What is Bullying and How Does It Differ in Boys and Girls?
What is bullying?1
- An intentional act. The child who bullies wants to harm the victim; it is no accident.
- Characterized by repeat occurrences. Bullying is not generally considered a random act, nor a single incident.
- A power differential. A fight between two kids of equal power is not bullying; bullying is a fight where the child who bullies has some advantage or power over the child who is victimized.
Strategies students use to bully others:1
- Physical - hitting, kicking, beating up, pushing, spitting, property damage, and/or theft.
- Verbal - teasing, mocking, name calling, verbal humiliation, verbal intimidation, threats, coercion, extortion, and/or racist, sexist or homophobic taunts.
- Social - gossip, rumor spreading, embarrassment, alienation or exclusion from the group, and/or setting the other up to take the blame.
- Cyber or electronic - using the Internet, email or text messaging to threaten, hurt, single out, embarrass, spread rumors, and/or reveal secrets about others.
Bullying and gender:2
- Boys tend to be physically aggressive.
- Boys may be more accepting of bullying than girls.
- Boys are more likely to both bully and be bullied than girls.
- Girls tend to bully other girls indirectly through peer groups. Rather than bully a targeted child directly, girls more often share with others hurtful information about the targeted child.
- Girls experience sexual bullying more often than boys (for example, spreading rumors about sexual activity or being targeted as the recipient of sexual messages.)
Next Article: Low Self-Esteem and Bullying: How are they related?
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