BULLYING CLARIFIED

What constitutes social media bullying?

According to research by the Pew Research Center, 92 per cent of American teens go online every day. Social media is one of the most used types of websites by teenagers. Connecting with other people can be a great thing, but it also brings many issues. Educating your child or yourself about which behaviors are considered to be cyber bullying is advisable. Bullying through this platform can include:

  • Posting negative comments on pictures
  • Posting abusive posts on a user’s wall
  • Using pictures or videos to make fun of another user
  • Using social media to stalk
  • Hacking an account or fraudulently making posts as though another wrote them

Many of the acts of bullying on social media are similar to what they would be in a real-life situation, only in digital form. The impact of the problem is also similar.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behavior directed towards a worker or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.

Repeated behavior refers to the persistent nature of the behavior and can involve a range of behaviors over time.

Unreasonable behavior means behavior that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behavior that is victimizing, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Examples of behavior, whether intentional or unintentional, that may be workplace bullying if they are repeated, unreasonable and creates a risk to health and safety include but are not limited to:

  • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumors
  • changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers

What is not workplace bullying?

  • a single incident of unreasonable behavior, however it may be repeated or escalate and so should not be ignored
  • unreasonable behavior that involves violence, for example physical assault or threat of physical assault
  • reasonable management action, in connection with a worker’s employment, is not considered workplace bullying if it is carried out in a lawful and reasonable way, taking the particular circumstances into account
  • acts of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment
  • workplace conflict—differences of opinion and disagreements are generally not considered to be workplace bullying

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