These aggressions can happen in any social situation and between any group of people including school, family, neighborhood, or online. In a classroom, between students, we can find many examples of bullying. Physical bullying is the easiest to identify. It includes hitting, hurting, or pushing someone but can also involve stealing, hiding, and damaging things or forcing kids into humiliating situations. A common misconception is that bullying is real only when physical. However, other forms of bullying can be deeply hurtful for kids. Verbal bullying is one of the most common types and typically comprises everything from nicknaming, mocking, or talking in a rude way to threatening, insulting, or making fun of someone. Verbal aggressions are often difficult to notice because they are likely to occur when adults are not around. Verbal bullying can be harmless at the beginning, but seriously affect kids emotionally in the long run. Other than this, it is the usual starting point of physical bullying. Another very common form of bullying among students is exclusion, where one student is purposefully left aside and excluded from group activities. Spreading rumors, intimidating, manipulating situations, and making sure that others do not speak to a kid are typical examples of exclusion. This very subtle form of bullying can remain unnoticed by parents and teachers for a long time but can have a great impact on children’s mental health.
Another growing issue among kids and teens is cyber-bullying. With the rise of technology usage, kids are now being exposed to a very dangerous kind of bullying – a bullying where kids can sometimes hide behind fake names and anonymity to send offensive texts or emails or post shameful images on social media. In this case, technology makes the bullies feel detached from their actions as well as immune to possible consequences. On the opposite, cyber-bullying can be particularly pervading for the target as kids are constantly connected to the internet and can be reached anytime and anywhere. The best way to help students understand bullying is to explain to them the different types there are – some of them might even be doing some of the bullying actions without understanding that it is hurting other people.
It is also important to consider the role that the group may have in participating in the bullying actions. For example, other kids may actively support the bully by laughing or mocking. However, bullying can also take place in the presence of passive spectators who are probably afraid of speaking out. Unfortunately, this can give the impression that the bully is supported by the group. The best way to help students understand bullying is to explain to them the different types there are – some of them might even be doing some of the bullying actions without understanding that it is hurting other people.