Psychology professor Dorothea Ross provided a definition of bullying in her 1996 book Childhood Bullying and Teasing. She wrote:
Bullying is a form of social interaction--not necessarily long-standing--in which a more dominant individual (the bully) exhibits aggressive behavior that is intended to, and does, in fact, cause distress to a less dominant individual (the victim). The aggressive behavior may take the forms of a direct physical and/or verbal attack or may be indirect. More than one bully and more than one victim may participate in the interaction.Physical bullying is more prevalent among students in elementary and middle schools, and tends to taper off in high school, but indirect bullying, such as verbal abuse, is common among students at every level.
Surveys of both students and parents repeatedly indicate that bullying has a negative effect on the subjects of bullying as well as on the bullies themselves. Both groups of students have higher school drop-out rates than their peers. Bullied children also tend to have failing grades, and to experience depression, or anger and aggression.
Indirect bullying includes such acts as: name-calling and put-downs, verbal threats, cruel jokes, rejection, humiliation, blackmail, playing mean or embarrassing tricks, ostracism on the basis of looks or social status, hateful graffiti, manipulating friendships, demands for money or property, indecent gestures, and defamation or telling lies about someone.
And studies also have shown that students who are bullied may turn around and themselves bully other students, creating a vicious cycle.
How often do you see people being bullied in your school?
What do you think it will take to stop students from bullying other students?
What do you think makes bullies act the way that they do?
"Bullying and School Safety." National School Safety and Security Service, 1996-2005, www.schoolsecurity.org.
Coloroso, Barbara. The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence. New York: HarperResource, 2004."Report: Bullies at Risk of Becoming Criminals." CNN.com, September 4, 2003, www.cnn.com.