they start to feel sad or low
- They feel like they are not good enough
- They have lowered self-esteem and confidence
- They start to have trouble sleeping. For example, they begin to have nightmares or their sleeping pattern starts to change, and or
- They start to avoid certain situations. For example, they don’t want to go to school. They tell you they are too sick to go when they are OK. They try and run away from school or home. They try to change their school timetable and or they try to avoid certain classes
Bullying can have serious consequences. It’s important to investigate if you think your child is being bullied. Talk to them and talk to others to understand what is happening. Monitor the situation, and if you need to, intervene quickly to address the situation.
Also, know that you are not alone. Many others are working to stop bullying around the world. This includes efforts on 19th May each year on the International Day Against Homophobic and Transphobia (IDAHO).