Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bullying: An Brief Overview

I started visiting schools and talking to kids about bullying and what to do and how to deal with it. I don't think that there is one person who has lived life without being bullied. Everybody gets bullied - whether it's cyber-bullying or to your face or behind your back.

Bullying is something all of us have experienced to some degree.  I certainly did as a child, and to some extent as an adult, as did my friends family, and acquaintances.

Defining bullying is a challenging endeavour.  Barbara Coloroso's offers a concise definition in her excellent book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander (2006)   Bullying she writes "is a conscious, willful, and deliberate hostile activity intended to harm, induce fear through the threat of further aggression and create terror." Bullies tend to leverage power based on many factors including: size, age, social status, race, gender...   Bullying can also be a group activity.

There are various forms of bullying.  Below I have outlined three broad categories. These do not have to be mutually exclusive and one form can certainly lead to another.

Verbal Bullying: This is the most frequent form of bullying.  I can involve: name calling, insults, malicious rumours, racial slurs...    As Coloroso writes, "Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me, is a lie." Moreover, verbal bullying can sometimes be a first step to physical violence.

Physical Bullying: Shoving, punching, grabbing, pinching, kicking, taking property such as money etc....  This is the most obvious and the easiest to detect.

Relational Bullying:  This involves attacking the bullied person's social relationships and status. This can involves isolating, ignoring, shunning.  It is more insidious than physical bullying and more difficult to detect.

Cyberbullying:  Intimidation, humiliation, reputation tainting - all via email, and various social media sites.  With the proliferation of mobile devices that is becoming a growing problem.

In future blogs, we will address these forms of bullying in greater detail and explore effective ways of dealing with them.

Stay safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

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