Monica has taught college-level courses in Tourism, HR and Adult Education. She has a Master's in Education and is three years into a PhD.
Why We're Talking About Bullying
You may know many kids' movies that gave a humorous or nostalgic depiction of bullying—think of Phillips in The Sandlot or Scut Farkus in the A Christmas Story. Sadly, the truth is that bullying is a very serious and dangerous presence in schools, becoming so prevalent that we now refer to the ''bullying epidemic.'' It is estimated that anywhere from 13 to 18 million students are bullied in the United States every year, severely impacting education and safety. Tragically, increasing numbers of young people who find themselves the victims of bullying are turning to self-harm.
Definition of Bullying
Bullying is any unwanted, aggressive behavior, usually between school-aged children or teens. The behavior makes the target uncomfortable, especially as bullying is usually a repeated act. According to the National Education Association, the top reasons students are bullied are weight, gender, disability, and perceived sexual orientation. With more awareness of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, bullying based on sexual orientation has dramatically increased over the years.
A bully comes in two common forms. One type of bully is popular, has social power, and leads a social group. These bullies will bully to maintain popularity. The other typical bully has few friends, a low self-esteem, and may struggle with issues such as depression or anxiety. Peer pressure will encourage them to bully. Both types of bullies are easily frustrated or aggressive, have issues at home, problems with following rules, and they view violence in a positive way.
Types of Bullying
Three main categories of bullying are: direct bullying, indirect bullying, and cyberbullying.
Direct bullying is obvious physical bullying or a combination of physical and verbal bullying. An example of this type of bullying might be hitting or kicking a victim while calling the victim names in front of other students. Direct bullying is seen more among boys.
Indirect bullying is more discreet and primarily verbal. An example of this type of bullying might be creating hurtful rumors about a victim and spreading them throughout the student body. Girls are more likely to bully indirectly.
Cyberbullying takes place online and through a device such as a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. Cyberbullying is usually coupled with other forms of bullying and is harder to detect or monitor. It can be mean or derogatory texts, emails, or comments on social networking sites. Cyberbullying goes beyond words; it can be embarrassing photos or videos. Once on the Internet, these words and images can be swiftly spread to reach hundreds of people (even family members and friends), making the repercussions and emotional trauma for the victim even more intense and damaging.
Looking at social networking more specifically, some bullies will use their own profile to bully someone or they may use a fake profile. That is one of the reasons why it's hard to detect. Even professional law enforcement can have difficulty investigating cyberbullying and protecting victims, especially if there are no physical threats. Only recently did state legislatures begin to address cyberbullying as a crime, and these laws are still evolving.
Within the three categories of bullying, three different subcategories of bullying actions can occur: physical bullying, verbal bullying, and relationship bullying. These bullying actions can occur in one or all three of the main categories.
- Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking or threats of physical violence.
- Verbal bullying is name calling, derogatory comments, teasing, insulting, and spreading rumors.
- Relationship bullying is when a bully takes advantage of a relationship with someone. The bully may force the victim to do things he or she doesn't want to do, in addition to inflicting physical and verbal bullying on the victim.
Detecting and Coping with Bullying
How can you recognize a victim? One of the ways to detect bullying is to recognize the signs and understand a bullied student's coping strategies. If someone is being bullied, he or she may have physical signs, such as unexplainable injuries. Personal items such as phones or clothing may disappear or be destroyed. You may notice a change in eating habits, a decline in grades, or a sudden switch in friends. A bullied person will also start to avoid social situations and can become self-destructive.
How can you help a victim? The first step to helping someone cope with bullying is to have a discussion about it. Bullying can be embarrassing for victims; they may be uncomfortable speaking about it. Even if they are unwilling to chat, there are still ways to help. When a student is bullied, his or her self-confidence is lowered. If the student isn't ready to discuss the bullying, you can at least help the victim block the bully on social networking sites and from phone numbers and email accounts. You can also help the victim find a support group for students who are bullied, whether in person or online.
Bullying is any form of unwanted or aggressive behavior. There are typically two types of bullies: a student with social power or a student in need for peer acceptance. Bullying occurs in the form of direct or indirect behavior or cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is usually in addition to direct or indirect acts. A victim of bullying may be too embarrassed or uncomfortable to initiate a conversation about his or her experiences. You can help by initiating conversation, helping a victim block a bully on social networking sites, and contacting a support group.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack