5 Different Types of Bullying: Effective Ways to Prevent

Bullying is the practice of hurting or abusing someone, either mentally or physically. Bully usually involves themselves in this practice to feel on top of a hierarchy. Bullying is the most obvious form of a bully expressing his power over the people they are bullying. It is done to inflict emotional pain, which is why it’s taboo.

The act of bullying is quite impactful. It doesn’t just traumatize the victim but may also have a very negative emotional effect on the bully’s mind and peace.

Bullying can be seen in many forms, such as name-calling, making mean comments, and even physically hurting someone. It doesn’t matter what form of bullying we’re talking about. They’re all harmful to both the body and the mind of the people on both ends of it.

Different Types of Bullying

1. Physical Bullying

Physical bullying is one of the most obvious forms of bullying 1that can be seen as early as middle school. To define it simply, it is when someone hurts a person physically. It could be pushing them down, tripping them, throwing something at them, or hitting them. If things get too severe, one might even need medical attention.

Hitting, pushing, spitting, slapping, kicking, punching, shoving, hair-pulling, and damaging property is ways people use physical bullying.

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bullying in schools/ source: depositphotos

Bullying may traumatize children and make them avoid interacting with people or attending school. They try to lead a low-key life2 and avoid attention at all costs.

This directly affects the child’s development and resists their growth. According to research, bullied children often grow up to be adults with suicidal inclinations.3

The thing about physical bullying is that it doesn’t only affect the two parties involved in it. It scares the children and people who witness it as well.

Although both boys and girls may face physical bullying, boys are the ones who are caught in the act more often than girls are. Bully victims are mostly weaker than the bully or marginalized in some manner.

Pay close attention to your child or your loved one to know if they are a victim of this heinous act. It is extremely important to notice and understand the signs.

Physical bullies are usually aggressive and violent. Therefore, if you witness unexplained scabs and bruises, losing things from school, depression or sadness, damaged possessions, and expressing violent behavior4, chances are that your ward has been going through a tough time.

Supporting a victim of physical abuse comes in steps. The first step is to create a safe space where they can speak without fearing embarrassment. Tell them that they are not the ones at fault in the given situation. Ensure to express kindness and empathy. Try to establish people who can cross-check the institution’s decorum and prevent such acts of bullying from happening in the future.

It is possible that your ward is on the other end of the process and is the one causing harm to others. If you notice aggression or the seniors and supervisors inform you of your child’s suspicious behavior, make sure to sit down and talk to them.

It is crucial for bullies to be taught why hurting someone else is wrong and how it can affect their life negatively in the long run. Ensure that the bullies are given ample information regarding the impacts of their deeds. Parents should have open-minded conversations to understand the problems in school.

With proper supervision, it is possible to provide students with a safer environment free from bullying.

2. Verbal Bullying

The bruises heal, and the wounds close up. What stays with one are words. There’s absolutely no way to reverse the damage that words can cause. The effect of words is probably the only thing that does not heal with time. In certain cases, verbal bullying has greatly impacted the victim more than physical bullying.

Verbal bullying involves malicious acts like deliberately passing mean notes, hurting someone with words, spreading rumors, making crude comments, etc. This form of bullying is noticed among girls more than boys.

A child or person may be judged and targeted based on their weight, ethnicity, height, disability, or appearance. Bullies will figure out your pain points and press them to hurt you at whatever chance they get.

The sole aim of this type of bullying is to bring the victim down and beat them up emotionally enough that they fear standing back up. This gives the bully satisfaction and a feeling of superiority.

Verbal bullying has dire consequences. Evident low self-esteem can be noticed in a victim of bullying. These victims are usually filled with negativity and may or may not have suicidal thoughts. The brutal impact may also lead down a path of substance abuse.

In this type of bullying, the impact is more on the mind than it is on the body. Therefore, in certain cases, it can go unnoticed due to lack of scars or bruises. You might miss out on your loved one’s suffering due to not being attentive /involved enough.

Verbal bullying is usually seen in an atmosphere that lacks adult supervision. The absence of a teacher from a classroom for example. A lot of verbal bullying victims go unnoticed/unheard which leads to them building up trauma over time affecting their personalities in the worst possible ways.

The best way to deal with a verbal bully or a bully, in general, is to not give the satisfaction or reaction that they want. Overtime they will just get bored and stop.

Unfortunately, both physical and verbal bullying are common experiences for school kids these days.

Don’t lower your standards to deal with a bully. It is important to not listen to what a bully is saying. Focus on positive things and talk to your seniors or loved ones. Surround yourself with good friends. Get involved in group activities/clubs like sports or arts. Bullies tend to stay away from groups.

3. Social Bullying

Human beings are social animals. They have various relationships. When a bully intends to damage relationships, it always leaves a scar on the victim. It is another most obvious form of bullying.

This type of bullying occurs when someone embarrasses another publicly by physical harm or by name-calling, ignoring someone or spreading rumors to promote the same, posting photos of the victim to damage their reputation, and when the victim is constantly insulted even through social media.

Teenagers tend to do this mode of bullying to ruin the victim’s social reputation and relationships. When they cannot handle their emotions properly, teenagers choose relational aggression to destruct the social standing of their rivals.

Prejudicial bullying is also a part of this kind of bullying. Based on stereotypical beliefs and fears kids have toward people who are different from them, prejudicial bullying comes from a misguided belief that there are specific groups of people that deserve to be treated with less respect from other groups. A prejudicial bully is most likely to give birth to hate crimes.

Social bullying
Photo by Obie Fernandez, Unsplash   copyright 2021

Since every human being is concerned and considerate about their relationships, relational aggression harms their lives. Loneliness, anxiety, stress, and other behavioral problems arise in the victim.

Having a sound friends circle is required to deal with bullies. Also, exposing the real attitude of the relational bully can help to save your face. Remind students that even their role models have gone through such bitter circumstances.

4. Sexual Bullying

When a person is bullied based on their sexuality or gender, either physically or non-physically, sexual bullying happens. Bullies use a lot of ways to hurt their victims.

Sexual bullying involves sexualized name-calling, spreading rumors about their sexuality, commenting or staring in an abusive way, inappropriate touching, blackmailing to do something that the other person isn’t interested in, violating privacy by taking pictures, sharing images without permission, sexism, and rape or assaults.

This form of bullying is increasing. Sexual bullying leads to depression and other disorders. It affects the sexual orientation5 of the victim. The emotional trauma that comes along after being a victim of sexual bullying is unimaginable.

When young people are victims of such bullying, it has various effects on their sexual development. People are scared to talk about sexual bullying as they are scared about the after-effects. The fear of being blamed resists victims from opening up.

It is important to encourage people to make the right choices. Parents should talk to their children and must give them a safe space to share their plights. When your child expresses an issue, believe them and support them.

To support children who were victims of bullying or sexual assault, parents must show love, affection, and a sense of safety to relieve their stress.

5. Cyberbullying

Bullying using digital technology is cyberbullying. It can occur on social media platforms, gaming platforms, or messaging platforms. The victims are insulted, teased, and threatened.

Sending malicious emails, text messages involving abusive language, impersonating someone and sending mean messages, taking personal data without consent, and threatening are forms of cyberbullying.6

Different types of bullying
Photo by, Bermix studio, Unsplash copyright 2021

We live in a digital world; therefore, it is hard not to recognize cyberbullying. Unlike face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying offends the victim in front of an unlimited audience. Once something goes online, it stays forever. Hence, the victim is always reminded about the event.

Since social media and instant messaging are unavoidable in everyone’s life, it is necessary to understand the various modes of cyberbullying. Harassing someone using comments, information, or messages, impersonation, sharing inappropriate photographs, and website creation are all methods of cyberbullying.7

The virtual world can disrupt a child’s psychology. This results in self-esteem issues. Victims feel hopeless and unsafe. Anxiety and depression are common among the victims.

Parents should help to deal with the emotional bullying that their child bears. Cyberbullying, most of the time, is anonymous and hard to detect. Letting your child deal with such an activity is not wise.

Block the bully and document the event. Frequent complaints can bring a change. This is a way to stop cyberbullying, one of the most harmful modes among the types of bullying.

The Psychology of Bullies

You may be wondering why people bully. Why should someone engage in an activity that can ruin lives and themselves? A better understanding helps us to answer questions regarding the types of bullying.

When a child acts like a bully, it is usually due to misconceptions during their upbringing. Parents have a direct association with a child’s behavior.

Bullying behavior starts early. When parents impose harsh behavior upon their children to control them, the child takes it as an example and tries it on his peers.

Different types of bullying
Photo by Adrian Swancar,  Unsplash copyright 2021

The child is unaware that he is becoming a bully. This continues. Also, the lack of self-awareness prevents them from understanding the negativity they possess.

People generally don’t speak ill about a bully due to fear. So they never know what people perceive of them.

Self-esteem issues are a common trait among bullies. To get a sense of superiority, they harm others, sometimes using hurtful words or other ways.

Lack of healthy relationships, and interactions, and a harsh upbringing is generally why a child shows bullying behavior. Disorders in mental state can also create a bully.

Conclusion and How to Prevent Bullying

The only way to prevent bullying is to correct the bullies. Give bullies a chance to rectify their mistakes. Treat them with kindness and respect. This will have a positive effect on them.

Parents have to take good care of their children and should set the right example before them. Show them that the world is a good place. Tell them that they don’t have to be tough to get what they want.

Ensure safety and help the victim heal. Institutions should adopt bullying prevention practices to avoid bullying.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Kind of Study Methodology Does Bullying Use?

The majority of the research on bullying behavior in schools has used quantitative analysis.

2. What Are the Three R’s for Preventing Bullying?

Recognize, Respond, and Report are the three R’s of bullying prevention for students with special educational needs.

3. Does Bullying Contribute to Depression?

Bullying can have long-lasting physical, emotional, and psychological impacts. Bullying, for instance, can lead to lingering problems, including depression, which can have effects during adolescence and even into adulthood.

Read more articles on mental health.

Infographic That Suggests Methods To Manage Bullying At The Workplace
Icy Health

Edited by Pooja Motwani

  1. Yang, An, and Christina Salmivalli. “Different forms of bullying and victimization: Bully-victims versus bullies and victims.” European Journal of Developmental Psychology 10.6 (2013): 723-738. ↩︎
  2. Low, Kelvin EY. “The social life of the senses: Charting directions.” Sociology compass 6.3 (2012): 271-282. ↩︎
  3. Bar-Joseph, Hanna, and David Tzuriel. “Suicidal tendencies and ego identity in adolescence.” Adolescence 25.97 (1990): 215. ↩︎
  4. Terasaki, Dale J., et al. “Anger expression, violent behavior, and symptoms of depression among male college students in Ethiopia.” BMC public health 9 (2009): 1-8. ↩︎
  5. Sell, Randall L. “Defining and measuring sexual orientation: A review.” Archives of sexual behavior 26 (1997): 643-658. ↩︎
  6. Hong, Jun Sung, et al. “Correlates of direct and indirect forms of cyberbullying victimization involving South Korean adolescents: An ecological perspective.” Computers in Human Behavior 87 (2018): 327-336. ↩︎
  7. Mahlangu, Thabo, Chunling Tu, and Pius Owolawi. “A review of automated detection methods for cyberbullying.” 2018 International Conference on Intelligent and Innovative Computing Applications (ICONIC). IEEE, 2018. ↩︎

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