Bullying vs. Play Fighting




Bullying is….

A person is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons.
(OLWEUS, 1991)


Conflict is a normal part of growing up.  Normal conflict may require some adult assistance in resolving issues, but typically teens learn how to work out their differences on their own.

Bullying is different because it involves danger of someone being physically or emotionally hurt.


Look over the chart.  Identify examples of normal conflict vs. bullying.





Equal power or friends


Imbalance of power, not friends

Happens occasionally


Repeated negative actions




Not serious

Serious with threat of physical or emotional harm

Equal emotional reaction

Strong emotional reaction from victim and little or not emotional reaction from bully

Not seeking power or attention


Seeking power, control or material things

Not trying to get something


Attempt to gain material things or power

Remorse-will take responsibility


No remorse-blames victim

Efforts to solve the problem


No effort to solve problem



Friendly Teasing vs. Hurtful Teasing


We have talked about all the different kinds of bullying.  In middle school, two forms of bullying in particular-verbal aggression in the form of teasing and sexual harassment- get trickier and more complicated.  Let’s look at both….




Equal power; friends                vs.                            Imbalance of power;
                                                                                Not friends

Neutral topic                           vs.                           Sensitive topic


Playful purpose                        vs.                          Purpose to upset


Purpose is to include                vs.                          Purpose is to exclude


Funny                                     vs.                          Sarcastic