Bullying is when someone chooses to mistreat another individual and strip them of their dignity. Though that is the general way to describe bullying, there are many ways bullying can be done. It is important to know what types of bullying there are and how to help the target.
The first kind of bullying is abuse. Abuse is defined as mistreating someone violently or cruelty – typically on a repeated occasion. Most often, people assume abuse is physical, however, we see that people can be abused physically, but also emotionally, sexually, mentally, and so on. An example of this could be a student who is constantly told they’re ugly or “not good enough” by a fellow classmate.
Another type of bullying that is most popular in team or club settings is called hazing. Hazing is when a large group or individual pressures someone to do something humiliating, and potentially dangerous, in order to become “part of” or “prove loyalty” to a group. An example of this would be a varsity sports team telling new freshmen player that they must drink alcohol in order to fit in on the team. There are many other ways this can happen, but almost all acts end in embarrassment, pain, and/or trouble.
Yet another form of bullying, and perhaps the most common form of bullying, is cyberbullying. This is when people use social media and digital programs to spread rumors, circulate photos, or catfish a target. This allows for bullies to reach a wider scale of people or hurt people in secret. An example of this type of bullying would be an ex-girlfriend making a groupchat where she chooses to spread lies about her boyfriend to “get back at him.” This has the potential to deeply hurt the ex-boyfriend and even ruin his reputation.
With the unfortunate amount of different kinds of bullying, comes different ways in which to help and stand up for targets. One way that we can help is by simply being an upstander. Instead of standing by and watching someone be hazed or bullied, say something to make the bully stop. If this is not the safest option or you are not witnessing bullying first hand, tell a trusted adult immediately. However, if an adult is the one witnessing they bullying or is informed of bullying behavior – for example a teacher or a coach is informed of an athlete or student issue – they should report the incident immediately.
By being more informed and aware of the types of bullying and how to step in, we can be more confident in becoming an upstander. We need to have the courage to help the hurting – we may be the only ones who can.
Information learned on safesport.org. SafeSport educated.