Types of Teen Bullying and Prevention

When the word bullying is mentioned, perhaps an image comes to mind or a general idea of what bullying looks like. Perhaps you recall the classic bullying scene in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie punches a classmate who is emotionally abusive. Since that classic scene of the early 1980’s, bullying has become more and more of a problem and various types of bullying have been identified.


For instance, there is cyber bullying, gay bullying, verbal bullying, text bullying, and female bullying. Bullying continues to be a severe problem within schools across the United States. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, one out of every three students will experience bullying every year. A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationPsychiatry indicated that victims of teen bullying are at increased risk for emotional disorders in adulthood, and that bullies as well as victims of bullying are at the highest risk to think about and plan suicide. Furthermore, the relationship between bullying and mental illnesses were confirmed in a study done by Duke University last spring, revealing that effects of bullying are long lasting for both the victim and the bully.


This article will provide definitions of various types of teen bullying as well as the differences between bullying versus violence and bullying versus name-calling.


Bullying is the overt behavior of a teen to belittle a child, teen, or adult and to make that person feel inadequate. It can include harassment, physical harm, demeaning speech and efforts to ostracize that person. Bullying is an active behavior and is done with intention to harm another, whether physically or emotionally. The bully often expresses aggression because he or she feels jealous, insecure, out of control, or simply, not good enough. The target is the recipient of a bully’s aggression. Often, the target feels as though he or she deserves the harsh treatment, that it’s his or her fault, or feels powerless. Teaching him or her to take back control in order to stop the bullying can at times be effective.


Cyber Bullying happens when a teen or child is harassed, embarrassed, threatened, or tormented using digital technology. As the Internet becomes more and more popular as a means of communication, the web and social media are becoming a venue for bullying.  It often happens more than once and includes the use of texting or cellular phones to post images or text on the web. For instance, an image and demeaning messages might be posted on Facebook (social bullying), uploading embarrassing images, or spreading gossip or rumors through instant or text messaging. There are a number of ways to cause humiliation for another person on the way if someone had the intention to do so. (It should be noted that when adults are harassing children or teens, it is known as cyber harassment or cyber stalking and has different legal consequences.)


Text Bullying is similar to cyber bullying discussed above. It is the use of texting to harass another person. Text bullying has some unique distinctions from other types of bullying. For instance, it can happen 24 hours a day. Whereas previously, children and teens might have found refuge from bullying at home, this is no longer the case. Also, text bullying can sometimes be more severe because the bully is not able to see their victim.


Female Bullying is when a male bully is harassing a female victim. Although this has been going on for many years and is not new, with the rise of bullying in general, this form of bullying is noticed more and more.


Finally, there are differences between bullying versus violence and bullying versus name-calling. Violence is for the most part is decreasing in America, and it is against the law. However cases of teen bullying are on the rise, and in general, bullying is not illegal unless it crosses the line into assault. Name-calling is often how bullying begins but there is a fine line that is crossed to consider certain behavior as bullying. Often, children or teens might joke or make silly names for one another, sometimes even out of affection or friendship. However, when the intent behind the name-calling is to humiliate or cause harm, it could be considered bullying.


Bullying continues to be a severe concern in the United States. As a result, there are a number of national endeavors that are aimed to prevent and reduce all types of bullying in this country.





Bullying Statistics. Teenage Bullying. Retrieved on April 24, 2014 from: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/teenage-bullying.html