How to recognise the signs of bullying

Would you be able to tell that a child was being bullied? It’s not always easy to spot the signs especially when the bullying isn’t physical but emotional e.g. being teased, put down, humiliated, ignored, intimidated.

Here are some brief extracts from our Child Protection training courses:

Bullying is also recognised as a type of abuse. It is always distressing for the victim and can have serious consequences and therefore should always be taken seriously.

Bullying happens when an individual or group of individuals show hostility towards another individual and this can be; emotional, physical, sexual or racist. Emotional bullying is by far the most common but usually the most difficult to spot.

Cyber-bullying is a more recent form of bullying which occurs through emails, text messages, telephone call or sharing information about an individual on social networking sites.

Cyber-bullying may be; emotional, racist or sexual. Children and young people who use this method of bullying often feel disassociated from their actions, but the consequences can be just as serious for the child. It can be particularly distressing for the victim.

So how might you recognise that a child is being bullied?  Here are some of the possible indicators:

  • Negative, hopeless and negative view of self, family and society
  • Lack of empathy, compassion and remorse
  • Low self-esteem, deference and resignation
  • Change in appetite
  • Extremes of passivity and aggression
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Sudden speech disorders
  • Unexplained fear, defensiveness, ambivalence
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Sleep disturbance