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What is bullying?

girl sitting alone on stairs looking sad.

Bullying is being mean to someone over and over again.

Bullying often is about power. The power could be physical strength, popularity, or even having embarrassing information about someone. Bullies may use the power they have to get more power, to control someone, or to increase their popularity. Bullies often pick on kids who seem weaker, “different,” or less confident.

Bullying can happen anywhere, including at school, on the Internet, on a sports team, and even at home. People can bully with words or actions, and they can do it alone or in a group.

Bullying is always wrong, and sometimes it is even against the law.

Bullying basics

You can get statistics on bullying and key facts on topics such as the effects of bullying with this infographic. You can also get some quick tips on how to stop bullying [pdf icon PDF 180K].

There are many types of bullying. Here are some examples of bullying:

  • Name-calling, teasing, or spreading rumors
  • Leaving someone out of a group on purpose
  • Giving someone the “silent treatment”
  • Cyberbullying, which includes using social media, IMs, or texts to send mean messages
  • Making nasty faces or hand gestures at someone
  • Making fun of someone for being different
  • Hair-pulling, biting, and pinching
  • Threatening and scaring others
  • Hitting, punching, yelling, and shoving
  • Telling other kids not to be friends with someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Bullying doesn’t just happen between girls. Sometimes, girls bully boys. Girls may make fun of a boy because they think he’s gay, for example. Or they hit him because they think he won’t hit back. Sometimes, boys bully girls.

All kinds of bullying are wrong. Watch the video below and see the different ways KB is bullied. You can watch more webisodes about how KB copes at And you can read our info on how you can handle bullying and even stop it before it starts.


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Content last reviewed April 15,2014
Page last updated August 27, 2014