The evolution of bullying
When I say the word ‘bullying’, what do you think of? You probably imagine someone in the school hall with some other people laughing and pointing and making others feel bad. But, in our modern world, that only makes up ~10% of bullying techniques. There are many ways to bully someone - occasionally for better but frequently for worse. I’m going to guide you through some of these types of bullying, how they happen, and - most importantly - how to avoid them.
Cyberbullying is one of the most notorious forms of bullying out there. Oftentimes, people will go to social media to escape the world they’re in. This could be just for entertainment, to compensate for bullying or for other reasons. But it can become hard to escape this bullying because it can follow you – it exists through your computer screen. This can look like what is happening in the cover image, where someone is struggling to escape. Cyber bullying is extremely dangerous as it can often feel like insults and bullying are surrounding you and you can’t escape; like something from a movie. However, there are other instances that will occur where people don’t even know that they are being bullied. This could, for example, be through peer pressuring. People could be pressured to do something from friends they know online, and while this can sometimes be harmless, it could also cause detrimental damage which could haunt them their whole lives.
We’ve all seen that cheesy teenage sitcom where the kid is bullied - one of the ways this often happens is through social media posts. Social media can be a great way for people to get jobs, platforms and spread motivational messages. It can sadly be, however, a platform for bullying. Take this example: imagine you are upset about something. Your teacher yelled at you, you lost your food card, whatever. You are visibly upset, crying on the floor, and here comes the bully. The bully takes a photo of you crying and posts it for all to see on their public social media account. The comments start rolling in from the bystanders and they are adding fuel to the fire - soon you are feeling overwhelmed by this bullying. The next day, when you are going to school, you can just hear everyone whispering and snickering behind your back. When you reach this point, you know that you are being bullied. And it probably doesn’t stop there - every single time you are at a bad moment, the photo is taken and reposted to no end. This is why it’s one of the worst forms of bullying.
“Do this for me or I won’t be your friend.”
Ever heard this? If this happens to you frequently, you may be a victim of manipulative bullying. Manipulative bullying is essentially when someone acts like your friend but they’re only there to take advantage of you. This often happens amongst passive people who struggle to say no to things. Someone might pretend to be your friend but really only want your help when there is something that they do not want to do. So, if you hear the phrase “do this or else I won’t be your friend”, stop and reflect for a moment. Think: “is this person really my friend or my bully?” There’s a big chance it’s the latter.
In conclusion, bullying has expanded and evolved - there are now many opportunities for someone to bully another person. So, if you see someone get bullied online or through manipulation, don’t assume that it’s not a bad thing. If you are a victim of this, don't force yourself to succumb to it just because you’re not getting physically hurt. If you are getting bullied in any way or form, speak up.