Bullying affects one in five students between the ages of 12 and 18 in America, and it occurs in many different forms of bullying behavior.
The statistics on students who have been bullied are alarming. But there is one more statistic everyone needs to pay attention to, the percentage of students who bully others. According to reports, 30% of students between the age of 12 and 18 admit to being a bully to other students.
This means 30% of students in this age group are showing unwanted, aggressive behavior towards a peer. It also means they have likely repeated this behavior on multiple occasions. To be considered a bully, a student takes advantage of a perceived imbalance of power to hurt someone else.
Student bullies often use their power, physical strength, and popularity to control or harm others. They may even have a juicy piece of information as blackmail. Bullying happens when they:
- Make threats
- Spread rumors
- Exclude someone from a group
- Getting others to bully
- Physically or verbally attacking someone
Sadly, these happen more than once, with the same bully being mean to the same student.
Forms of Bullying to Look For
You are a good parent and finding out your kid is a bully can leave you feeling heartbroken, disgusted, and angry. It is these emotions that can motivate you to help your child change for the better.
The best way to start this process is for you to completely understand bullying and its different forms.
1. The Cyber-Bully
Cyber relates to online activities. This is true for cyber-bullying too, which began when social media sites gained popularity among students. Today, social media is out of control and many times the kids are smarter than the parents when it comes to hiding their online behaviors.
Cyber-bullying can include students posting negative statements on a peer’s social media page. The negative statements may be in response to someone posting a picture or simply updating their status. Bullies feel more powerful behind a screen. Because they are not face to face with their victim, they feel they are even more protected and free to bully.
Some take inappropriate pictures of their victim and post them online without permission. They create a situation where embarrassment is used as a bullying tool. The victim can be devastated. Some can even be considered sexual bullying.
2. Sexual Bullying
Sexual harassment absolutely takes places among peers in schools today. There are also multiple forms of bullying this way. It doesn’t matter whether someone:
- Touches a peer inappropriately
- Grabs them in private places
- Makes fun of their sexuality or maturity
Some bullies have taken pictures of peers while they were changing clothes in the locker room, shared this picture with everyone else, and found it humorous when the one they bullied is humiliated. Acts of bullying like this can lead victims to feel powerless, hopeless and even suicidal. Sexual bullying and cyber-bullying can lead to social bullying.
3. Social Bullying
Have you ever heard there was a party going on, but you weren’t invited? Or have you ever been called out in front of the rest of the class, creating a scene where everyone is laughing and pointing at you? If so, then you have been socially bullied.
It’s bad enough when one student bullies another. But when a bully encourages an entire group to join in on the bullying, that’s awful. Neglecting one person specifically, creating situations in which a person looks bad in front of a group, and any type of public humiliation is social bullying.
Students admit to skipping school, and even quitting school, due to behaviors like this.
4. Extortion Bullying
When you hear the word “extortion” you probably think about movies where people have been forced to do things, they don’t want to in hopes of avoiding a negative consequence. You may think gangsters and mobsters.
Now you can think students who bully also. This form of bullying is when a person threaten peers to do what he or she says or else. And the “or else” is bad, even physical violence. Some bullies make peers steal, cheat, or give them money to avoid the “or else”.
5. Verbal Bullying
Words have a great deal of power when you are a student. Bullies don’t often care if the words they speak are true or false, they just want to achieve their goal of hurting another person. Spreading rumors or calling names are both considered verbal bullying.
Bullies may verbally attack someone about their:
- Their family’s economic status
- Even simpler attacks like on a person’s grades, lunch choices, and athletic skills can be just as harmful.
6. Physical Bullying
There are also many forms of bullying physically. Some bullies like to push, shove or trip a peer. Some bullies like to knock books out of a student’s hands or pull their pants down in front of a group.
There are even more troubling types of physical bullying, however, like when a bully uses their strength to completely humiliate their victim. Punches, slaps, and kicks can be dangerous. It can lead to a bully creating a group of bullies to attack the victim.
Group beatings can cause serious damage, even death if the bullies are not able to stop the beating.
How to Help With Different Forms of Bullying
While all these forms of bullying are terrible, there is a positive side. Bullies can change with the right help. The first step in your process of change is to seek treatment for your child from a teen centered facility who specializes in bullying behavior.
The right treatment facility will offer peer support from others who were once bullies but changed. It will provide both individual and group counseling opportunities. It will include both mental health and physical assessments to make sure there is nothing else causing their behavior.
They will offer family counseling too. This will help you learn to support the positive changes happening with your child. The professionals you work with will guide through all stages of the process. Before you know it, your child will shine for the many positive qualities they have, including how well they treat others.i
Paradigm Austin is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.