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Relational Bullying and Why Kids Engage

According to an article published by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry on October 10, 2020 “verbal bullying is the type of bullying, in India making up a significant 55.1% of reported cases. Physical bullying closely follows at 32.7% while relational bullying stands at 25.2%.”
Bullying has become a concerning issue in India. Over the last few years, the cases of bullying are continuously rising which needs the urgent attention of society and lawmakers. With the increase in the use of new digital devices
The ways of bullying people have also changed from face-to-face to using technologies to bully people from a distance. The impact of bullying is not only on small children but affecting the individuals of all ages. Although some measures have already been taken to tackle bullying, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to create a safer society that respects everyone.

What is Relational aggression?

Relational aggression or relational bullying is a type of bullying that involves manipulating or harming someone’s image, or relationships using false narratives. This type of bullying aims to harm not physically or verbally but emotionally.

According to a study conducted in 2022 by the National Bullying Prevention Center, it was discovered that relational aggression, which is a type of bullying that focuses on emotions and social relationships tends to be more common, in high schools as compared to schools. In these age groups, students are more prone to engaging in activities such as spreading rumors and manipulating dynamics to gain social influence.

Relational bullying is very deceitful, it usually fails to be noticed easily by peers. This kind of bullying doesn’t leave back a physical mark but rather a psychological or social status mark.

Signs of Relational Bullying

Though this kind of bullying goes unnoticed, there are still some behaviors to look out for:
– Forming a closed group of friends
– Making fun of others for their identity, dressing sense or style, etc
– Put hurtful or mean messages on text messages, WhatsApp, social media, etc
– Spread rumors or engage in gossip
– Intimidating others

Learn about Relational Bullying: What to do when a child experiences or shows such behavior? – Low-Cost Webinar organized by Ginnys Planet

Relational bullying webinar

Impacts of Relational Bullying

Relational bullying goes unnoticed but is also a type of bullying where both the parties, the bullied and the bully can have a negative impact. Negative impacts like depression, anxiety, and low self-worth. The impact starts with feeling hurt and making wrong decisions in life. The one way to deal with this is to speak to someone you can confide in.

Impact on children

Impact of relational bullying on children

Relational bullying or social bullying can have a lasting impact on children. It can cause them to feel emotionally distressed leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression. The impact of bullying on children often leaves them with a sense of loneliness and isolation. Those who are targeted often experience a decline in their self-esteem. Start doubting their abilities and worth. Moreover, this type of bullying can lead to isolation as the targets are often turned against by the aggressors. Let’s look into the impacts:

Low Self-Esteem: The impact of bullying often erodes a person’s self-esteem and self-worth. Consistent negative interactions and undermining comments can make individuals doubt their abilities and their value.
Imagine yourself being continuously mocked with bad words, and rumors about you to destroy your reputation, people boycotting you from groups. If these all happen for a continuous period the victim may feel like he/she is of no use and worthless. It creates a sense of self-doubt which leads individuals to low self-esteem.
To know more about types of Bullying and its impact on Children. Read Here

How to prevent relational Bullying

Here are three effective strategies to address this problem

1. Encourage Open Communication:
To encourage open communication, parents and teachers have to create an environment that helps children discuss their problems. Teachers could also create a reporting system for children to be able to report if anything of such incidents occur. There are many ways this can be fostered.

2. Educate and Raise Awareness:
Many resources are being made for teachers to understand such behavior and take action against them. Schools and teachers can participate in such awareness programs, workshops, and seminars to know how to deal with such scenarios or even identify if there is any issue. Schools should ensure that teachers and school staff are trained in addressing bullying.

Similar to such workshops, Ginnys Planet built many webinars and workshops to identify Relational Bullying and gain knowledge of the same. Know more about the webinars on Relational Bullying. You can also feel free to design your workshop here. Know More

3. Monitor and Address Online Behavior:
The growing cases of relational bullying have become a concerning matter. This is an issue that requires urgent attention. The majority of Relational Bullying happens through social media in the form of trolling. Parents can try to keep an eye on children’s online activities as much as possible or closely monitor their behavior.

These strategies are aimed at tackling relational bullying in school, at home, or anywhere else.

More Article: How can we foster resilience and reduce stress in the classroom?

Reason for Relational Bullying

Let’s take a look, at each of the factors that contribute to the increase, in relational bullying in India

1. Boredom: Some people may resort to social bullying simply because they find it entertaining or as a way to pass the time especially when they lack engaging activities or interests.

2. Jealousy and Envy: feelings of jealousy or envy can be motivators, for engaging in relational bullying. When someone feels threatened by another person’s success, popularity, or possessions they may choose to undermine or harm their relationships in an attempt to level the playing field or alleviate their insecurities.

3. Peer Pressure: Peer pressure is one of the main reasons for bullying in India. If you want to fit in a group you have to follow the actions instructed even though it is bullying. They might go along with actions because they fear rejection or believe that such behavior is the norm within their circle of friends.

4. Insecurity and Low Self-Esteem: Individuals who are struggling with low self-esteem and insecurities often become part of bullying others as a temporary means of boosting their self-worth. By targeting others they divert attention from their perceived shortcomings. Momentarily feel better about themselves.

5. Revenge: Bullying in school often takes the shape of revenge against others who have done wrong to them. Revenge has a very negative impact on children because it leads to a cycle of violence which impacts the future of the child.

These are some reasons behind bullying, each driven by different personal motivations and circumstances.
They might feel that they have been treated unfairly by the individual they are focusing on and they aim to retaliate by causing harm through tarnishing their reputation or damaging their relationships.

We need to together work towards breaking this problem that is rising rapidly. We must take the necessary steps whenever we notice such anti-social behavior. Everyone needs help and we should be able to provide such help to everyone in need.