In order to cut back on bullying, it’s important to understand how to recognize bullying scenarios. Bullying has become a real problem in the world today, and with the addition of the Internet, there are many more places and scenarios where people can suffer at the hands of bullies. The good news is that we can all make a difference by learning how to see bullying scenarios for what they are and teaching ourselves, children, and other adults how to handle different forms of bullying.
The Causes and Effects of Bullying
People who bully others may have different reasons for their actions. In some cases, a person who bullies others is just looking for attention, even if the kind of attention they receive is fear, anger, or sadness. Most bullies are looking for some sort of power to hold over others because it gives them a sense of importance. Some people who bully others do not realize that the things they do or say to others go beyond mere teasing and are actually hurtful. Others may actually be aware that they are hurting others but they genuinely do not care. Hurting others is just one way that a bully tries to gain power and distracts the world from their own insecurities and anxiety.
Bullying, especially that which takes place during the childhood years, can have a very profound and long lasting impact on a person’s quality of life and emotional and social development. Self esteem issues and social anxiety are some of the most common effects of bullying. Someone who is bullied often may develop social awkwardness and feel inept at managing social situations. Victims of bullying are also more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
Non-Physical Bullying Scenarios
Bullying doesn’t always have to be directed at one specific individual and it isn’t always as obvious as you might think. Take for example the following indirect bullying scenario:
The “popular kids” at school won’t allow non-clique members to sit at their lunch table. At first glance this may not seem like a bullying scenario, but in reality these kids are bullying by excluding others in a social environment. By refusing to let others join them, the popular kids are publicly rejecting and ignoring others.
In most other circumstances bullying is directed a one specific person. Take the following examples:
A couple of boys create a false e-mail account using the information of a fellow student. They send e-mails to other male students in the form of fraudulent love letters. They then print the e-mails and display them both on and off the school campus and proceed to verbally tease the student against whom they committed fraud. This type of action can be extremely embarrassing and traumatic for the student who is being bullied. His own friends and classmates may even take to excluding him from activities.
A female large-bodied female student is embarrassed to change into her gym outfit at school because the other girls tease her about being “fat” and call her names. They have even taken pictures of her with their cell phones and sent them to several other schoolmates. Bullying to this degree can be humiliating and psychologically debilitating to a young girl and is often the basis behind disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
A girl precariously balances her food tray as she exits the lunch line. She moved to the area a few months ago and because she is very shy, she has not yet made any friends at school. As she tries to find her way to a seat, she realizes that most of the tables in the cafeteria are full. She shyly asks a group of cheerleaders if she can sit at their table, at which point one girl shoves her handbag into the only spare seat at the table and replies that there isn’t any room left.
Physical Bullying Scenarios:
Physical bullying can be just as emotionally traumatizing with the addition of the actual trauma to the body. The following bullying scenarios are ones that portray physical bullying:
A few of the school jocks are standing in a hallways joking when they spot a smaller classmate struggling to carry his school books. One of the jocks stick his foot out and deliberately trips the smaller boy and they all laugh and call the boy names, like “clumsy” and “dork.”
A boy has had trouble coping with things since his parents got divorced. Over the last few months he has neglected his school work, started wearing all-black clothing, and has gotten a few face piercings. A few of his schoolmates have become hostile towards him because of the sudden physical changes and his lack of social etiquette. The altercations have suddenly escalated as they have pushed him onto the ground, kicked him in the stomach, and locked him in the bathroom.
During lunch period a girl is making her way through the lunch line when a classmate approaches to ask her if they can cut in front of her place in line. The girl replies no, reasoning that it isn’t fair to the people behind her. Annoyed, her classmate shoves her forcefully and takes her place in the line.