Too many children and teenagers are tormented in hidden ways for years without adults picking up on it or doing something about it in a good way. There is a great risk of belittling what is happening and of misunderstanding the situations.
Hidden bullying is often expressed in a way that can seem undramatic and harmless to outsiders, and adulte can often think that the difficulties lie within the victim. "She's so quiet and timid," or “he has a very special manner”..
Hidden bullying can often take place over a very long period and the harassment can lead to mental and social problems throughout life.
When a pupil is subjected to hidden bullying, it is particularly challenging to notice the negative social interactions going on because the aggression exerted is often subtle and undramatic in its expression.
Physical violence is visible and harassment using bad words are audible, but when someone bothers classmates indirectly, the aggression is exerted covertly. Indirect bullying consists of many different techniques that vary but which have in common that they do not have a clearly aggressive expression such as punches, kicks and ugly remarks.
Hidden bullying often starts with backbiting and spreading rumors about a person. The process starts by a student talking negatively about another student's appearance, personality or actions of others. From an objective view, the victim of the rumor does not necessarily stand out from the others, but when something is said often enough, it has a tendency to become a truth.
This text is from Insight - A social-analytical tool to prevent and detect hidden bullying (pdf) (only in Norwegian)