A “Typical Bully”
Research shows that there are actually six primary types of bullying in school. When we think of a typical bully, we think of a stereotypical aggressive physically threatening boy or a manipulative scheming “mean girl” but sometimes teenagers bully others to fit in with a clique, even if it means going against their better judgment. These students are more concerned with fitting in and being accepted than they are worried about the consequences of bullying. Other times people will bully because they are simply going along with the group. Fear of not being accepted or fear of becoming the next target leads to bullying in groups.
Types of Bullying in School
This is the most obvious form of bullying. It occurs when kids use physical actions to gain power and control over their targets. Physical bullies tend to be bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than their peers. Examples of physical bullying include kicking, hitting, punching, slapping, shoving, and other physical attacks.
Unlike other forms of bullying, physical bullying is the easiest to identify. As a result, it is most likely what people think of when they think of bullying. Additionally, it has historically received more attention from schools than other more subtle forms of bullying.
2. Verbal Bullying
Perpetrators of verbal bullying use words, statements, and name-calling to gain power and control over a target. Typically, verbal bullies will use relentless insults to belittle, demean, and hurt another person. They might choose their targets based on the way they look, act, or behave. For example they might pick on someone who is perceived as being, in some way, different.
Verbal bullying is often very difficult to identify because attacks almost always occur when adults aren’t around. As a result, it is often one person’s word against another person’s word. Adults can feel that things said by one teen to another don’t impact the other person significantly. As a result, a victim of bullying can be told to “just ignore it”. However, research has shown that verbal bullying and name-calling has serious consequences and can leave deep emotional scars. There are few adults who are unable to recall a nickname they were given when young, even if well meant.
3. Relational Aggression
This is another insidious type of bullying that often goes unnoticed by parents and teachers. Sometimes referred to as emotional bullying, relational aggression is a type of social manipulation where students try to hurt their peers or sabotage their social standing.
This can include ostracising others from a group, spreading rumours, manipulating situations, and breaking confidences.In general, girls tend to use relational aggression more than boys. Someone on the receiving end of relational aggression is likely to be teased, insulted, ignored, excluded and intimidated. It’s especially common between the ages of 13 and 16 but can also occur between adults in the workplace.
When someone uses the Internet or mobile phone to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person, this is called cyberbullying. Examples of cyberbullying include posting hurtful images, making online threats, and sending hurtful emails or texts. This has become a massive issue among young people today and means that bullies can harass their targets with much less risk of being caught.
Cyberbullies often say things that they do not have the courage to say face-to-face. Technology makes them feel anonymous, insulated and detached from the situation. Consequently, online bullying is often mean and cruel.
To the targets of cyberbullying, it feels invasive and never-ending. Bullies can get to them anytime and anywhere, often in the safety of their own home. As a result, the negative consequences of cyberbullying are significant.
5. Sexual Bullying
Sexual bullying has also unfortunately become more and more common in recent years. It consists of repeated, harmful, and humiliating actions that target a person sexually, such as crude comments about a person’s appearance, attractiveness, sexual development, or sexual activity. In extreme cases, sexual bullying opens the door to sexual assault.
Girls are often the targets of sexual bullying both by boys and by other girls. Boys might touch them inappropriately, make crude comments about their bodies, or proposition them. Girls might call other girls names like “slut” or make insulting comments about their appearance or bodies.
Sexting is extremely prevalent among teens and also can lead to sexual bullying. For instance, a girl may send a photo of herself to a boyfriend. When they break up, he shares that photo with all his contacts and the girl can then become the target of sexual bullying – some boys may even see this as an open invitation to proposition her or sexually assault her.
6. Prejudicial Bullying
Prejudicial bullying is based on prejudice people have toward people of different races, religions, or sexual orientation. This type of bullying can encompass all the other types of bullying in school including cyberbullying, verbal bullying, relational bullying, physical bullying, and sometimes even sexual bullying.
When prejudicial bullying occurs, people are targeting others who are different from them and singling them out. Oftentimes, this type of bullying is severe and can open the door to hate crimes. Any time a child or teen is bullied for his sexual orientation, race, or religion, it should be reported.
Need some advice and support?
If you or your child or teen are struggling with any of the issues raised in this article, or indeed any other emotional issues or life challenges and would like to talk things over in complete confidentiality, call Alison Winfield, Mindfully Well Counselling Cork on 087 9934541.