What is bullying?
The ministry has defined bullying in PPM 144 as:
Bullying is typically a form of repeated and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation.
Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.
Bullying can take many forms. It can be:
- physical – hitting, shoving, stealing, or damaging property
- verbal – name calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist, or homophobic comments
- social – excluding others from a group or spreading gossip or rumours about them
- written – writing notes or signs that are hurtful or insulting
- electronic (commonly known as cyber-bullying) – spreading rumours and hurtful comments through the use of e-mail, cell phones (e.g., text messaging) and on social media sites.
What is electronic bullying or cyber-bullying?
It is electronic communication that:
- is used to upset, threaten or embarrass another person.
- uses email, cell phones, text messages and social media sites to threaten, harass, embarrass, socially exclude or damage reputations and friendships.
- includes put downs, insults and can also involve spreading rumours, sharing private information, photos or videos or threatening to harm someone.
- is always aggressive and hurtful.