How teens define bullying

How 20 Teens Define Bullying: After School Asks Users About Bullying

December 10, 2018

How do you define bullying?

Despite bullying being a part of nearly every teen’s life, it can be hard to define and there is no official definition accepted by the U.S. Federal Government. “Teens need to understand what bullying is and looks like as well as the difference between one-time aggression and bullying; that way, if they are ever faced with a situation, they will know what they are dealing with and can make better choices around how to tackle the problem,” says anti-bullying activist Paula Orrego.

In late October, After School hosted a cyberbullying prevention and awareness campaign inside the app with the help of Orrego. We asked teens to define bullying by having them enter a text response to “Bullying is…” Here are 20 definitions of bullying that came from current high school students across the country.

Bullying is…

“When someone uses force against another person to belittle, undermine, abuse, and/or make them question everything in their lives.”

“A constant harassment physical and mentally.”

“Bullying is other kids who [have] been bullied for being different and pick on someone else for being different.”

“Making fun of someone bc they r different.”

“A cruel dumb way to express negative things.”

“When someone says hateful, and sometimes rude stuff to someone. Or someone who goes out of their way to make someone feel awful.”

“Picking on, making fun of, or telling someone to kill themselves or even just doing things people know others don’t like.”

“When someone or a group try to harm someone or hurt them mentally just to make there own selves feel better.”

“An unnecessary assertion of dominance in attempt to reach some sort of self preservation or control.”

“Hurting others because it makes you feel better about yourself. Secretly you just want love and [to] feel important.”

“A mean comment, the way you treat someone, physical abuse, but tbh bullying is something that shouldn’t happen. WE ARE ALL HUMAN.”

“Bullying is treating others without the respect they deserve.”

“Someone who says harsh things to mentally hurt the person. Sometimes the bully physically hurts them.”

“When someone or a group of people target one or more people and pick on them and say rude things to them bullying is usually [done] repeatedly.”

“Treating someone like less than a human being.”

“Taking action or using words to either physically or mentally harm another person, whether the bully knows he was bullying or not.”

“When you make fun of someone for something weather it’s their size, voice, color of their skin, sexuality, the clothes they wear etc.”

“Harassing someone with words or physically out of free will, for no personal gain except trying to break that person or ruin their day.”

“Bullying is one individual being disrespectful in any way, shape, or form towards another individual.”

“Spreading rumors, teasing/making fun of somebody, hurting somebody intentionally, physically abusing someone, verbally abusing someone.”

To learn more about the bullying awareness campaign or future initiatives in the After School App, please contact

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