Bullying and how it differs between genders

Bullying is the intentional harm of another person, whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological. This can include insults, threats, physical or sexual assault, name-calling, or cyberbullying through methods such as sharing abusive or threatening messages, images, or websites. Cyberbullying can also involve repetitive behaviors like spamming in order to cause inconvenience or distress for the victim.

Research has shown that there are distinct differences in the way males and females bully each other. Girls are often encouraged to form close, “special” friendships and to be kind, while boys are encouraged to compete and seek group approval. As a result, girls may use tactics like social exclusion, psychological torment, or humiliation to bully others, while boys may be more likely to use physical aggression. These tactics can be harder to recognize and interpret, especially when the bully tries to maintain a “nice” image by masking their actions as concern or disgust for the victim. In some cases, girls may use “divide and conquer” tactics by alternating between “special” friendships with different girls in a group, leading to social dominance and exclusion of certain individuals.

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