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Bullying Defined, Online and Off

Illustration by Dung Hoang | Source photography by Lenghong Lim

Bullying Defined, Online and Off

So what, exactly, is bullying? Most of the definitions used at the district, state and federal levels fall in line with three basic features that bullying expert Catherine Bradshaw, PhD, uses in much of her research:

  • Involves aggressive behavior that intends to cause harm or distress
  • Is usually chronic or repeated over time
  • Occurs in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power or strength

In addition, its forms are verbal (e.g., threatening, name-calling), physical (hitting, kicking) and indirect (spreading rumors, influencing relationships), which includes cyber-bullying.

The latter, though just roughly 10 percent of the total, is on the rise?in part, according to Philip Leaf, PhD, and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence, ?because most youth have cell phones, so they?re at risk 24/7.?In a study on cyber-bullying at the middle school level (grades 6?8), the peak time for bullying activity, Bradshaw reports that 25 percent of girls and 11 percent of boys have been cyber-bullied at least once. The most common methods: instant messaging, chat rooms, emails, websites and texting. And the types range from ?flaming? (online fights with angry language) to ?outing? (sharing secrets or embarrassing information) to ?cyberstalking? (intense harassment, including threats).


This forum is closed
  • Lisa Muessig

    Kansas City, KS 05/12/2011 03:29:52 PM

    I liked the students' new lyrics and the use of the arts to raise awareness.

  • Cathy Readmond

    Bayview Campus 05/12/2011 04:14:39 PM

    What an inspiring article. I have a child ready to enter high school. I am thankful bullying is no longer looked at as a right of passage.

  • Teresa Wonnell

    Homewood campus 06/09/2011 08:52:32 AM

    I sent this article to my middle schooler's principal, and she shared it with her school counseling team. The school is going to discuss starting a student club similar to the one at Central. So I think it's an inspiring article as well!

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