• There are different types of bullying, including verbal, physical, cyber, social, and sexual.
  • Verbal bullying can be just as harmful as physical bullying and involves hurtful words and insults.
  • Physical bullying involves physical aggression and violence, such as hitting, pushing, or kicking.
  • Cyber bullying takes place online and can involve harassment, threats, and spreading rumors.
  • Social bullying involves exclusion and rumors, and can be just as damaging as other forms of bullying.

Bullying is a pervasive issue that affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds. For IEP students, it’s even more pervasive than the general population.

According to a study from the University of Nebraska, nearly 2/3 of disabled students report being bullied at some point in their educational career.

Does it matter what kind of bullying happens, if it happens? That depends. Of course as parents and advocates we just want it to stop.

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But, knowledge is power. And knowing the five types of bullying, and bringing them to the attention of your school, may strengthen your argument if you are getting nowhere with them.

Bullying can take many forms, including verbal, physical, cyber, social, and sexual bullying. Each type has its own unique characteristics and effects on the victim. By understanding these different types, we can better recognize and respond to instances of bullying in our communities.

Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying involves the use of words to harm, intimidate, or belittle others. This type of bullying can take various forms, such as name-calling, insults, teasing, or spreading rumors. Verbal bullying can occur in person or through digital platforms, making it difficult for victims to escape the harassment.

The effects of verbal bullying can be devastating. Victims may experience low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. The constant barrage of hurtful words can erode a person’s sense of self-worth and make them feel isolated and alone. It is important for individuals to recognize the signs of verbal bullying and intervene to support the victim.

Verbal bullying towards disabled students in schools can take various forms, including:

  1. Mocking or Mimicking: Peers may imitate the way a disabled student speaks or moves in a derogatory manner, intending to ridicule or humiliate them.
  2. Name-Calling: Disabled students might be subjected to derogatory names or labels related to their disability, such as “cripple,” “r word,” or other offensive terms.
  3. Exclusion and Isolation: Bullies may deliberately exclude disabled students from social activities or conversations, making them feel unwelcome or isolated within the school community.
  4. Making Hurtful Comments or Jokes: Students might make hurtful comments or jokes about a disabled student’s appearance, abilities, or intelligence, targeting their vulnerabilities and causing emotional distress.

Physical Bullying

Physical bullying involves the use of physical force or aggression to harm others. This can include hitting, kicking, pushing, or any other form of physical violence. Physical bullying often occurs in schools or other settings where there is a power imbalance between the bully and the victim.

The effects of physical bullying can be both immediate and long-lasting. Victims may suffer from physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones. They may also experience emotional trauma, leading to anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is crucial for bystanders to intervene when they witness physical bullying and for schools and communities to implement policies that promote a safe and inclusive environment.

Physical bullying directed at disabled students in schools can manifest in several ways:

  1. Pushing, Shoving, or Tripping: Bullies may physically assault disabled students by pushing, shoving, or tripping them in corridors, classrooms, or other areas of the school.
  2. Blocking Access: Bullies might block or impede the path of disabled students, preventing them from accessing certain areas of the school or facilities, such as restrooms, classrooms, or playgrounds.
  3. Intentional Injury: In extreme cases, bullies may intentionally cause physical harm to disabled students by hitting, punching, kicking, or otherwise physically assaulting them.
  4. Property Damage: Bullies may target the belongings or assistive devices of disabled students, damaging or destroying items such as wheelchairs, crutches, hearing aids, or glasses.
  5. Forced Participation in Harmful Activities: Bullies may coerce or force disabled students to participate in activities that pose a risk to their safety or well-being, such as dangerous dares or physical challenges.

Cyber Bullying: Navigating the World of Online Harassment

Number of reported cyber bullying cases37% increase from 2016 to 2019
Age group most affected by cyber bullying12-18 years old
Percentage of cyber bullying incidents that occur on social media70%
Impact of cyber bullying on mental healthIncreased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
Percentage of cyber bullying victims who do not report the incident90%

Cyber bullying is a form of bullying that takes place online or through digital communication channels. It involves the use of technology, such as social media platforms, text messages, or emails, to harass, intimidate, or humiliate others. Cyber bullying can be particularly harmful because it can reach a wide audience and can be difficult to escape.

Examples of cyber bullying include sending threatening messages, spreading rumors online, or sharing embarrassing photos or videos without consent. The effects of cyber bullying can be severe, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation among victims.

It is important for individuals to be aware of the signs of cyber bullying and to report any instances they witness or experience.

Cyberbullying against disabled students can occur through various online platforms and communication channels. Here are some examples:

  1. Harassment via Social Media: Disabled students may be targeted with hurtful or derogatory comments, messages, or posts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. This harassment can be persistent and damaging to the student’s self-esteem and mental well-being.
  2. Online Mockery or Ridicule: Bullies may create or share memes, images, or videos that mock or ridicule disabled students, spreading them across social media or other online platforms to humiliate or embarrass them.
  3. Impersonation or Fake Profiles: Bullies might create fake profiles impersonating a disabled student, using them to spread false information, post inappropriate content, or engage in harmful interactions with others, tarnishing the student’s online reputation.
  4. Exclusion from Online Groups or Chats: Disabled students may be deliberately excluded or marginalized from online group chats, forums, or gaming communities, further isolating them from their peers and denying them opportunities for social interaction.
  5. Threats and Intimidation: Bullies may use online platforms to send threatening or intimidating messages to disabled students, instilling fear and anxiety in them, and potentially causing long-term psychological harm.

Social Bullying

Understanding the Dynamics of Exclusion and Rumors

Social bullying, also known as relational bullying, involves manipulating social relationships to harm others. This type of bullying often involves exclusion, spreading rumors, or manipulating social dynamics to isolate or humiliate the victim.

Social bullying can occur in schools, workplaces, or other social settings where there is a group dynamic.

Examples of social bullying include intentionally excluding someone from a social group, spreading false rumors about someone, or manipulating friendships to turn others against the victim. The effects of social bullying can be profound, leading to feelings of loneliness, depression, and low self-esteem.

It is important for individuals to recognize the signs of social bullying and to foster inclusive and supportive environments.

Social bullying, also known as relational bullying, involves manipulating social relationships to harm or exclude others. Here are examples of social bullying directed at disabled students:

  1. Social Exclusion: Peers may purposefully exclude disabled students from social activities, group gatherings, or events, leaving them isolated and marginalized within the school community.
  2. Friendship Manipulation: Bullies may manipulate social dynamics by coercing others to avoid befriending or associating with a disabled student, using peer pressure to maintain their exclusion and isolation.
  3. Spreading Rumors or Gossip: Peers might spread rumors or gossip about a disabled student, often with the intention of damaging their reputation or social standing within the school.
  4. Public Humiliation: Bullies may publicly embarrass or humiliate disabled students in front of their peers, such as by making hurtful comments, mocking their disability, or ridiculing their behaviors or abilities.
  5. Cyber-Social Exclusion: In addition to online harassment, social bullying can extend to social media platforms where bullies may deliberately exclude disabled students from group chats, online communities, or social events, further isolating them from their peers.

Sexual Bullying

Recognizing the Impact of Sexual Harassment and Assault

Sexual bullying involves using sexual behavior or language to intimidate, humiliate, or harm others. This type of bullying can take various forms, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, or spreading explicit content without consent. Sexual bullying can occur in schools, workplaces, or other settings where there is a power imbalance between the bully and the victim.

Examples of sexual bullying include making unwanted sexual comments or advances, sharing explicit photos or videos without consent, or engaging in non-consensual sexual acts. The effects of sexual bullying can be devastating, leading to trauma, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is crucial for individuals to recognize the signs of sexual bullying and to support victims in seeking help and justice.

Sexual bullying is a form of harassment or intimidation that is sexual in nature. When directed at disabled students, it can exacerbate feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness. Here are examples of sexual bullying aimed at disabled students:

  1. Unwanted Sexual Comments or Advances: Peers may make inappropriate sexual comments, gestures, or advances towards disabled students, exploiting their vulnerabilities and potentially causing emotional distress.
  2. Sexual Harassment: Disabled students may experience sexual harassment, including unwelcome physical contact, lewd gestures, or sexually explicit remarks, which can create a hostile or intimidating school environment.
  3. Sexual Rumors or Gossip: Bullies might spread false or humiliating rumors about a disabled student’s sexual behavior or experiences, contributing to social stigma, and undermining their reputation and self-esteem.
  4. Sexual Coercion or Exploitation: Bullies may coerce or manipulate disabled students into engaging in sexual activities or behaviors against their will, taking advantage of their perceived vulnerability or inability to defend themselves.
  5. Online Sexual Harassment or Exploitation: Sexual bullying can also occur through online platforms, where disabled students may be subjected to explicit messages, images, or videos, or coerced into sharing sensitive or compromising content.

Signs and Symptoms of Bullying: How to Spot the Different Types

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of bullying is essential in order to intervene and provide support to victims. There are several physical, emotional, and behavioral signs that may indicate that someone is being bullied.

Physical signs of bullying can include unexplained injuries, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, frequent headaches or stomachaches, or a decline in academic performance. Emotional signs may include increased anxiety or depression, withdrawal from social activities, low self-esteem, or changes in mood. Behavioral signs can include avoidance of certain places or people, changes in social relationships, or engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

It is important for parents, teachers, and other individuals in a position of authority to be vigilant and proactive in identifying these signs and taking appropriate action to address bullying.

Long-Term Effects of Bullying

Bullying can have long-lasting effects on the mental health, physical health, and social well-being of victims. The consequences of bullying can extend far beyond the immediate harm caused by the bullying itself.

The most common issue that I see is school refusal. Duh, it’s common sense. Kids will go to school where they feel safe and supported. If they don’t, they won’t.

If your child is exhibiting school refusal, bullying would be one of the first things I’d ask them about.

Mentally, victims of bullying may experience increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. They may also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the trauma they have experienced.

Physically, victims may suffer from chronic pain, sleep disturbances, or other health issues related to the stress and anxiety caused by bullying. Socially, victims may struggle to form and maintain healthy relationships, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

It is important for individuals and communities to recognize the long-term effects of bullying and to provide support and resources to victims in order to mitigate these consequences.

How to Address Bullying

Preventing and addressing bullying requires a multi-faceted approach that involves individuals, schools, communities, and society as a whole. There are several strategies that can be implemented to prevent bullying from occurring and to intervene when it does happen.

I’m in the camp who believes the statement “We take bullying very seriously at this school” is one of the most hollow phrases out there in education.

I’ve witnessed countless families report it and get nowhere.

Or, they expect the victim to change their behavior.

I have another whole article addressing Bullying Disabled Children including how to write a Gebser letter.

Prevention strategies include promoting empathy and kindness, fostering inclusive environments, implementing anti-bullying policies in schools and workplaces, and educating individuals about the different types of bullying and their effects. Intervention strategies include providing support to victims, holding bullies accountable for their actions, and providing resources for counseling and therapy.

It is important for individuals to take an active role in preventing and addressing bullying by speaking up when they witness bullying, supporting victims, and advocating for change in their communities.

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