"Bullying" is usually used to describe aggressive behaviors for children and teenagers, but bullying can also describe harassment that takes place in college or the workplace.
Bullying consists of three components:
- Aggressive, unwanted, negative behavior
- Behavior repeated over time
- Involves an imbalance of power or strength
This aggressive, unwanted behavior isn’t always physical. Bullying can take the form of physical, emotional, or digital abuse. In fact, cyberbullying is becoming more and more common.
Cyberbullying is harassment that takes place via electronic methods, like email, text messages, photos, or IM. It can take place on a blog or social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram, and many others. Cyberbullying can be much more hurtful than typical bullying for several reasons. First, a person can be more vicious because there is a certain amount of anonymity online that can never be had in person. Second, one single incident can be replayed and shared over and over again, creating an ongoing cycle that repeats and grows. Third, others can easily jump on the bandwagon and continue the harassment. Fourth, unlike bullying that takes place in school and ends at a certain time of the day, cyberbullying can happen anywhere and at any time. There is no safe place when being bullied online.
Unfortunately, internet harassment is common during middle school and high school. Twenty percent of youth who use social media say that peers who use social media are mostly unkind to others. 88% of youth said they have seen peers being mean or cruel on social media. It is important for parents to be aware of what’s going on in their children’s digital lives to create a safe place for them.
Although it’s impossible to identify why people bully one another, there are 5 primary types of cyberbullying “profiles.”
The Vengeful Angel:
These individuals do not view themselves as a bully. Instead, they see their harassing behaviors as a way to right previous wrongs. The individual that they are harassing may have disrespected them or one of their friends. In bullying, they are trying to get even with that person.
These bullies are similar to offline bullies. Power hungry bullies want to show their authority. They want to show others that they are strong enough to make people do what they want. They often attempt to control others through fear.
Revenge of the Nerds:
These bullies often use their technical skills to target their victims one-on-one. They tend to keep their bullying behaviors a secret from their friends. They typically do not realize how serious their actions are. They may also convince another person to engage in the bullying behaviors for them.
The Mean Girls:
This type of bullying is often done in a group. It is often motivated by entertainment or boredom. If the bully does not get a response out of it, the bullying usually dies down quickly.
“Because I Can”:
This type of bully does not think that they are bullying. They are genuinely surprised when they are accused of cyberbullying. For example, they may play games online and are just pretending to be tough online without thinking about the potential consequences. Or they may harass one of their friends as a joke, and the friend does not realize that they are kidding or who the message was from.
If you want to learn more about bullying, cyberbullying, stalking, harassment, and other topics like these, learn more about 3rd Millennium Classroom's online course, Conflict-Wise, where we unpack the motivations behind behaviors like these and many others.