The Four Main Types of Bullying

Types of bullying

Bullying can happen in many different circumstances and can take on many different formats. However, experts usually divide bullying into four major sub-groups; verbal, physical, social and cyber bullying. Any one of these subgroups can occur on their own but bullies can also combine multiple types of bullying together. If you think that you may be experiencing one of these types of bullying then you should talk to someone that you trust.

Verbal Bullying. Verbal bullying is a type of bullying where the perpetrator relies mainly on words to try to hurt their victim. In previous times, children may have been taught the mantra “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”, however this mantra is now considered to be counterproductive. Verbal bullying can have a serious effect on the mental health of victims, and may actually have more of a lasting effect than physical bullying. Verbal bullying serves to lower self-esteem and undermine the confidence of the victim.

Types of verbal bullying include; name-calling, routine criticism, teasing, hurtful, comments and verbal threats. Verbal bullying does not always have to be spoken out loud; it can also take the form of hurtful notes and similar things that are passed to the victim.

Physical Bullying. Physical bullying is the name given to any act where the perpetrator uses their physicality to try to hurt or irritate the victim. Physical acts can range from seemingly minor actions, such as flicking items at someone repeatedly, up to actions which put the victim’s life at risk. It is worth noting that minor physical actions can still have a severe effect on the mental health of the person who is being targeted.

Other types of physical bullying include; hitting, pushing, tripping and throwing objects at the victim. In addition to physical threats and actions against the victim, the perpetrators of the bullying may also seek to use their physicality to damage personal items that belong to the victim. For example, they might steal the victim’s school bag or rip up a book which belongs to their target.

Social Bullying. Social bullying is a type of bullying where the perpetrators try to isolate their victim from wider social networks. To do this, they damage that person’s relationships or reputation. By ostracising a person from a specific group, the perpetrator is reducing the opportunity for their victim to seek support. In some cases, the bully may appear to be friendly when they are communicating directly with their victim, but they could be manipulating other people to act against that person.

Social bullying can include; ostracizing a person from an existing social group, spreading rumours about a person, sharing secrets that were told in confidence, giving a person “the silent treatment”, and deliberately embarrassing someone in public.

Cyber Bullying. Cyber bullying is a relatively new form of bullying which is carried out using modern forms of communication, such as the internet or mobile phones. These types of technology make it much harder for victims to get away from their tormentors. Victims may feel like they cannot stop using social media or their mobile phone, because these things are now considered to be very important forms of communication. Cyber bullying also allows greater anonymity for the perpetrators. It is possible for cyber bullies to target people who are thousands of miles away and who they may never have met in real life.

Examples of cyber bullying include; prank phone calls and texts, abusive messages on social media, fake social media accounts being made about the victim, catfishing, hacking and computer virus attacks.