Forms of Bullying

Kids bullyingIn the past, people considered physical aggressiveness as bullying. Being a form of violence, it was easy to distinguish. Every physical act that was meant to hurt someone else physically was violence and therefore an act of bullying. However, the modern definition includes additional forms of bullying, so that made many people think there is a lot more bullying today, when in fact, it was here all along, but it was much more acceptable.

For example, name calling and exclusion of people based on their gender, race or disability were very common parts of daily life 40 years ago. I remember myself being intimidated by name calling as a kid. I was bullied and a bully myself. I was made fun of constantly for my skin color or ethnic affiliation and I joined others in making fun of others for other reasons.

I do not think we have more bullying nowadays. I think the level of bullying is similar to what it was in the past, we just pay attention to it more now and are more willing to address it and create an accepting, tolerant and happy society.

People use different forms of bullying to threaten, intimidate and create emotional pain. Here is a list of behaviors that are considered bullying. As I read each one of them, I saw only one form that was new and was not there 40 years ago. Other than that, we had them all and in some respects even worse.

  1. Physical bullying – This behavior covers any act of a person (or group of people), which uses physical actions to hurt, humiliate and intimidate others.
    • Hitting
    • Pushing
    • Poking
    • Making someone trip intentionally
    • Sexual harassment or any physical touch without consent
    • Abusing someone else’s belongings by taking without permission, stealing, hiding or damaging them in any way
  2. sel-abusing pillsVerbal abuse – This behavior is most common form of bullying and has been around for many years. In fact, in the past, it was very acceptable that people in power (parents, nobles, employers) abused their children, subjects and employees in a verbal way and people accepted it as part of being a younger, of lower status or employed. I remember my mom telling me how abusive some of her bosses were and that she had to accept it if she wanted to keep her job. Any repeated of systematic verbal abuse is considered bullying.
    • Name calling
    • Insults
    • Negative remarks regarding sexual preferences, gender, age, race, ethnic background, religion, physical appearance, family status, economic status, skills, abilities or group affiliation
  3. Social bullying – This form of bullying abuses our desire to be accepted and part of a group in a negative way. Bullies who prefers this way of bullying turn the group against others, mainly because doing it directly and on their own is either too hard or not enough for them. The main idea is to humiliate the victim and make them powerless. Remember, it is a power game, in which bullies feel powerless for some reason and think they will gain power by making another feel inferior somehow.
    • Lying about someone (blaming them for a problem)
    • Spreading rumors
    • Gossiping
    • Revealing secrets
    • Making a fool of someone by playing a nasty joke
    • Mimicking
    • Excluding someone from a group or ostracizing them
  4. FacebookCyber bullying – This is the only modern form of bullying. We did not have it in the past simply because we did not have the required technology. 40 years ago, the only forms of communication were phones and faxes and it was too expensive to call someone or send them a fax just to make them feel bad. Cyber bullying uses technology to bully others verbally and/or socially. As technology develops and becomes readily available to all, including children and teens, it is very natural that bullies take replicate their abusive forms of communication from real life and in their digital communication.
    • Using phone/email/chat/social networking/SMS/text messages to make fun of people
    • Using phone/email/chat/social networking/SMS/text messages to threaten or intimidated someone
    • Using digital technology to spread rumors on someone
    • Using digital communication to insult someone
    • Using negative remarks through phone/email/chat/social networking/SMS/text messages
    • Revealing secrets without consent using digital media
    • Using phone/email/chat/social networking/SMS/text messages to gossip
    • Excluding someone from digital group interactions or blocking them from accessing information available to their peer group

As I said, other than cyber bullying, which is a new trend, all other forms of bullying have been very common for many years and have been regarded as part of life. I disagree with the statements that it is increasing. In my perception, it is improving because bullying is not as acceptable as it was in the past.

I believe the attention bullying receives today is very good for our society and is a positive part of our evolution. To question the way we have done things in the past and to find better ways is not easy and can be painful, but it makes us better people.

The next step of our evolution is to admit that parental bullying and teacher bullying are still part of our code of conduct and address them.

Happy parenting,

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  • Judge Tom

    After 23 years in juvenile court, I believe that teenagers often learn from the experiences of their peers, not just from being lectured by those in authority. Consequently, “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” was published in January, 2010.

    Endorsed by Dr. Phil on April 8, 2010 [“Bullied to Death” show], “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” presents real cases of teens in trouble over their online and cell phone activities. Civil & criminal sanctions have been imposed on teens over their emails, blogs, text and IM messages, Facebook entries and more. TCI is interactive and promotes education & awareness so that our youth will begin to “Think B4 U Click.”

    Thanks for looking at “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” on [publisher] or on [a free website for & about teens and the law].

    Regards, -Judge Tom

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  • Ronit Baras

    Hi Judge Tom,

    Thanks for the website. It has good material for teens and their parents.

    We cannot hold kids at home, they will be influenced highly by their peers- it is part of life.
    I hope we will find a way to make them understand why cyber bullying is not appropriate way to communicate without the need to scare them from punishment – yet, I do believe having strict rules regarding bullying in general could work really well on those who never get to be charged.

    Thanks for the website.

    Happy day

  • S Kennedy

    Hi Judge Tom,

    I am a confident, educated and ethical 39 year old female. From 25th May 2010 till 27th June 2011, I went through a humiliating and most confronting time in my career.

    As child born into a normal family, I was brought up to respect boundaries and not to judge anybody…unfortunately,25th May 2010- 27th June 2011, I was systematically bullied and belittled for being more educated than the supervisor at work, being belittled in front of Dr. David Martin from MCAM and then labelled a thief when the jealous employer could not find any credible reason for terminating my employment.

    My husband is very patient man but he needs to sleep at night- as a result of the trauma I went through, I am starting to do sleep walking while talking and hitting the palm of my hand onto my forehead…my husband is afraid I may harm myself as it is evident that I have been traumatized by this malicious and unrepentant former employer’s mission to destroy me.

    While my bully sleeps soundly and keeps giving bad comments about me…It just kills me that he is getting away with it all…

    There is no fairness…there is no stopping the bullies as they will all grow into this man that I worked for…

    Ask me, I am living the nightmare…

  • ronitbaras

    S. Kennedy, 

    Maybe it is a good idea to focus on re-building your life and let go of that workplace. 
    If this workplace is so bad, aren’t you happy you are not there? 


  • jude

    As someone who has been bullied most of her life because i have Cushing’ is so hard bullied as a child and being bullied as an adult in my last job; which was a religious medical is such a bad feeling and drains you of any self-esteem that you may have had.  Bullies are a threat to society on so many levels..harsher punishments should be applied and this should also include jail time..Let the bullies rot until they have thought about what they did to hurt a fellow human being or an animal.  This kind of punishment may end up being somewhat effective in eliminating bullying behaviour.

  • jude anne

    Sorry to hear this.  I was bullied out of my last job because of my disability.  It has been 2.5 yrs now and no one wants to hire me.  Bullying needs to stop even if it requires harsher punishments for the bullies.  Bullies never seem to be the ones punished and they go on and on bullying while everyone plays blame the victim, well, on the victim.

  • ronitbaras

    Hi Jude, 

    Being bullied is not easy when you are a kid and not when you are adults. It deprives you from self respect. 
    I think bullying needs to be addressed. personally, I am not sure jail is a solution. It only moves the reason to the side but people bully from fear. Every bully has a weakness and if we don’t sort out the weakness, it will never stop.  

  • ronitbaras

    there is no reason to apologise Jude. Being bullied is not easy. I hope you will find a new job with kind people and that one day you will thank your bullies for making you go and find a new job in a nice and kind place. 
    seeking punishment is a form of revenge and revenge is a hard feeling. 
    “An eye for an eye, will make the whole world blind” 

    Be strong! 
    It repels bullies. 


  • Rocky Llanera Gabitanan

    Good day! I am doing my thesis about FORMS of BULLYING and I used the article of this site.. may I know who is the author of this article and what is the primary source about the forms of bullying as stated. thanks.

  • ronitbaras

    Hi Rocky,

    The author name is: Ronit Baras ”
    I am an educator and specialize in Emotional Intelligence.
    I am a life coach and have been working in the field of education for over 28 years.
    I have gathered this information from my work.
    I hope it answers all your questions.
    It will be a good idea to share with other readers what exactly the focus on your thesis. I am sure others would love to know.

    Happy day

  • Rocky Llanera Gabitanan

    Good day Madame Ronit Baras,
    Thank you very much for the information you have been sent. Anyway, the focus of my thesis is the perceived forms of bullying by the school community. I would like to find out if there is a correlation between the perceived forms of bullying by the teachers, pupils and parents according to their knowledge, experienced and response.. I hope you will give me any articles or thesis study about the focus of my thesis. i will use your article in my related literature and  foreign studies.. thank you so much! God bles ..

  • ronitbaras

    Hi Rocky,

    I didn’t cover that on my information. Sorry.

    You can find lots of information here:

    There are many strategies in this site:

    Go to the toolkit. It is a great resource.
    You may find some of the information on the resource list.

    You are welcome!
    Be Happy!

  • Rocky Llanera Gabitanan

    Good day!
    Thank you so much for giving those link..
    God bless..