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Definitions Related to Name-Calling, Bullying and Bias

Anti-bias: A term to describe the active commitment to challenging prejudice, stereotyping and all forms of discrimination.

Bias: An inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.

Bullying: The repeated actions or threats of action directed toward a person by one or more people who have or are perceived to have more power or status than their target in order to cause fear, distress or harm. Bullying can be physical, verbal, psychological or any combination of these three. 

Cyberbullying: The intentional and repeated mistreatment of others through the use of technology, such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.

Name-calling: The use of language to defame, demean or degrade individuals or groups.

Roles in Bullying and Bias Incidents*

Target: Someone against whom mistreatment is directed.

  • In a study of 500,000 3rd to 12th graders, 17% of students reported that they have been bullied at least 2-3 times in the last month.[1]
  • Approximately 20% of young people report experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetimes. [2]

Aggressor: Someone who says or does something harmful or malicious to another person intentionally and unprovoked.

  • In a study of 500,000 3rd to 12th graders, 10% of students reported that they have bullied someone at least 2-3 times in the last month. [3] 
  • In a survey of 655 13- to 18-year-olds,  approximately 1 in 10 teens reported that they have cyberbullied someone online or by text message. [4]

Bystander: Someone who sees something happening and does not say or do anything.

  • A study using classroom observations indicated that children and youth were present during 85% of bullying episodes, but intervened just 10% of the time.[5]

Ally: Someone who speaks out on behalf of someone else or takes actions that are supportive of someone else.

  • More than half of bullying behaviors will stop in less than ten seconds when another student intervenes.[6]

Confronter: Someone who speaks out when an incident of bias takes place. The role of confronter can be filled by other people (allies) or by targets themselves.

 *When discussing bullying and bias, it must be made clear that definitions are describing the person’s behavior in a given situation, not defining the individual. While the A WOLRD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute uses nouns (e.g., aggressor) rather than adjectives (e.g., aggressive) in describing the roles in bias and bullying incidents, the intent is not to label or typecast a person, but to describe the role that person is playing in a specific place and time.

[1] Olweus. 2010. Olweus Bullying Questionnaire.

[2] Patchin, Justin W. and Hinduja, Sameer. 2010. Cyberbullying Victimization and Cyberbullying Offending. Cyberbullying Research Center

[3] Olweus. 2010. Olweus Bullying Questionnaire.

[4] Patchin, Justin W. and Hinduja, Sameer. 2010. Cyberbullying Victimization and Cyberbullying Offending. Cyberbullying Research Center

[5] Rona S. Atlas, and Debra J. Pepler, “Observations of Bullying in the Classroom,” The Journal of Educational Research 92(2): 86–99. 

[6] Goldman, Carrie. 2012. Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, Harper-Collins, NY

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More than half of bullying behaviors will stop in less than ten seconds when another student intervenes.

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