Bullying on the internet, at work & in school • What to do?

Cyber ​​bullying, bullying at school and at work can be extremely stressful for those affected. A few sayings, a joke about colleagues, that’s all harmless, isn’t it? But: where does the fun end, where does bullying begin? What to do to help the victim

Professor Heinz Leymann, learning psychologist and ergonomist, coined the term bullying for the first time in the early 1980s. He used it to describe a form of problem among adults in the workplace that is linked to certain behaviors and a repetitive structure. Bullying is not a fashion disease or a new phenomenon, but a well-known phenomenon that is a group dynamic process.

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Definition: How to recognize bullying

According to Leymann, bullying is defined by the following four behaviors:

  • a hostile intent towards the target person
  • when hostile behavior from colleagues / superiors, even if it is not meant to be
  • frequent and applied over a long period of time psychological violence (“Psychoterror”)
  • a Victimization, that means the target person of the bullying should be a victim and should be expelled and devalued

In bullying research, it is believed that bullying increases in times of economic recession. The competition for jobs leads to increased profiling at the expense of colleagues. Unfortunately, there is also bullying at school, where individual children are marginalized and stigmatized as victims.


Cyber ​​bullying, also known as cyber bullying, means bullying on the Internet. It can look like a person is exposed on social networks, chats, email or other means on the Internet. Sometimes nude photos are circulating, some of which are fake, or the person concerned becomes the target of hatred, ridicule and slander. Cyber-bullying is particularly bad as those affected cannot escape it, are powerless and the perpetrators often go undetected. In addition, the consequences often get out of hand, as the pictures or other things can be found on the Internet for a long time and are difficult to remove.

Children and young people are particularly often affected by cyber bullying, and the reluctance to talk to their parents about it is often high. As early as 2016, eight percent of children and adolescents between 12 and 19 years of age said they had been victims of cyber bullying. 34 percent of children and adolescents said they knew someone who had been bullied online. The trauma for the victims is often higher than bullying at school. In recent years there has also been an increasing number of suicides among children and young people who have been victims of cyberbullying.

Bullying in school

Bullying is also widespread in schools among children and young people. However, not every argument is bullying. In school, however, bullying can be quite subtle and even teachers don’t always notice it as such. Indications of bullying in school can include:

  • Whenever a child speaks in class, the other children whisper, giggle and disturb.
  • A child is regularly ambushed on the way to school or on the schoolyard, and sometimes they are even blackmailed by classmates.
  • A teacher speaks negatively and / or pejoratively about an individual child in front of the class.
  • A child is increasingly isolated and marginalized, perhaps even insulted and insulted, from their classmates.
  • Pictures of a teenager are sent around and ridiculed (cyber bullying) without their consent.

If a child is being bullied, parents and teachers should definitely get to the bottom of it. The longer bullying persists, the more difficult it becomes to break down the structures. It also increases the security that psychological damage in the affected child.

How can I recognize bullying in the child?

In children and adolescents, different signs can indicate that they are being bullied:

  • Refusal to go to school.
  • Want to be driven to school.
  • School performance is falling.
  • Withdrawal from social life.
  • Strange explanations for different things, like lost money (child may be blackmailed but may not admit it)
  • Signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, headache, abdominal pain
  • Skip school.
  • Fears, depression and even suicide attempts.

What to do if my child is bullied

If the child is a victim of teasing or even physical violence, being sensitive is very important. Many children think that they are to blame for the behavior of other children and therefore find it difficult to confide in their parents. Parents should signal that they are the Take the child’s worries and fears seriously and listen carefully. The child feels that it has the support of its parents.

If the child is suspected of being bullied, parents should definitely contact the school and ask for action. Help can be found here School management, the parents’ council or an advice center Offer. The school is legally obliged to take action against bullying in order to protect the best interests of the child. In order for the child to free themselves from their victim role, their self-confidence must be strengthened enough that they can defend themselves. It has to learn to express itself clearly and not simply to accept the attacks.

The most effective way to counter bullying is with Confidence and Prevention. If everyone – parents, teachers and classmates – take a clear position against bullying, bullying has no chance at school.

If you would like more information or advice about bullying at school, you can contact a counseling center near you. You can find the addresses under www.schulpsychologie.de.

In fact, a child can be bullied in kindergarten. The signs and also help for this are the same as mentioned above.

Bullying at work

The use of psychological violence is one of the four forms of bullying. But what is psychological violence related to workplace bullying?

  • Attacks on the ability to communicate: Colleagues and / or the boss don’t listen to you, especially when you’re trying to defend yourself. You are never asked for your opinion.

  • Attacks on social relationships: You will be isolated from your colleagues. You are no longer spoken to, you get no answers.

  • Actions affecting social standing: Rumors are being spread about you. Your competence, your way of working and your mental health are questioned. You are made fun of, you are imitated.

  • Attacks on the quality of the job and life situation: You are given offensive or pointless tasks. You are given no or far too many tasks. You will be given tasks that will massively under- or overtax your qualifications.

  • Attacks on Health: This includes sexual harassment and physical abuse. They are forced to work that is harmful to their health.

Bullying – what to do

As a rule, several people are affected by bullying: bullies, bullies and sufferers or followers. The latter group of people often makes a decisive contribution to ensuring that a bullying situation continues or can even be ended.

Admittedly, it is tricky to get involved in a bullying situation. It can mean being the target of despicable and aggressive strategies yourself. Above all, you must always expect that your own perception differs greatly from that of other people.

In practice this means: If I find that a person is constantly being discriminated against, that person doesn’t necessarily feel the same way. In addition, it is possible that the people I perceive as bullies perceive their behavior as humorous and then become aggressive towards me if I attribute discriminatory behavior to them. An attempt should be made to bring about a factual discussion in which all those involved can express their point of view. Sometimes a mediator can help analyze and resolve a conflict situation.

How to deal with workplace bullying

Personal trainers and bullying advisors recommend the following procedure for colleagues who want to intervene to help in a bullying situation:

  1. ask First, tell the bullied person how they perceive the situation.

  2. Do your perceptions match, offer your help and support an.

  3. Do you speak further steps with the bullied person from. Do not act on behalf of this person, you will incapacitate them.

  4. Do you speak, preferably individually, with the bullies. Describe in a non-accusatory way how you perceive their behavior and quietly listen to each other’s views.

  5. If the situation cannot be defused in this way, the situation cannot be improved through personal intervention. In this case, you should suggest a discussion to the colleague concerned and contact a counseling center with him.

Help and advice for those affected

Anyone affected by bullying can contact various addresses:

  • Help for children and young people with cyber bullying and bullying in school: Find advice centers
  • Number against Kummer, child and youth phone: 116111 (Monday to Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.), parents’ phone: 0800/111 0 550 (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays also from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Adults can find advice centers for bullying in Germany here

Consequences of bullying

Anyone who is bullied suffers from it. But he is not only suffering in the moment, because bullying can have serious health consequences. Many bullied sufferers from anxiety and depression or burnout a long time after the incident.

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.

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