In Bullying Definitions, Bullying Facts

Indirect Bullying

Indirect Bullying

For many the thought of bullying conjures images of one child hitting another. However, this is direct bullying and it is not the only way that bullying can occur. There is a difference between direct and indirect bullying, each of which is detrimental to children and adults alike. This is why it is important to understand the difference between the two.

What is Indirect Bullying?

While bullying involves directly hurting someone emotionally or physically, the indirect bullying definition is when someone undermines another’s reputation through rumors or other gossip within their social group. Studies have shown that as children grow up they gradually move from direct bullying to indirect bullying. However, this does not mean that it cannot happen at any age.

Is it a Lesser Form of Bullying?

Unfortunately there is a stigma out there that bullying that is not physical is not as bad for some reason. This is a false stereotype that is slowly being abolished across the nation and around the world. There is no bullying that is less than another. Rather they are all harmful to a person on many different levels.
There are three categories to look at with situations that determine whether or not they constitute bullying. Ask yourself these questions about the situation at hand:

  • Is there an imbalance of power going on?
  • Did one party intend to harm another, either physically or verbally?
  • Is there a future threat?

When the situation meets all three of these criteria, it is bullying. Whether this happens on a verbal level or a physical one, the fact remains that it is bullying and it needs to be dealt with. You should also know that this can be on a one on one basis or even a group of people that are bullying an individual or group of people. The spectrum for bullying is very broad. This is part of what makes it so difficult to deal with.

Examples of Indirect Bullying

There are many situations that constitute indirect bullying. Some examples of this include:

  • Excluding someone from an activity, conversation or other group setting
  • Mocking someone for something about their appearance or personality
  • Gossiping about another person in a malicious manner

These are just some of the examples of this form of bullying. There are many others. One thing to keep in mind with this is that this does not just happen with children. It can happen with teens and even adults. Many offices have instances of indirect bullying that happen on a daily basis just as you will find this in schools across the country every day.

The Problem with Identifying Indirect Bullying

There are several problems that children face when they are victims of this form of bullying. For one, there is no proof because it is all verbal. Also, most children will only do this when there are no adults around, which makes it harder to verify. Children often stick together so other parties involved may not be truthful when confronted.

However, this does not mean that these situations should go unnoted. Rather parents should ensure that the appropriate authorities are notified. By letting someone know, it can be documented which is important in the event that this becomes a pattern.

What Can be Done?

Where the bullying takes place will have a lot to do with the way it is handled. if it takes place at a friend’s house, then it is harder to handle. The best way that parents can take care of a situation like this is simply to not let the child play with the bully. Over time things may change and this could be a suitable friend, but it is important to teach children they do not have to be friends with people that hurt them.

If this happens at school, then it needs to be taken up with school administrators. You can talk with the guidance counselor, teacher and principals at the school. They will be able to help you through this and ensure that it is dealt with in the best way possible for all parties involved.

If it happens in an extracurricular activity, let the director of the program know so they can have this taken care of right away. You should never try to handle this on your own in a setting like this. Often times this can lead to confrontations between parents that will only set a bad example for the children who are watching.

What Parents Can Do

If you find out that your child is the victim of indirect bullying then it is important to take the right measures to deal with it. However, this does not mean that there is nothing you can do before this. It is important to talk with your child about what this is and how it works.

By teaching your child about indirect bullying at a young age they will learn how to spot it as well as how to avoid it. Most schools are starting to teach about this and are actively working to eliminate bullying from the classroom environment altogether. However, this is not something that will just go away over night.

The best thing you can do is be an advocate for your child. Make sure you know what’s going on with them at school everyday. Even if you simply talk while eating dinner or driving home from school, this is an essential part of keeping your child safe from bullying. Everyday teens commit suicide because of bullying at school from both direct and indirect bullying. This is why you should know what is going on with your child.

While bullying is becoming less prevalent in many ways, it still exists which is why it is important that you understand the different forms of bullying that can happen. By knowing what types of bullying your child may encounter at school you can better prepare for the situation. This will help you to know what to do and be the support your child needs.

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