About bullying

​Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. It can have long-term effects on those involved.

Bullying can happen:

  • face-to-face (e.g. pushing, tripping, name-calling)
  • at a distance (e.g. spreading rumours, excluding someone)
  • through information and communications technologies (for example, the use of SMS, email, social media or chat rooms).

Some conflicts between children are a normal part of growing up and are to be expected. These conflicts or fights between equals and single incidents are not considered bullying, even though they may be upsetting and need to be resolved.

Identifying bullying can sometimes be difficult. Bullying is often conducted out of sight of teachers and children may be reluctant to report bullying.


Cyberbullying is a term used to describe bullying that is carried out through internet or mobile device technologies. Children who are cyberbullied are also likely to be bullied face-to-face.

Examples of cyberbullying can include:

  • repeated hang up calls
  • sending insulting or threatening text messages
  • publishing someone's personal or embarrassing information online
  • creating hate sites or starting social exclusion campaigns on social networking sites.


Harassment occurs when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their identity, race, culture or ethnic origin, religion, physical characteristics, gender, sexual orientation, marital, parenting or economic status, age, ability or disability.

It can include behaviour such as:

  • telling insulting jokes about particular racial groups
  • sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails
  • displaying offensive posters or screen savers
  • making derogatory comments or taunts about someone's race, religion or sexuality.

It may be:

  • an ongoing pattern of behaviour or a single act
  • directed randomly or towards the same person(s)
  • intentional or unintentional.


Violen​ce is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person(s) that results in psychological harm, injury or in some cases death. It may involve provoked or unprovoked acts and can be a single incident, a random act, or can occur over time.

© Bullying. No Way! (www.bullyingnoway.gov.au 2014, Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment / Australian Education Authorities)

Last updated
22 March 2018