The Different Types of Bullying

Bullying can be described as an unwanted aggressive behavior towards an individual that involves a power imbalance, whether real or perceived. The term “bullying” is thrown around a bit excessively these days, and one thing we need to keep in mind is that not every confrontation is an instance of “bullying.” The key component is the power imbalance. Two peers having a go at eachother over some contentious topic isn’t “bullying.” Such examples of these power imbalances include multiple children ganging up on one, a child that is bigger and stronger than another, or even a child that is perceived as being more important due to his or her stature at school (the “cool kid”). Bullying usually takes many forms and can involve physical attacks, emotional attacks and/or verbal attacks.

The following is an overview of the different types of bullying:

The Main 3 Types of Bullying

There are three main categories of bullying. The other, more specific types, can fall into any or all of these categories, depending on the specific situation in which the bullying is encountered.

Physical Bullying

This type of bullying basically involves the use of physical force. Physical bullying is most prevalent in academic institutions. This bullying technique may involve the spiting, shoving, kicking or even punching. In most instances, the aggressor is physically larger than the victim or may be within a group. The idea behind physical bullying is for the bully to establish superiority and continued control over a victim.

Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying incorporates the use of words to carry out an act of bullying. In this type of bullying, the aggressor also known as the bully tries to verbally upset the victim through taunting and teasing. The verbal assault might focus on an individual’s appearance, lifestyle choices, intellect, skin color and even ethnicity. Most verbal bullies have a low self esteem and tend to bully others so as to increase their social standings and feel better about themselves.

Emotional Bullying

Also known as relational aggression, emotional bullying is the act of an aggressor attacking a victim on an emotional level. Emotional bullying is most common in relationships whereby, one partner might make statements or act in such a manner as to bring about distress to the other partner. Emotional bullying may also involve the spreading of rumors, excluding an individual from certain activities, refusing to talk to someone and even making statement with an intention of hurting a person’s feelings.

Sub-Types of Bullying

The following are the various sub-types of bullying. They will all include at least one of the main types, while some include 2 or all 3.

Cyber Bullying

This is one of the most popular types of bullying in the modern world. Cyber bullying can be described as any form of bullying that incorporates the use of technology. Cyber bullying is rampant on social networking sites and can be very difficult to know the real identity of a bully since most bullies do not use their real names. [Read more: Types of Cyber Bullying]

Disability Bullying

Disability bullying is bullying specifically targeting people with disability. Disability bullying normally targets physically disabled individuals but can also extend individuals with other special conditions such as autism, cleft lips and even dyspraxia.

Gay Bullying

Gay bullying better known as gay bashing is a type of bullying that specifically targets gay individuals. The bullying can be physical, emotional or verbal in nature. For instance, refusing to associate or even talk with gay people is considered a form of gay building since it brings about emotional torture on the victim. In some instances, individuals perceived to be gay are also subjected to this type of bullying.

Legal Bullying

Legal bullying basically encompasses the use of the legal system to control or punish an individual or organization. In legal bullying, the victim would be bombarded by multiple lawsuits by the aggressor. While this form of bullying is not necessarily considered as being illegal, the victim can waste a lot of time and resources dealing with the lawsuits.

Parental Bullying

Parental bullying is one of the most prevalent types of bullying in the modern world. In this type of bullying, parents may displace their insecurities or anger on their children. This type of bullying might be physical or emotional in nature.

Prison Bullying

Prison bullying is another popular form of bullying experienced in many areas around the world. Prison bullying is almost inevitable since penal institutions are filled with individuals most of who have been incarcerated for violent crime. Most instances of prison bullying might be between inmates but there are also documented cases of prison staff bullying prisoners or prisoners bullying prison staff.

School Bullying

School bullying is one of the most common types of bullying. School bullying can be physical, emotional or verbal in nature. In most instances, the aggressor has several victims and is physically bigger than the victims. In most instances, students witnessing the bullying might avoid intervening or even taunt the victim being bullied so as to avoid being targeted by the bully. [Read More: Types of Bullying in Schools]

There are laws and organizations that protect an individual from the various types of bullying. As a rule, you should contact the authorities if you find yourself in such a situation so as to deter repeat incidences

Hopefully the above list helped you get a better understanding of the different types of bullying out there. Sadly, there will probably more types will probably eventually evolve, and I will add them to the list. If I’ve forgotten any, please let me know in the comments.


  1. You forgot one, its called sexual harassment or sexual bullying

    • If students read tha for a essay or something they are not allowed to read about that just letting u know?

    • Sexual Harassment, albeit serious, is not a form of bullying because its not necessarily in/for an intentionally aggressive manner or purpose.

      Someone may verbally bully someone by saying things sexual in nature, but that is simply an example of verbal bullying.

      Unwanted or otherwise illegal sexual contact, regardless of purpose, is sexual assault, not bullying.

      Bullying is more about a power imbalance as mentioned in the first paragraph of this article and it involves an intention to cause someone distress unrelated to sexual urges, anger, or bias.

  2. I’m starting a petition to stop bullying. I hope the state board will let me. If you want to stop bulling please help me out. Thank you

    • Hello I am going through a situation now with my child in school,the principal, assistant principal, or teacher are not doing anything, because they say that they don’t ever see it,my children are home now because of the situation I. Waiting on the educational dept to get involved, I would love to support you thank god I listens to my children bullying is a very serious matter!!!

  3. maribella jasmine v. sullivan July 28, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I’ve been bullied by my classmates and school mates everytime.they tried everything but not the cyber bullying. almost everything but not can I stop them from bullying me everytime and everyday at school?I don’t know how but I want to learn how to make them stop.

  4. If your getting bullied don’t let it get to u speak up don’t let it happen it happened to me .

    • i have never been bullied but i know people who have just focus in and don’t listen to them. you are way stronger than you think

  5. It happened to me 2. My twin sister was experiencing physical like being whacked with a ruler and I was experiencing verbal. 🙁

  6. if someone bullied you .. just trust God and have faith on him… he will be the one to do something about them…. just ignore them.. and let them see what you’ve got.. in a way of showing your talents or anything that will make them proud. just be yourself.. because God is with us always … 🙂 🙂 for you marebella just always remember if tehy bullied you again.. all you have to do is just SMILE,and say God bless you and then walk out … try that..

  7. Hey I’m 14 and I worry a lot and I play soccer a lot and when I mess up my “friend” gets mad at me but when my bff messed up he don’t get mad

  8. I just started at secondary school and i keep on getting bullied what shall i do

  9. My grandson is being told he is a failure by his teachers. He is singled out and told the minute he steps into class that he will be sent to the office before he even gets the chance to see if he will misbehave. one teacher told him he should just put an “F” on his forehead for failure. And regardless of who he is talking to, he is the only one sent out of the class or punished. Please help me understand if this is considered bullying.

    • My 8 year old is experiencing the same.hes evn told that he is not fit to be in that particular class.punished non stop.The teacher says hes les attnetive thats why hes incompetent.The teacher made him sit alone, one mistake he does hes really frustrated.Last week the techer hit him with a pencil case and it life is even considering moving him form these school.I just wanted to shere my frustrations with you so you become aware you are not alone.

    • yes it is I would call the cops because that’s not what teachers should be doing that can get them in trouble I should know it happened to me.

  10. please help me

    i am being bullied really

    badly because

    i am small and

    i cant stand up for my self and finaallyy

    because im shy

    • hey don’t let people bring you down because I have been bullied my whole life and now I’m in this club its call move 2 stand its an anti bully and now I help people stand up for themselves you should ask if you can start one at you school you should look the club up to learn more

  11. Isn’t sexual bullying rape?

  12. Don’t bully just because your mom,dad or family member bully u ,this could be a better world without bullies

  13. William Clark III May 8, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    I have a question-what gives a person the right to bully another person?

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