What Is Bullying

Different Roles

 
Importance of Not Labeling Kids
 
Instead of labeling the children involved (the bully or the victim) focus on the behavior. For instance: Instead of using the label “bully”, call the individual "the child who bullied” and Instead of using the label “victim”, call the individual "the child who was bullied”
 

 
The Roles Kids Play
 
There are many roles that kids can play. Kids can bully others, they can be bullied, laugh along or they may overlook bullying. When kids are involved in bullying, they usually play more than one role. Occasionally kids may both be bullied and bully others or they may observe other kids being bullied. It is crucial to grasp the multiple roles kids can portray in order to effectively prevent and address bullying.
 
“Circle of Bullying” can best describe the different roles the kids play.

Kids Involved in Bullying
 
The roles kids can play in bullying are not specifically limited to the ones who bully or those who are bullied. Researches refer to this as "circle of bullying" to identify those directly involved in bullying, those who are active or passive in the behavior and those who fight against it. The direct roles include:
 
1- Kids who Bully: These children engage in direct bullying towards their peers. Many risks are involved in promoting the child’s behavior. In all times, kids who bully need support.
 
2- Kids who are Bullied: These children are the individuals receiving the behavior. There are certain factors that put children at a higher risk of being bullied; however, not all children with these characteristics are bullied. In most cases, these children require help in reacting to bullying.
 
It is important to highlight that even if a child is indirectly participating in bullying (ex. Laughing along), they are promoting the unwanted behavior. If a child is perceiving a behavior and not reacting properly, it will influence the kid who is bullied. This is a clear indicator that it is crucial for these children to know what to do if when they witness bullying. The different roles kids take on when they witness bullying include:
 
1- Kids who Assist: These children may not initiate the bullying or lead in the bullying behavior, but serve as a helping factor to children who are bullying. These children may reinforce the bullying be-havior and sometimes join in.
 
2- Kids who Reinforce: These children are not directly invested in the bullying parade but they give the bullying a crowd. They will frequently laugh or provide backing for the children who are doing the bullying. This encourages the bullying to continue.
 
3- Outsiders: These children remain independent from the bullying behavior. They neither support the bullying nor help stop it. Some may witness what is happening but do not provide a reaction to show they are on anyone’s side. But still, the mere existence of an audience encourages the bullying behavior.
 
4- Kids who Defend: These children actively and consciously console the child being harassed and may come to the child's rescue when bullying happens.
 
Most kids take on more than one role in bullying over time. In some cases, they may be the one bullying others or being bullied and in other cases; they may witness bullying and be a supporter or disagree with what is happening.
 
Every situation differs. Some kids are both survivors and committers of bullying. It is crucial to note that children can influence the situation differently depending on their role, because:
Those who are subjected to both being bullied and bullying others, may be at risk of going through psychological downturns such as depression or suicidal thoughts.
 
There is a clear importance for engaging all kids in prevention methods, and not only who are directly engaging in the behavior.