International STAND UP to Bullying Day takes place on 16 November. Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate or aggressively dominate others. The purpose of International Stand Up to Bullying day is to educate people how to prevent, reduce and stop bullying. Many campaigns and events are designated to bullying prevention throughout the world. Bullying prevention campaigns and events include: Anti-Bullying Day, Anti-Bullying Week, International Day of Pink, International STAND UP to Bullying Day and National Bullying Prevention Month. Anti-Bullying laws in the U.S. have also been enacted in 23 of its 50 states, making bullying in schools illegal.
Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The United Kingdom has no legal definition of bullying, while some states in the United States have laws against it. Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation. Bullying ranges from one-on-one, individual bullying through to group bullying called mobbing, in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse. Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.
Bullying is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.
A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. The main platform for bullying is on social media websites. In a 2012 study of male adolescent American football players, “the strongest predictor of bullying was the perception of whether the most influential male in a player’s life would approve of the bullying behavior”.
Individual bullying tactics can be perpetrated by a single person against a target or targets and can be classified into four types. Collective bullying is known as mobbing, and can include any of the individual types of bullying. Physical, verbal, and relational bullying are most prevalent in primary school and could also begin much earlier whilst continuing into later stages in individuals lives. It is stated that Cyber-bullying is more common in secondary school than in primary school.
Physical bullying hurts someone’s body or damages their possessions. Stealing, shoving, hitting, fighting, and destroying property all are types of physical bullying. Physical bullying is rarely the first form of bullying that a target will experience. Often bullying will begin in a different form and later progress to physical violence. In physical bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their body when attacking their target. Sometimes groups of young adults will target and alienate a peer because of some adolescent prejudice. This can quickly lead to a situation where they are being taunted, tortured, and beaten-up by their classmates. Physical bullying will often escalate over time, and can lead to a tragic ending, and therefore must be stopped quickly to prevent any further escalation.
Verbal bullying is conducted by speaking. Calling names, spreading rumors, threatening somebody, and making fun of others are all forms of verbal bullying. Verbal bullying is one of the most common types of bullying. In verbal bullying the main weapon the bully uses is their voice. In many cases, verbal bullying is the province of girls. Girls are more subtle (and can be more devastating), in general, than boys. Girls use verbal bullying, as well as social exclusion techniques, to dominate and control other individuals and show their superiority and power. However, there are also many boys with subtlety enough to use verbal techniques for domination, and who are practiced in using words when they want to avoid the trouble that can come with physically bullying someone else.
Relational bullying is done with the intent to hurt somebody’s reputation or social standing which can also link in with the techniques included in physical and verbal bullying. Relational Bullying is a form of bullying common amongst youth, but particularly upon girls. Relational bullying can be used as a tool by bullies to both improve their social standing and control others. Unlike physical bullying which is obvious, relational bullying is not overt and can continue for a long time without being noticed.
Cyber bullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyberstalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time. This includes email, instant messaging, social networking sites (such as Facebook), text messages, and cell phones.
Workplace bullying can occur in may jobs such as Information Technology, The legal Profession, medicine, nursing, teaching or blue collar jobs. It occurs when an employee experiences a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm. Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation. This type of workplace aggression is particularly difficult because, unlike the typical forms of school bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society. Bullying in the workplace is in the majority of cases reported as having been perpetrated by someone in authority over the target. However, bullies can also be peers, and occasionally can be subordinates.
Research has also investigated the impact of the larger organizational context on bullying as well as the group-level processes that impact on the incidence, and maintenance of bullying behavior. Bullying can be covert or overt. It may be missed by superiors or known by many throughout the organization. Negative effects are not limited to the targeted individuals, and may lead to a decline in employee morale and a change in organizational culture.
Collective bullying tactics are employed by more than one individual against a target or targets. Trolling behavior on social media, although generally assumed to be individual in nature by the casual reader, can sometime be organized by many. Mobbing refers to the bullying of an individual by a group, in any context, such as a family, peer group, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online. When it occurs as emotional abuse in the workplace, such as “ganging up” by co-workers, subordinates or superiors, to force someone out of the workplace through rumor, innuendo, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation, it is also referred to as malicious, nonsexual, nonracial / racial, general harassment.
Bullying is typically ongoing and not isolated behaviour. Common ways that people try to respond, are to try to ignore it, to confront the bullies or to turn to an authority figure to try and address it. Ignoring it often does nothing to stop the bullying continuing, and it can become worse over time. It can be important to address bullying behaviour early on, as it can be easier to control the earlier it is detected. Bystanders play an important role in responding to bullying, as doing nothing can encourage it to continue, while small steps that oppose the behaviour can reduce it. Authority figures can also play an important role, such as parents in child or adolescent situations, or supervisors, human-resources staff or parent-bodies in workplace and volunteer settings. Authority figures can be influential in recognising and stopping bullying behaviour, and creating an environment where it doesn’t continue.
In many situations however people acting as authority figures are untrained and unqualified, do not know how to respond, and can make the situation worse. In some cases the authority figures even support the people doing the bullying, facilitating it continuing and increasing the isolation and marginalising of the target. Some of the most effective ways to respond, are to recognise that harmful behaviour is taking place, and creating an environment where it won’t continue. People that are being targeted have little control over which authority figures they can turn to and how such matters would be addressed, however one means of support is to find a counsellor or psychologist that is trained in handling bullying.