While much of bullying research and statistics focus on the ways in which boys bully each other, girls bully girls as well, and their methods can be just as damaging, if not more so, than the methods boys typically use. Unlike boys, who tend to be more physical in their bullying, girls often bully girls in verbal and non-verbal ways that can lead to a young girl being ostracized, alienated, threatened, or otherwise harassed. Girls tend to bully in groups, and their motives generally focus on obtaining a sense of power, or battling insecurity. Adults are much slower to recognize when girls bully girls and quicker to recognize boys bullying each other because the methods girls use tend to be understated and quiet.
Harassment through verbal attacks, pranks, phone calls, and more recently, cyber attacks such as e-mails, text messaging, and social networking are all common tactics used when girls bully girls. Verbal harassment is most common; name calling and teasing occur frequently, and usually several girls gang up on one or two specific girls. The verbal abuse may take place directly to the girl being bullied, or it may take place behind her back. Such verbal abuse often leads to the victim becoming ostracized; girls will ignore the victim or otherwise stay away from her to communicate disdain.
Cyber bullying has become one of the most common ways girls bully girls. Text messages and e-mails can be sent to the victim, either threatening her or otherwise verbally abusing her. The intent is to confuse, frighten, or intimidate the victim through any means of communication. Cyber bullying might be considered an extension of verbal bullying, especially considering the traditional form of communication, besides face to face communication, has been telephone conversations. Girls often call the victim and either verbally abuse her or simply confuse and anger her by hanging up and calling again, then hanging up. The cycle becomes frustrating and even frightening for the victim.
Threats are a common way girls bully girls without being tactically overt. One girl may threaten the victim with the retreat of her friendship, or she may threaten the victim with the spreading of a rumor or secret. In many cases, a girl may threaten the victim with physical violence, but more often the punishment is cerebral rather than physical. Victims may display signs of depression or anxiety when being bullied, and the victim's self-esteem — not to mention her grades — may suffer as a result of bullying.