Bullying has historically had many different manifestations, views, stereotypes, and even names. Some views, including those of parents and teachers, have considered things such as “teasing” to be a “rite of passage” or something that they tell children will stop as those bullying children age and “grow out of it”. However, as research and reporting reflect, bullying is not a simple developmental “phase”, and, often, as those bullies progress in age, physical stature, and “popularity”, the bullying typically continues to expand and escalate. Ultimately, this can result in significant emotional and developmental trauma, and, unfortunately, as seen in current statistics, an increased risk for suicide and other forms of self-harm. Subsequently, it is important to understand what bullying is, and what it is not.
Dan Olweus is generally recognized for creating the seminal definition of bullying in 2010 – one that continues to be primarily utilized today to operationally represent the actions of bullies and those who are being bullied. Specifically: A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.
This definition includes three important components:
1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions.
2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior