Bullying is not a new fad. It has been around as long as people have existed. The addition of computers and other electronic devices has just made it more widespread than any time in history. The first step in stopping any type of bullying is to recognize that it is occurring. Since there are different phases of bullying, one must first recognize what type of bullying is occurring at any given time.
First let us review the three most common types of bullying to make it easier to recognize when bullying of any type is present. The first type of bullying and most easiest to recognize is verbal bullying. This is when one person or group of people verbally makes threats against another person or group of people, whether they carry them out or not does not change the effects of the verbal bullying.
For example, talking about people and making fun of them in the presence of others is a form of verbal bullying. Another example would be a person making threats of harm to another person to get their way. There are many ways to verbally bully someone and the results can be just as harmful as physical bullying.
Physical bullying is easy to notice when we see it, but, it is not usually done in the open. Physical bullying is normally done in secret. For example, in a school environment this type of bullying goes on in places such as the restrooms, locker rooms, playgrounds, and cafeteria. There are many ways to prevent physical bullying if you work with kids.
One way is to monitor movement from place to place and never let groups of students go into places, such as the restrooms unsupervised. Adults need to also pay attention to kids moods and facial expressions after they have been isolated in groups in different places. Normally bullies operate in front of other kids to enhance or build up their reputations. This is one of the main reasons that no one usually tells on them. They may feel that if they tell and nothing happens, they could be next in line to get bullied.
A lot of the times bullies hit others in places that are not noticeable to the naked eye. They may hit in the arms and legs, or somewhere in the head where the hair will cover up the evidence. To notice verbal and physical bullying teachers, recreation leaders, youth workers, etc. must keep their eyes and ears open at all times.
The third type of bullying and probably the most harmful of all is psychological bullying. This type of bullying has lingering effects on the psyche of people. Psychological bullying is when the bully gets into the head of the victim and causes irrepreable harm. Once the bully has gotten into the victims head they do not even need to be present to continue doing damage.
One form of psychological bullying would be someone telling someone to bring them their lunch money tomorrow or they will beat them up. The victim then goes home where the bully is not even present and preoccupies their mind with the aforementioned threat. The next morning the psychological bullying is still occurring, because the victim thinks of ways to get the money that the bully has requested. The bully does not even have to beat up the person to continue a pattern of psychological bullying. Once the fear has been placed into the psyche of the victim the job is done. Psychological bullying is probably the hardest to detect due to it’s subtle attack.
With the current wave of technological advances psychological bullying has quickly spread to the Internet all throughout the many social networks that are available on request. People can now attack others without the victim even knowing they are being attacked until it is too late to do anything about it. Psychological bullying is mean spirited and very dangerous. It has been the catalyst behind suicides and school shootings. If bullying is to be curtailed in our school systems we must get a handle on psychological bullying and the many ways that it is being displayed.
The three types of bullying that have been mentioned will be explored deeper in the next article. If you work with kids in any capacity, please, pay closer attention to what they do and say. Most bullying happens in plain sight. If you think something does not seem right check it out, ask questions and follow your gut instinct.
Remember that the three types of bullying mentioned is a base to work from. They could occur separately or even all at the same time. The rule of thumb is, if it looks like bullying, it probably is! So recognize the bullies disguise. We will discuss some more examples in future articles, so be on the lookout.