How do you recognise bullying?

How do you recognise bullying? What can you do?

Bullying is harmful to everyone involved, even the bullies themselves. The temporary satisfaction a bully gets from bullying is not worth the pain and anxiety it creates for their victims, nor the potential repercussions of their actions.

Some types of bullying is very difficult to detect, and takes a trained eye to see. This is where a caring teacher, a psychologist, or an attentive parent can make a world of difference.

Types of bullying

There are many types of bullying but they are broadly classified into 4 main types:

  • Physical bullying – this kind of bullying involves kicking, hitting, pinching, tripping, pushing and damaging property.
  • Verbal bullying –  if you’ve ever experienced name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse, you have been the victim of verbal bullying.
  • Social bullying – this kind of bullying is sometimes very hard to detect, and involves the spreading of rumours, or saying false things to superiors to get you in trouble.
  • Cyber bullying – a rather new kind of bullying, that is a major cause of suicide among teenagers and young adults. This kind of bullying involves using social media and other technologies to negatively affect the victim.

How does bullying make you feel?

Childline South Africa has a large list of items that is considered bullying. Unfortunately, this list does not consider cyber bullying.

  • Name-calling – when you are being called names that embarrass you, it makes you feel humiliated.
  • Rumours to get you into trouble – this can cause teachers or other figures of authority to punish you for something you did not do. It makes you feel scared.
  • Hitting, kicking, pinching, biting, pushing and shoving – these are all forms of physical bullying, and can leave serious psychological (and physical) scars on the victim. It makes you feel scared.
  • Taking your belongings – humans are not dealing with loss very well. When someone steals from you, it makes you feel sad, violated and angry.
  • Damaging your belongings – things that people treasure in their lives often come at a price. When someone damages these things, it makes you feel angry and violated.
  • Stealing your money – “It is only money” they say. But in a world where money gives yo access to things, the theft of money makes you feel violated and angry.
  • Alienating your friends – human beings are social creatures by nature. When you have no friends, you feel sad and lonely.
  • Spreading rumours – false stories about you to put you in a bad light makes you feel sad and unpopular.
  • Threats and intimidation – in most cases, this kind of bullying makes you feel scared.

The above list should also contain cyber bullying. We will do a full article about this kind of bullying in a later post.


You cannot recognise something if you do not know what it is made up of. Hopefully, by understanding the types of bullying and how it manifests, you can recognise it and help someone.

The golden rule of bullying is: SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Victims of bullying are often ashamed of what is happening, and therefore do not always report bullying, meaning that many cases of bullying go undetected for long. If you see something, go see someone who is in the position to do something about it – a teacher, a parent, a policeman or an older friend.

Please follow and like us: