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Understanding Bullying

Need help understanding or dealing with bullying? Bully Talk Inc. provides resources, support groups, and guidance for both targets and those witnessing bullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying behavior is when one or more students employ physical, emotional, or verbal abuse to make life miserable for another student. The abuse can take many forms, from simple name-calling to physical abuse to sexual harassment. Bullying behavior is defined by its intensity and duration and is distinguished by a pattern of repeated physical or psychological intimidation.

Program Introduction Bullying can take many forms.

Bullying is not just physical. It also includes verbal, relational, and online cruelty. In relational bullying, kids use friendship--and the threat of taking their friendship away—to hurt others. Cyberbullying can be especially destructive because of how quickly and how widely cruel messages can spread.

Physical Bullying
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Tripping
  • Shoving
  • Stealing or damaging belongings
Verbal Bullying
  • Insults
  • Name-calling
  • Teasing
  • Threats
  • Humiliation
Social Bullying
  • Exclusion
  • Spreading rumors
  • Manipulation
  • Cyberbullying

Who are the involved parties?


An individual who intentionally and repeatedly inflicts physical or emotional harm on another person. This behavior creates a power imbalance, where the bully has control over the victim.


The target of bullying behavior. Victims often haven't done anything to provoke the bullying and may experience a range of negative emotions, including fear, anxiety, and depression.  In rare cases, victims may exhibit bullying behavior themselves.


Someone who witnesses bullying but doesn't actively participate. While not directly involved, their passive observation can unintentionally support the bully's actions.  However, bystanders have the significant power to intervene and change the situation.


A person who courageously speaks or acts to support someone being bullied. Upstanders stand up for what's right and create a safer environment for everyone.

What are the effects of bullying?

Research confirms that bullying causes serious consequences, as victims may suffer from low self-esteem, physical injuries, sleep difficulties, headaches, stomach issues, chronic pain, and increased stress and anxiety. And it can impact their academic potential. So, putting an end to bullying and supporting bullied kids is critical.


Headaches, stomachaches, sleep problems, changes in appetite, and weakened immune system due to chronic stress.

Mental & Emotional

Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, feelings of isolation, loneliness, anger, fear, and even suicidal thoughts.


Difficulty concentrating, skipping school, and a decline in grades.


Withdrawal from friends and activities, difficulty trusting others, and trouble forming healthy relationships.