Types of Bullying and Bullies6 min read

Parenting Oct 3, 2021
Different Types of Bullying and Bullies



Types of Bullying and Bullies6 min read

Did you know that there is more than one type of bullying? Bullying does not merely consist of calling someone names or bullying them physically. Every bully uses different tactics and ways to target his/her victims. Knowing and understanding the different types of bullying and the various kinds of bullies as a parent will equip you to help your child in any given situation if he ever encounters a bully.

What are the different types of Bullying?

There are mainly six different types of bullying that parents should watch for:

  • Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying consists of using words, statements and name-calling to harass the target. The perpetrators of verbal bullying will constantly use insults in order to demean, hurt and humiliate their targets. Teasing, belittling, intimidating and even homophobic and/or racist remarks are included in verbal bullying. Verbal bullies usually prey on kids based on the way they look or behave. Sadly, children with special needs are usually common victims of verbal bullying. Since verbal bullying usually takes place in the absence of adults, it is difficult to identify it. Although verbal bullying can start off quite harmless if it continues and escalates this type of bullying is seen to have grave implications on the victim. Telling a child to simply “ignore” someone who is verbally bullying them is not the solution at all. 

  • Physical Bullying

Physical bullying is probably the most common type of bullying seen and the easiest to identify. It consists of using physical force and actions to gain control and show power over other weaker kids. Bullies who physically bully others tend to be physically stronger, bigger as well as more aggressive than their peers. Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, pushing, pinching, slapping, punching, shoving, and other physical attacks. Physical bullying is actually the easiest form of bullying and has not only short-term but also long-term effects.

  • Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is probably the newest form of bullying that has emerged with the progress and growth of the internet and technology. Cyberbullies use technology in order to harass, embarrass, threaten, humiliate and target their victims. Cyberbullying can include hurtful messages, mean comments, online threats and so on. In today’s day and age, cyberbullying is a serious and growing issue especially among young people. It is also a much easier form of bullying as the perpetrator can hide behind a screen and inflict serious mental, emotional, psychological, academic and even physical harm on their victim even though they are in the safety of their homes. While other forms of bullying could stop after a certain point (after school ended), cyberbullying can go on if not reported and dealt with.

  • Prejudicial Bullying

Prejudicial bullying is when teens and youngsters have certain prejudices towards certain communities, religions, or races. Prejudicial bullying can comprise all other forms of bullying. Kids will single out individuals who are different from them, and then proceed to target and bully them. Prejudicial bullying can be very severe and dangerous and can even lead to hate crimes.

  • Sexual Bullying

Sexual bullying is when perpetrators repeatedly target an individual sexually by making crude comments, sexual name-calling, unconsented touching, vulgar gestures, pornographic material and so on. Such bullies could target their victim’s sexual development, sexual activity, appearance or attractiveness. Extreme cases of sexual bullying could lead to sexual assault. This includes inappropriate touching, crude comments, hurling insults and slut-shaming.

  • Social Bullying/Relational Aggression

Social bullying is also sometimes called covert bullying. It is much harder to recognize and can often take place behind the victim’s back. Social bullying basically focuses on ruining a person’s reputation in the social/public sphere and causing them humiliation. It can include spreading rumors, lying, mimicking, playing nasty jokes, menacing looks, encouraging others to socially exclude the victim, and so on.

Also called relational aggression or emotional bullying, this form of bullying is a kind of social manipulation. The perpetrators want to increase their own social standing by trying to sabotage their victim’s social standing.

What are the different types of Bullies?

Now that you know the different forms of bullying, let us also inform you about the different types of bullies. Every bully has their own personality, traits and ways of bullying. While some bullies may fit under various categories, others may fall under a completely unique category.

  • Popular Bullies

Popular bullies are typically very confident, condescending and have big egos. They may have a lot of followers and thrive on the power and control they possess over their victims. These kinds of bullies are very commonly portrayed in movies where they are seen to “rule” the school. Their egos may stem from their upbringing, socioeconomic status, size and/or popularity. These kids love the attention, love and fear they draw from their peers. Boys may physically intimidate their victims while girls may ostracize their victims through rumors and mean comments.

  • Bully-Victims

As the name suggests, bully victims are bullies who rise up as a result of being bullied themselves. They will usually bully those who are weaker than them in order to regain a sense of control and power in their lives. They can be quite hostile in nature which may lead to them being unpopular. Bully victims can also come from families with domestic violence or sibling bullying.

  • Serial Bullies

Serial bullies are extremely collected and calculated in their approach to bullying their victims. Adults may never really gauge what these bullies are capable of because they are charismatic and appear very charming and sweet to any authority figure. However, such bullies are capable of inflicting serious emotional harm on their victims over a period of time. They are usually fake friends and skilled liars and manipulators. They can make themselves look super innocent by twisting and turning the facts and realities of situations in their favor. Because of how skilled and sly these bullies are, their victims are often scared to speak up out of fear that no one would believe them.

  • Group Bullies

These bullies usually function in groups. Even though they bully their peers when they are together, they can be very different when they are not in the group. Such bullies usually have a leader in the group who they follow. Being in a group brings the freedom to do and say things without getting singled out or noticed and so, these bullies seek the shelter of their group to bully victims. Also, since everyone in their group is doing it they feel less responsible and may have the need to participate in order to not be left out.

  • Indifferent Bullies

These bullies are less common but they are arguably the most dangerous of all. They will typically feel no empathy of any sort for their victims. Therefore, they can be really cold, detached, and even heartless when they bully their peers. They will bully for the sake of it or for the mere pleasure of watching their victims suffer. They are not necessarily deterred or scared of authority figures or any disciplinary actions. However, indifferent bullies may have deeper rooted psychological issues that may need to be addressed by a professional.

Now that you know the various forms of bullying as well as the different kinds of bullies, we hope that you will be able to help your child more effectively.


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