With the growing data indicating that, for both boys and girls,
covert forms of bullying are likely to ‘cause the greatest amount of suffering,
while they have a greater chance of going unnoticed by teachers’ ,
it is clear that the old saying
‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me’
is not only inaccurate, but is also dangerous
in that it has marginalised the importance of covert bullying
in the context of school bullying policy and teacher awareness.
"...has been to date only minimal attention given to the definition and understanding
of covert bullying (aka indirect or relational bullying)."
"...school harassment policies have focused primarily on curtailing physical and direct aggression,
and have placed less emphasis on establishing school-wide policies
to address indirect (or covert or relational) bullying
(e.g. rumour spreading, isolation and social seclusion which is more hidden)."
"...had the fewest children reporting being bullied in the playground,
implying that a shift had taken place towards the use of more covert bullying
and less noticeable bullying behaviour,
as a result of better playground supervision."
"...reactions to physical bullying, verbal bullying, and
Yoon and Kerber  found significant differences in teacher reactions across all three bullying types,
with teachers showing significantly less empathy towards, and involvement in, dealing with relational aggression (covert or indirect bullying).
"Studies are increasingly indicating that students are less likely to report incidences of covert bullying
than overt physical or verbal aggressive behaviour [84; 116; 118], because they felt they could not
suggesting that instead teachers tended to ignore or dismiss
the (covert bullying) behaviour [83; 112; 119]."
Borkqvist  used the term the ‘effect-to-danger ratio’
to suggest that in inflicting harm on another person or group of people,
individuals look for forms of bullying that will have the greatest effect
while minimising their risk of being caught or placed in danger."
Similarly, Craig, Pepler and Atlas  found that bullying generally
had the fewest children reporting being bullied in the playground, implying that a shift had taken place
Studies are increasingly indicating that students are less likely to report incidences of covert
With the growing data indicating that, for both boys and girls, covert forms of
it is clear that the old saying ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but