A person is being bullied when he/she is exposed to negative actions from one or more people repeatedly over a period of time. Negative action is when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, verbal abuse or otherwise. This includes physical bullying(e.g. pushing, hitting, tripping, kicking, taking or breaking someone’s things, making rude gestures), psychological bullying (e.g. spreading false rumors, damaging reputation, excluding or embarrassing someone) and verbal bullying (e.g. calling names verbal harassment, taunting, threatening).
Cyberbullying is any aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or an individual, using electronic forms of contact, against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself. Typically, cyberbullying is carried out repeatedly and over a period of time, and is characterized by an imbalance of power. Examples of cyberbullying include spreading rumors, posting false information or damaging messages, comments or photos, or excluding children from social media or other communication networks.
It can be done via platforms such as email, cell phone texting, social media tools, and instant messaging. Sexual cyberbullying involves “the use of sexually loaded terms to insult someone, tease someone because of his or her sexual behavior, make threats or jokes about sexual assault or rape, spread rumors about a person’s sexual behavior or pressure someone to engage in sexual activities. Sexual cyberbullying also includes the distribution of sexually explicit photos and videos taken of other children for the purposes of shaming or causing emotional distress to the victim.” Creating and sending sexually explicit images over mobile phones (“sexting”) and posting inappropriate photos or videos online have been cited as the most common methods of sexual cyberbullying.
Teasing vs. Bullying
Sometimes, it may be difficult to distinguish playful teasing from bullying. Teasing usually involves two or more friends who act together in a way that seems fun to all the people involved. Often they tease each other equally, but it never involves physical or emotional abuse.
According to data from 106 countries:
More than 20% of adolescents aged 13-‐15 stated they have experienced bullying at least once in the past couple of months in a majority of the countries surveyed.
Girls and boys aged 13-‐15 are equally likely to report being bullied
Boys are more likely than girls to bully others (although these results can also suggest that girls were less likely to confessto bullying)
In a survey of teens in Europe and North America, 31% indicated that they had bullied others
It is estimated that 160,00 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students
79% of bullying takes place at school and is perpetrated mostly by peers (84% peers, 2% teachers, 14% others)
Among 130 countries, 47% reported they had implemented bullying prevention programs
Several sources suggest cyberbullying does not stand alone: children experiencing cyberbullying often also experience bullying by traditional means, and most cases of cyberbullying continue or originate in the school setting
Cyberbullying is particularly harmful in the sense that it allows continuation of contact with the victim outside of school in the safety of their homes and at all times of the day.