2017 Is it Bullying?

What is Bullying?

Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological aggressive behaviour by a person or group directed towards a less powerful person or group that is intended to cause harm, distress or fear.

Types of bullying behaviour

There are some specific types of bullying behaviour:

  • verbal or written abuse – such as targeted name-calling or jokes, or displaying offensive posters
  • violence – including threats of violence
  • sexual harassment – unwelcome or unreciprocated conduct of a sexual nature, which could reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or intimidation
  • homophobia and other hostile behaviour towards students relating to gender and sexuality
  • discrimination including racial discrimination – treating people differently because of their identity
  • cyberbullying – either online or via mobile phone.

What is not bullying?

There are also some behaviours, which, although they might be unpleasant or distressing, are not bullying:

  • mutual conflict – which involves a disagreement, but not an imbalance of power. Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.
  • single-episode acts of nastiness or physical aggression, or aggression directed towards many different people, is not bullying
  • social rejection or dislike is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.

It is very important for children to fully understand what bullying is, and isn’t … this is through conversation with peers and educators, as well as with parents and families.

It is important to recognise bullying behaviours and make it clear they are unacceptable, but it is also important to try not to label children as ‘a bully’.

Bullying is not acceptable

Most children don’t want bullying to occur but often don’t know what to do about it. It’s important that all forms of bullying are taken seriously and that educators, parents and students work together to ensure that everyone understands that bullying is not acceptable – ever.

Bullying roles

People in a bullying scenario may take on one of the following roles:

  • a person who engages in bullying behaviour
  • a target who is subjected to the bullying behaviour
  • an assistant who assists the bullying behaviour and actively joins in
  • a supporter who encourages and gives silent approval to the bullying, by smiling, laughing or making comments
  • a silent bystander who sees or knows about someone being bullied but is passive and does nothing, this may be an adult bystander
  • a defender who supports the student who is being bullied by intervening, getting teacher support or comforting them.

If you have read our blogs, you will see that we are frequently supporting children to develop their social skills, and emotional intelligence through role plays and discussions. Focusing on all bullying roles.




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A child-centred 3 and 4-year old kindergarten program inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education