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Manifestations of the key elements

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  • Physical
    • tripping
    • restraining
    • hitting
    • etc.
  • Verbal
    • insulting
    • threatening
    • ridiculing
    • etc.
  • Social
    • spreading rumours
    • shunning
    • excluding
    • etc.
  • Material
    • destroying
    • vandalizing
    • taking another person’s property (including, for example, images on the Internet)
    • etc.


Acts of bullying committed in cyberspace (social media, text messages, e-mails, blogs, Web sites, etc.)

The key elements of bullying and cyberbullying:

  • Power imbalance that can be expressed through:
    • superiority in terms of numbers of people
    • superiority in terms of age
    • greater physical strength
    • a position of authority
    • a difference in aptitudes and attitudes
  • Generally a deliberate act intended to harm or hurt
  • Repetitive nature that can take the form of:
    • a gesture performed repeatedly by the same person
    • a gesture performed by several different people: even if each person performs the gesture only once, cumulatively it becomes repetitive.

Bear in mind the following nuances:

  • Power imbalance:
    • Varies in intensity, and the power imbalance is not always apparent.
      A power relationship can be created by the desire to wield power at another person’s expense, for example, through threatening gestures.

  • Generally a deliberate act intended to harm or hurt:
    • In some situations, the gestures can be involuntary where the perpetrator does not realize the effects on the other person, for example, when young people act impulsively due to immaturity or when people have certain pathologies.

  • Repetitive nature that can take the form of:
    • Depending on the context, some single, objectively serious gestures can also be associated with acts of bullying without being repetitive in nature (e.g. assault causing injury, assault with a weapon, or death threats).

Bullying and cyberbullying have negative consequences for the person targeted that can translate into feelings of distress, humiliation, insecurity and invasion of privacy.

Negative consequences can also be seen in the other people involved (close relatives or friends, witnesses, the person who does the bullying).

Likewise, the same gestures may not be considered bullying if the targeted person does not feel affected.

Each situation must be evaluated separately before concluding that an act of bullying is involved.

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Last modified date :
June 4, 2021