Types of Bullying and How to Spot Them:
These days, bullying is no longer limited to face-to-face interactions. When I was in schools teaching the DARE Program “bullying” was the subject I was most passionate about because I could see the pain that bullying caused to so many students and how they were affected from this terrible trend.
Just a few years ago there were a couple of different ways that we saw bullying occurring with our children, physical and emotional. However, with the explosion of social media, emailing, and texting the opportunity for bullying has expanded and become sneakier than ever. In order to better help your child or teen handle this new age of bullying, you need to know the different types and what they look like.
This is what many people envision when they hear the word bullying: a child or teen being physically attacked in some way. Some examples include punching, kicking, shoving, pinching, and other such attacks.
This type is often the easiest to identify if witnessed in the act. However, many bullies find ways to harass their victims in secret which is compounded by the fact that the victim is too frightened or too embarrassed to come forward, so keep this in mind.
Verbal bullies use abusive words, statements, and name-calling to gain power and control over their victim. They will use insults to belittle, demean, and hurt their victim. This type of bullying often occurs when adults aren’t around, so it can be very hard to spot.
Cyberbullying takes place over the internet or smartphone. In this case, the bully is using technology to embarrass, threaten, harass, or target another child or teen.
This bullying might take the form of threatening emails or texts, or embarrassing or demeaning photos posted about another child or teen. Because of this form of bullying, it’s especially important that parents become technologically savvy and able to discuss with their kids the dangers of being online and what to do about cyberbullying.
Bias bullying is often focused on prejudices tweens and teens have toward others of a different race, religion, or sexual orientation. While bias bullying can take the form of cyberbullying, verbal bullying, and physical bullying, the root of it is bias! This type of bullying tends to be more severe and can open the door to hate crimes, so it’s important to report it immediately if you know it’s happening.
If your child or teen is a victim of bullying, there is help. Unfortunately, no matter what type of bullying is occurring, if it’s happening to your child or teen, it’s no joke. If you have discovered that your child or teen is a victim of bullying, there are several resources for you and your child. Don’t sit in silence and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
As a parent, you can help stop bullying by starting a dialogue and keeping it going. Encourage your child to talk about these things with a youth pastor, relative and parents. Remember, the most important thing you can do as a parent is listen and provide all the resources you can to help your teens with anything they might be dealing with.
-SSgt. Patrick Bedwell