Bullying is a huge social issue that affects school children of all ages. Bullying is the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate others, and typically involves a real or perceived power imbalance. While this definition remains true, it is important to note that there are many different forms of bullying that are prevalent among school aged children, and all of them are equally harmful. There are five different types of bullying that will be discussed in this article – Physical bullying, Verbal bullying, indirect bullying/Social alienation, Intimidation, and cyberbullying. This article will take a closer look at each of the five types of bullying that affect children in today’s society.
Physical bullying is the type of bullying that most people automatically think of when defining what a bully is. Physical bullying is any physical contact that would injure or hurt another person. Hitting, kicking, pushing, tripping, slapping, and punching are common examples of physical bullying. Theft or destruction of property also fall into the category of physical bullying and can include stealing books, clothing, personal belongings, or lunch money. Physical bullying typically occurs at school or on the way to or from school and is most common during elementary and middle school. So how do you know if your child has been a victim of physical bullying? There are a number of indicators that can alert a parent that their child may be a victim of physical bullying including:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or other physical injuries
- Damaged books, clothing or other possessions
- Complaints of not feeling well before school or other social activities
- Low Self Esteem
- “Losing” possessions they take to school
Verbal bullying is the next type of bullying and is very closely related to physical bullying. Verbal bullying normally involves name calling, making offensive remarks, joking about an individual’s religion, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or simply comments on the appearance of an individual. Verbal bullying is the most prevalent form of bullying accounting for nearly 45% of all instances of bullying. In General, verbal bullying occurs more often between females than between males, and will often lead to social exclusion. Verbal bullying can cause both emotional and psychological damage to someone and can lead to lowered self-esteem.
Another form of bullying is Indirect or Social Alienation, which is defined as when a bully intentionally excludes another individual from a specific social group. Social Alienation is often accompanied with other acts of physical or verbal bullying, but can be carried out on its own. Social Alienation is also seen as one individual spreading rumors about another in an attempt to exclude the person from a specific group.
Intimidation is a form of bullying that involves a verbal or physical threat. Intimidation is done to frighten someone enough that the person being bullied submits to the bully and does whatever it is that the bully wants them to do.
The last and newest form of bullying comes in the form of Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a very broad term and can encompass messages, pictures, or information that is spread using computers and/or cell phones. Social media sites provide an outlet for cyberbullying to occur and allow the spread of information among peer groups very quickly. This ease of communication can enable a bully to spread rumors or post embarrassing content about an individual that is quickly seen by others and can be quite hurtful. Cyberbullying is still a new form of bullying, but as technology spreads it is expected that the percentage of cyberbullying incidents will increase.
No matter what the type of bullying that is occurring, the victim always ends up being physically or emotionally hurt. There are many ways that we can help prevent bullying from occurring. Talking about what bullying is to children and teaching them how to stand up to bullying can be an important part in stopping bullying. It is important to encourage children to speak to a trusted adult if they’re being bullied and also to keep an open line of communication between parents and children. Talking to your child about their day on a daily basis can help to identify when a child is being bullied and what subsequent actions should be taken to prevent any future abuse.