Bullying is widely defined as aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It’s always unwanted, sometimes public, usually repeated. And both the kids who are bullied and those who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
An imbalance of power: Bullying happens between peers. But social scientists observe that kids who bully use some kind of power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, popularity or willingness to be mean—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
It’s old data, but then it’s an age-old problem: In 2007 one in three students aged 12-18 reported being bullied at school.
Bullying is bullying, no matter where it occurs. However, school is where it occurs most frequently. It’s most common in places where there is little or no adult supervision. In fact, middle-school students, particularly sixth-graders, are most likely to be bullied on the bus.