The first step to resolving bullying is understanding the definition
As a facilitator, my job is to teach adults as well as students about bullying and how to stop it. Over the years, I have found that we usually need to go back to the basics before we can tackle bullying. Often the definition of bullying is misunderstood. Bullying is defined as: "using your power, over a period of time, to hurt someone emotionally or physically."
It is important to understand that bullying has evolved and it presents itself in different forms such as:
Cyberbullying - using the Internet, cell phones, videos, game systems, IM, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media to send or post texts or images to hurt, threaten, or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying is also when a perpetrator goes under a false identity to trick others into trusting him/her and then uses information to hurt the individual.
Relational Aggression - using social or emotional aggression between individuals in relationships, whereby “the group” is used as a weapon to hurt others. This can take the form of gossip, teasing, rumors, social exclusion, manipulative friendships, and even negative body language.
Think about the movie mean girls...We all have heard about it or have seen it; however, now with youth having unlimited access to technology mean girls have gotten a lot meaner. It is not only girls but also boys that are using these forms of bullying to establish their power and hurt others.
We need to shift our thinking that bullying is not just the big scary kid on the playground picking on the weaker one. It can be anyone and it happens more often then we think. One in seven students from pre-school to grade twelve is either a bully or a victim of bullying. 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. In particular, 41% of older girls (15-17) report being bullied—more than any other age or gender group. Theses statistics are scary and disturbing. Yet, when I enter a new school to start a bully intervention program, students often deny that there is a problem. Part of the problem is the lack of understanding of bullying, cyberbullying, and relational aggression.
When we start to change our perceptions of bullying, we start to understand how to prevent and stop the behavior.