Bullying can happen anywhere and at any time. Although it is commonly associated with school, bullying can happen when you’re an adult too. There are lots of reasons why someone might bully you. It could be because of your religion, culture, sexuality or the way you look. Sometimes there is no reason why a bully will pick on you.
When you’re experiencing bullying it can make you feel isolated and mean you lose all your confidence. No one has a right to make you feel bad or hurt you. If you’re being bullied you need to get help.
Bullying can involve: Name calling Being teased Being ignored or left out Having things taken from you Having rumours spread about you Having your property damaged or graffitied Being physically hurt.
You might experience racial bullying where you get picked on because of your race or culture. This is also known as racism. You could also experience homophobic bullying. This is when you get picked on because of your sexual orientation.
Bullying can also happen online. This is called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can take many forms. It could be sending abusive and threatening text messages, emails or instant messages. It might be spreading rumours on social media sites or sharing information you don’t want to be public. It could also be using your account to write fake posts or be abusive to someone else.
Bullying can have very serious consequences. People who are bullied can become depressed. Some may self-harm and others can become suicidal. Bullying is never ok. If you are being bullied or if you see someone else being bullied you need to get help. Standing up to bullies is never easy but there are people who can support you and help you deal with bullying.
Who should I tell if I’m being bullied?
You should talk to someone you trust if you’re being bullied. Who you talk to will depend on where the bullying is happening. You could tell your parents what’s going on. They will support you and help you decide what to do next.
If the bullying is happening at school you should talk to one of your teachers. If it is at an out-of-school club you could talk to the person who organises and runs it.
Bullying can make you feel very isolated so it’s important to talk to someone about what you’re going through. You might find speaking to a counsellor helps you to cope with bullying.
What can I do about cyberbullying?
You should tell someone if you are being bullied online. Talking to a friend or trusted adult can help give you the confidence to tackle the bullying.
You should never reply to the nasty messages people send you online. Keep the messages so you can show people what you’ve been sent. If the messages are very threatening and serious you can tell the police.
You could block or delete the person who’s bullying you on social networks. You can also block phone numbers from calling you or sending you messages. This can help give you some control over the situation.
If someone uploads a video of you being bullied you should report it. If you see a video of someone else being bullied you should report it too. Don’t like, comment on or share the video or any other nasty posts as this only encourages the bullies.
How can I stand up to bullies?
It can be really difficult to stand up to bullies. If you’ve been bullied you can feel like you have no confidence. But if you practice being assertive it can help you deal with bullying. It can also help you build up your confidence again.
Being assertive doesn’t mean you’re aggressive. It means you can say what you think or feel with confidence but without being rude. If you can make yourself feel more confident it can stop the bullying over time. You should never fight back or feel bad for not fighting back. You also shouldn’t reply to any abusive messages you are sent.
What should I do if I see someone else being bullied?
Standing up to bullies when they’re picking on someone else can be scary but it’s the right thing to do. If you ignore the bullying it will continue and may get worse. You don’t have to confront the bullies yourself. You should get help from an adult to deal with the situation.
If the bullying is happening at school you should tell a teacher what you have seen. You shouldn’t worry that the bully will find out you’ve done this as the teacher should keep that a secret. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a teacher about what you’ve seen you should tell your parents.
You can also help the person being bullied by telling them you’ve seen what’s happening and that you don’t like it. You could offer to support them by going with them to tell a teacher.
I think I’m being bullied but my friends say it’s just banter. What should I do?
Any jokes or actions that make you feel upset, hurt or sad are not ok. Banter is something that you should all find funny. If your friends think what is happening is banter you should tell them that it upsets you. Try to explain why what they’re saying is hurtful. Sometimes people don’t realise that they’re upsetting you if they think they’re joking. If they still continue after you’ve spoken to them then it’s bullying.
You should talk to someone you trust about what you’re experiencing and get some support.
I’ve been bullying someone and I want to stop. What can I do?
If you’ve realised that your actions are hurting someone that’s an important first step. You should think about why you’ve been bullying that person. Is it because there’s something going on in your own life that you are struggling to deal with or that’s making you angry? Talking to someone about your own problems might help.
Once you’ve noticed that you’re being nasty to someone you need to stop behaving in that way. Think before you act. Try to imagine how you’d feel if you received the abusive message you were about to send. Just delete it.
You should also apologise to the person you’ve been bullying. It takes a lot of courage to admit that what you were doing is wrong but it can really help the person you have hurt.
What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is when your friends or peers put pressure on you to do something that you don’t want to. They might put pressure on you to: Try alcohol, drugs or smoke Bully someone else Change your appearance to be like them Skip school Commit a crime Have a boyfriend or girlfriend, or to start having sex.
When you’re in a group it can feel difficult to say no to something especially if everyone else is doing it. But if you don’t feel comfortable you should always say no. Try to be confident when you say no to something. You could suggest a different activity to do instead. If you’re concerned about something your friends are doing try speaking to them one on one. You will feel more confident if you’re not in a group situation.
Did you know?
-81% of children and young people have experienced name calling
-16,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 15 are off school at any one time because of bullying
-67% of children and young people say they feel depressed after being bullied
Please be aware that this is NOT for emergency help. CLICK HERE for information on emergency help.