Social Bullying Definition and How It Differs From Other Types of Bullying
Bullying has disastrous effects no matter what form it takes. Most educational and advocacy groups identify four major types of bullying. They include:
- Cyber (bullying and stalking that occurs over the internet
- Social or covert
Sometimes referred to as covert bullying because instigators can often cause them harm by going behind another individual’s back. Unlike physical and verbal forms of bullying, an instigator can spread rumors and stories about their victim, all the while remaining anonymous and out of sight. Cyber bullying is similar, but in the event charges are pressed against the perpetrator, their actions can be tracked through IP addresses and computer programs.
The Definition of Social Bullying
Social or covert bullying involves spreading rumors about another person, purposely leaving someone out of an activity or group or embarrassing a person in public. Another form of bullying that falls into this category involves encouraging others to avoid a certain person or group.
Social bullying affects a person and their ability to relate to their environment as well as other people in a social setting. Not only does it have a direct impact on a person’s mental and emotional state, it can also adversely affect their reputation in both personal and professional circles.
Effects of Social Bullying in the Workplace
Rumors and gossip that was first passed among personal contacts can make their way into the individual’s workplace. Unless they are in good standing with members of management, the results can be disastrous, affecting how they are treated as well as any plans for future advancement.
Individuals who are responsible for social bullying in the workplace can eventually face disciplinary actions if the allegations are proven. Bullying activities reduce productivity and create a negative atmosphere that leads to dissension and animosity among co-workers. In cases of bullying in the workplace, the victim is not the only one that feels the repercussions. It can affect other co-workers and staff members alike, especially if the bully is a member of management.
Effects of Social Bullying in a School Setting
The effects of social bullying in a school setting can be quite extensive and often severe. Cliques and peer groups will often attack one another or members of other groups to make themselves look more powerful and in control. Most school systems are creating guidelines to follow during disciplinary proceedings where bullying and other forms of harassment occur. In cases, where a bully’s actions border on a criminal offense, school officials often encourage the victim and their family to press charges.
Bullying of any sort is not just the problem of the victim. It is everyone’s concern. Odds are, if a bully is targeting an individual, there have been others before them. One person who speaks out against their harasser can lead to a host of others who, once given the opportunity, may step forward and tell their story.
Students who notice adverse changes in their classmates can help stop bullying by talking to the individual. Students who spend much of their time alone are often targets of social bullies. If a bully sees them talking to other students, they may think twice about choosing them as a target. If the bullying has already begun, a student who takes the time to offer the victimized classmate support may be able to encourage them to report the offender.
Organizing a student peer group dedicated to helping classmates with bullying issues can help eliminate the negativity associated with the practice. Students who know they have a support system are less likely to allow themselves to be bullied or taken advantage of. Strength in numbers is the key when dealing with one or more students who are trying to intimidate or bully those around them. Most student peer groups are sponsored by teachers who are willing to advocate for their students and help them resolve issues of bullying and intimidation.
Bullying Within a Social Setting
Members of a community or organization who are bullied by others are also victims of social bullying. An organization whose members purposely discriminate against others or spread gossip about other members of the community, as well as within their group, must be held accountable for their members’ actions. A person’s public reputation and character can be irreversibly damaged if the bullying is allowed to continue. Many organizations have taken note of members’ concerns and implemented protocols on how to handle bullies within their organization.
No matter where social bullies attempt to hurt others, their actions should be reported and measures taken to protect the victims, as well as discipline the offenders. Proper handling of any situation that involves bullying is imperative to prevent it from happening again or harming the victim’s reputation and good standing in their community, school or workplace.