Definition of bullying

The definition of bullying is when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond. Bullying can continue over time, is often hidden from adults, and will probably continue if no action is taken.

While the bullying definition is broad and can occur in a variety of environments it usually is a relationship problem and requires relationship-based solutions. These are best solved in the social environment in which they occur: in a child or young person's life, this is most often the school.

What bullying is not

  • single episodes of social rejection or dislike
  • single episode acts of nastiness or spite
  • random acts of aggression or intimidation
  • mutual arguments, disagreements or fights.

These actions can cause great distress. However, they do not fit the definition of bullying, and they're not examples of bullying unless someone is deliberately and repeatedly doing them.

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