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Table of Contents

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Published on Nov 21, 2021
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Juliya Smith

Ultimate Guide for Teachers: Main Causes of Bullying in School

Bullying is done intentionally to cause harm to others and is often repetitive, and it causes a long-term effect of bullying on the minds of the victim. Bullying is seen at work, school, or home, in fact everywhere.

Sadly, bullying is mainly seen in schools. 1 in 3 children are bullied at school, and 1 in 10 children have reported that bullying has lasted for more than six months.


Bullying can be a severe traumatic experience for children. Bullied children often feel threatened and scared. Some of the effects of bullying on children are:

  • Difficulty in socializing
  • Lower academic performance
  • Difficulty in finding long term relationships
  • Lower self-confidence
  • Mental health issues- Depression or anxiety
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Body image issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Hence, bullying is a seriously scarring experience, mainly affects highly vulnerable young children.

At home and while going out, parents are always around their children. Whenever a child feels if anyone is bullying them, they can talk to their parents immediately. Parents can help their children to deal with bullies whenever they are bullied.

But at school, parents are not around them; therefore, teachers must look for warning signs of bullying in school. It will be best if you recognize the different types of bullying that can take place in your class and take measures to stop bullying. Bullying prevention also refers to recognizing why a student would bully others.

So I have prepared a guide for you teachers to recognize the bullying type and know why the bullying is occurring. Preventing bullying is an essential task for teachers as it will save a child’s life.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can happen in different forms and might take a different shape with the growth of digital media. In most cases of teen bullying, both the bully and the victim suffer.

You can recognize the different forms of bullying if you recognize the types. Bullying can take place in three different ways. Students might experience bullying directly, indirectly, or through a digital medium. Here’s a quick detail about these three types of bullying:

Direct Bullying

Direct bullying means bullying that is done directly to the victim. It can be bullying that takes place right in front of the victim. Direct bullying can take place through physical abuse or verbal abuse.

It can also include physically hurting another student. They might also take the form of physically destroying the possession of another student. Passing means comments and using foul language while assaulting someone falls under verbal abuse. Here are some examples of direct bullying:

  • Physical assault
  • Physical or verbal aggression
  • Making threats
  • Name-calling
  • Persistent humiliation
  • Persistent teasing
  • Passing sexual comment

Indirect Bullying

Indirect bullying refers to bullying someone behind their backs. The victim may or may not be aware of this form of bullying.

This bullying is done with the intent to harm the image of the victim. The bully may not want to reveal their identity while bullying. This includes verbal abuse behind the backs of the student being bullied. It is done to change the depiction of the victim to something that they may not be. This may also cause humiliation to humiliate the student being bullied.

Some of the examples of the indirect type of bullying are as follows:

  • Spreading false information
  • Purposefully not inviting them to group events
  • Spreading secretive information
  • Purposefully excluding them from a group
  • Vandalizing their possessions behind their backs
  • Spreading false rumours
  • Writing inappropriate comments on their possessions

Cyber Bullying

cyberbullying kids

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is done online which is done through a digital medium. It is a new form of bullying that teachers need to be aware of.

Cyberbullying can occur from social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or messaging applications like SMS, MMS, Whatsapp, Viber, and many more. They can be more humiliating for the bullied student.

Cyberbullying has been growing in recent years because it also provides anonymity to the bully.

Some examples of cyberbullying are as follows:

  • Posting about false rumors
  • Sending mean or offensive messages
  • Aggressive trolling
  • Posting mean or offensive contents on social media
  • Cyberstalking
  • Excluding from group chats or groups on social media sites
  • Posting or spreading intimate photos or videos without consent
  • Sending or spreading hateful messages

Causes of Bullying

The causes of bullying vary from a bully to another bully. The bully might bully another student for many reasons. This is why teachers should be aware of what is going in their class.

effects of bullying.jpg

You should lookout for some of these causes and prevent bullying in children. If you are aware of the causes of bullying and the warning signs, you will stop bullying from happening.

Some of the most common causes of bullying in students are as follows:


Prejudice is one of the most common causes of bullying seen in schools. Children tend to bully other students who are different from them. This difference may be a difference of race, religion, appearance, weight, sexual orientation, or social status.

Children can be prejudiced by their parents, guardians, or community for not liking them. In 2016, National Education Statistics of the USA reported that 27% of African Americans, 33% of Caucasians, and 9% of Asians were bullied in school.

Children who belong to the LGBTQ+ have also been facing a lot of bullying in school. They are degraded by calling names and face a lot of physical abuse too.

Similarly, teachers also need to look out for children who belong to a different religion or social status as they are also mostly bullied or excluded by children.

Children have also faced abuse based on their appearance. They might face bullying based on their skin color, hair type, weight, or facial or body features.

You need to take these things into account while you are teaching a class or around the school.

Low Self-esteem

Children who tend to bully others usually have low self-esteem. This may be because they feel a sense of accomplishment after bullying other students.

Bullying behavior among children may also be because they are projecting their low self-esteem on others. They might tease or pick on someone insecure about themselves. Children who are secretly queer also tend to pick on children of the LGBTQ+ community. They are projecting their fears on others.

Another reason for this also might be because they are jealous. A student can be jealous of the good grades of their classmates. They might pick on them by calling them a “nerd.” Bullies tease the other children for something that they wish they had but cannot. This includes grades, attention, appearance, wealth, and so on.

Your student’s feelings might be channelled as anger or aggression towards other students and result in bullying.

Lack of Empathy

Children might lack a sense of empathy so that they might bully others. They may also lack the compassion that people feel for each other.

This is caused by some mental health issues or due to some other reasons. Children have low empathy to feel the pain of harm they are inflicting on someone they are bullying.

Bullies might harm physically bullying as if they are causing it as fun, or they might not be aware of the harm they are causing. They are unaware of feelings of compassion or empathy and do not care about the pain they are inflicting.

A Higher Sense of Self

Children with high self-confidence tend to bully other children. They regard themselves as superior to their peers.

This higher sense of self can numb them to the suffering of others. They inflict damage on other people because they think that they are not held to punishment standards.

Bullies tend to lash out and bully when other people make them realize that they are inferior. They feel threatened when they are made to feel as if they are normal like others.

These children need the feeling of them being invincible. They feel threatened when people challenge the status they feel that they have. Bullies bully anyone who questions the status they have perceived to have.

Facing Abuse

Children who are facing abuse from other places also tend to bully others. Bullying breeds bullying, which means a child facing physical, mental, or emotional abuse at home also tends to be a bully.

They tend to put their frustration of being abused at home by bullying others. Children also may think that bullying provides them with authority. They bully other students into making them feel superior because they have been in a vulnerable place themselves.

Children who have been bullied in the past are also more likely to bully others. They believe that bullying is the only way they can feel powerful rather than feeling vulnerable.

Peer Pressure

You may have seen many students facing peer pressure bully others. They show bullying behaviors to others, so they do not get bullied themselves. Their friends push them to bully someone else.

When a large group of a child’s friends favors bullying, they hesitate to stand against it. They think that if they stand against it, then they might lose their friends. So children might give in to peer pressure and bully others.

Attention Seeking

If students do not receive as much attention as they desire, they start doing activities to seek attention. They might be aggressive and bully others.

Students desire attention, whether good or bad, and can derive this attention by harming others. They feel the punishment or attention from bystanders they receive is fulfilling.

Children show tendencies of attention-seeking behavior if their parents or guardians are not fulfilling their need for attention. They also try to seek attention from someone they admire, like their partner, crush, classmate, or teacher.


As a teacher, you need to understand the causes of bullying to talk about dealing with predators. You would be able to tackle bullying in the classroom if you know why your students harass one another.

Bullying can be caused by various factors, including sexual orientation, religion, appearance, ethnicity, and social status. Some students intimidate others to appear confident and courageous enough to hurt others. While Some who have a higher level of self-confidence bully other students because they lack empathy and consideration towards others and can react aggressively when they feel threatened.

In a nutshell, as a teacher, you need to know the signs and signals of bullies. Knowing such signs and signals, you can help your students overcome bullying problems in schools.

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