How to stop bullying?

The article is dedicated to explanation of bulling and describing the ways to stop this phenomenon.

How to stop bullying?

Bulling is a combination of psychological and physical violence, when pressure is exerted on one or more than one members of the team in real life or at the network[1]. There is usually an inequality of power between the aggressor and the victim, aggression tends to be repeated, while the response of the victim shows how much she is affected by what is happening. The purpose of bullying is the destruction of a person’s personality, his humiliation and an attempt to control the infringed person for his own benefit. This type of relationship is common among children, especially among adolescents and students. Professional workplace bullying among adults is just as common as school bullying, although less obvious.

[1] What Is Bullying

According to, there are two main signs of bullying[1]:

  1. An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  2. Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying is usually a lengthy process, and most bullies are repeat offenders who also tend to bully multiple victims at once. Long-term research confirms that bullies and victims can switch places: there is a whole category of bully victims—people who are victims in one set of circumstances and perpetrators in another. Victims who are regularly subjected to verbal bullying are not always weak and helpless, but the peculiarity of the situation provokes different actions.

[1] Там же.

Where can you meet bullying?

Researchers identify the following common places where bullying occurs: at school, in the workplace, in the armed forces (“hazing”), cyberbullying (violence in the information space and using social networks and the Internet)[1].

[1] Макарова Е. А. Буллинг как психологическое явление, изучаемое в рамках виктимологии // Вестник ТИУиЭ. 2018. №1 (27)

What types of bullying exist?

There are two main types of bullying by impact classification: direct and indirect[1]. Direct bullying implies open influence: beatings, insults. Indirect - unintended ways of influence and pressure, for example, spreading rumors or declaring a boycott (intentional ignorance by one or a group of classmates).

According to the content, there are 4 main types of bullying[2]:

Physical: beating, pushing, spitting, grabbing things. It is the most common and obvious type of bullying. Psychologists note that this type is more common among middle school students (grades 5-8), and disappears by the senior grades. Such a distribution is legally justified, since 14-15 years is the age of the onset of criminal responsibility, and this age period falls on average in grades 8-9.

Verbal bullying: nicknames, threats, insults, ridicule, coercion, humiliation by words. This type of bullying very often goes beyond the school, but it can occur at school even in the lower grades. There are also cases of similar interactions between students of different ages, for example, middle and lower grades, or middle and older, where the pressure comes from a student or group of students of the oldest age group. Verbal bullying is often targeted at a person or group of people on the basis of formal characteristics such as race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or gender, people with disabilities and other minorities are more likely to be bullied.

Socio-psychological bullying: spreading gossip and rumors, ignoring, not being admitted to the group's common affairs and events, making a mockery of it, manipulation. This type of bullying is relevant for all ages, but much more often goes unnoticed. It should be noted that it is this type that causes the strongest emotional upheavals in the victim.

Electronic (virtual) bullying or cyberbullying: involves bullying through phone calls, notes via email and instant messengers, as well as bullying on social networks. Virtual bullying does not depend on age, it involves spreading rumors and false information, hacking pages, sending negative messages and comments, stealing and distributing photos, personal data and making them public.

Nowadays, some scientists call cyberbullying the main threat to the psychological health of children and adolescents, since most of our lives are spent on the Internet and social networks. But at the same time, there is more space on the Internet to escape from violence - you can start new pages on social networks, get a different email address[3].

Real-life bullying and cyberbullying can often happen at the same time. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint - a record that can be useful and provide the evidence needed to stop the bullying. Cyberbullying in its purest form is found only in online games or comments on posts by popular bloggers.

[1] Череватая Ю.Н. Основные причини и последствия возникновения буллинга среди подростков // Вестник науки. 2021. №3 (36).

[2] Там же, С. 44.

[3] UNICEF: Интернет-травля: что это такое и как с ней бороться?

Who can become a victim of cyberbullying?

Most often, victims of Internet violence are people with a non-heterosexual orientation, people whose appearance does not meet the standards of beauty (especially true for women), as well as men who suffer life failures[1]. However, this is not a complete list, because cyberbullying can affect everyone regardless of their social status. Often bullying is the result of some misconduct or careless statement. The simplest thing to say is, "Don't say or do anything that the public doesn't like," but that's not feasible.

An example of undeserved cyberbullying-harassment was the British actress, winner of the Emmy and BAFTA awards Jodie Comer, best known for her role as Russian Assassin Villanelle from the BBC series “Killing Eve”. The media found out about her relationship with a certain young man named James Burke - the guy was mistaken for another James Burke - a supporter of Donald J. Trump, a misogynist and a racist, after which a wave of unfair hate hit the actress[2]. As a result, the actress had to delete all social networks except Instagram*, but even there she limited the ability to comment on her posts. Later, Jodie admitted that this situation was a difficult test for her, but after that she realized the need to protect personal boundaries[3].

[1] ТАСС: Я столкнулся с буллингом в интернете. Что делать?

[2] Daily Mail UK: 'I saw the absurdity of what he was accused of': Jodie Comer vows not to respond to her boyfriend's Trump support scandal 'for her health' as she hits out at cancel culture


Why are people interested on bullying?

Bullying can be characterized as an inadequate asocial attempt at self-affirmation. The true motives of bullying include[1]:

  • attracting attention from adults and peers;
  • demonstration of force;
  • concealment of uncertainty and fears;
  • satisfaction of the need for power and dominance.

Aggression is a defensive reaction of the psyche, and therefore it can be assumed that the aggressors feel anxiety, do not feel safe, and need protection.

However, this are more reasons for bullying. Arthur Rean developed the following classification of motives (reasons) for bullying[2]:

  • Striving for individualized power. Some individuals experience a need for dominance, which, if not satisfied, suffers from a sense of loss.
  • Aggression. The most popular type of instigator is the aggressive bully. These are cruel people, as a rule, with high social status and high self-esteem, sometimes even overestimated and bordering on narcissism.
  • Anxiety. With this type of bully, he himself is afraid to be in the place of the victim, which is why he defends himself with an attack. Their peculiarity lies in the fact that, under certain circumstances, they can be both aggressors and victims. Often the aggressors are former victims. The individual personal characteristics of these people are borderline, the role they occupy depends solely on external conditions and circumstances.
  • Passive bullers. They are similar to the previous type, but they are not afraid to be in the role of a victim, but they want to earn authority and recognition in the team. They have no other means of self-affirmation.

[1] Psychologies: Что такое буллинг?

[2] Череватая Ю.Н. Основные причини и последствия возникновения буллинга среди подростков // Вестник науки. 2021. №3 (36).

How to stop bulling?

According to researches, there are some steps you can take to prevent bullying and especially verbal bullying in teenagers. Prevention and intervention strategies for educators have been developed to protect children from abusers and teach them how to deal with problems before they escalate.

There are several types of coping strategies to deal with bullying[1]:

  1. confrontation - involves aggressive actions to change the balance in the situation;
  2. distancing - removal from the situation and reducing its value to a reasonable minimum;
  3. self-control - regulation of one's own feelings, reactions and emotions;
  4. seeking social support, discussing the problem with someone, receiving emotional and informational support from peers, teachers and parents;
  5. personal responsibility for everything that happens, understanding and acknowledging everything that contributed to the problems, as well as an attempt to solve them on their own (locus control);
  6. avoidance - behavior is aimed at ignoring the problem;
  7. a planned approach to solving the problem - analysis and detailed analysis of the problem, then consideration of all possible ways to solve it.

Avoidance and coping - both strategies suggest that coping can be divided into two independent parts: problem solving and problem avoidance. The avoidance strategy is the conscious desire to stay away from the "source of stress" (the bully) and avoid threatening situations. Such strategies are based on reducing stress, but rarely contribute to solving the problem. With avoidance, a person usually needs social support.

Coping strategies are defined as individual efforts to manage stress and control emotions. The ability to cope with stressful situations is essential in life for strengthening psychological and emotional health.

Scientists and psychologists agree that two things play a special role in preventing bullying and situations of violence in groups: the family microclimate and educational work with children at the school level. It is very important to explain to teenagers that the psychological health of other people depends on their actions, and true leadership does not consist in violence against others[2].

Bullying can lead to various negative consequences: psychological trauma, the emergence of neuroses and phobias, attempts to isolate from society. The most acute consequences of trauma are suicide and murder. When bullying goes over the top, as mentioned earlier, in this case, violence can breed even more violence. Therefore, it is especially important for parents and teachers to monitor the atmosphere in children's and adolescent groups in order to prevent negative situations and possible consequences.

[1] Макарова Е. А. Буллинг как психологическое явление, изучаемое в рамках виктимологии // Вестник ТИУиЭ. 2018. №1 (27)

[2] How to provide bulling?

Text by

Maria Nedosekova


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