There are lots of ways to be a bully. You can hit, kick, push, pinch, bite, threaten, tease, mimic, name call, insult, gossip, spread rumors, or exclude someone from a group. Whew! It seems you have lots of options if you’re a bully. But, no matter how you bully someone, the end game is always to scare, intimidate, or hurt the other person.
Bullying happens anywhere there are people. Sometimes, people bully others because they see their friends doing it. It’s a way to protect themselves from being bullied by the very people they think are their friends. In some circles, bullying is expected if a person wants to hang out with the ‘right’ crowd. People with low self-esteem are usually bullies. It makes them feel stronger, smarter, or better than the person they’re bullying.
It’s very common these days for bullies to use the Internet and cell phones. It’s called cyberbullying and here are some examples:
- Flaming – Email, text, or other messages that use angry vulgar language.
- Harassing – Sending nasty, mean, and insulting messages to the same person over and over again.
- Impersonating – Pretending to be someone else and spreading false information to get that person in trouble or to damage his or her reputation or friendships.
- Denigrating – Starting or passing along gossip or rumors meant to damage someone’s reputation or friendships.
- Outing – Sharing secrets or embarrassing information or pictures of someone.
- Tricking – Talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information about themselves and then sharing it.
- Excluding – Purposely and cruelly excluding someone from an online group.
If you want to avoid cyberbullying, don’t give out your personal information, whether in IM profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or social networks. Never give anyone your password—not even your friends. Don’t respond to mean or threatening emails, social network messages, IMs, or texts. “Block” the person, delete the message, log off, or shut down your phone or computer. People can’t bully you if they can’t reach you. And don’t participate in ‘sexting.’ That’s when naked or partly naked pictures of you or someone else are shared over the Internet or by cell phone. Before you send any pictures of yourself or others over the Internet or through your cell phone, ask yourself this question, “Would I want my friends and parents to see them?”
The Bully Quiz
- Do you spread rumors or gossip about people?
- Do you make fun of or tease people for how they look, talk, dress, or act?
- Have you ever threatened to hurt someone?
- Have you ever punched, shoved, or hit someone just because you felt like it?
- Do you make mean faces or derogatory hand signs to people?
- Do you tell secrets in front of people and make it a point not to tell them?
- Are you a part of a club or group that dictates who can and cannot be friends?
- Have you sent cruel threatening email, texts, or IMs?
Being a Bully Dos and Don'ts
- If someone bullies you, get help from parents, coach, teacher, or friend. Don’t suffer in silence. It will likely continue and get worse.
- Stay in a group so you’re not an “easy” target and there are others around to help if you get into a difficult situation.
- Stand up to the bully if it feels safe. Stay calm, tell them to “Cut it out!” and walk away.
- If you’re acting like a bully, stop.
The Book of Bad Habits: How to Chuck the Worst and Turn the Rest to Your Advantage (Paperback and eBook)