Are you or is someone you know being bullied?
Bullying is repeated physically or/and emotionally hurtful behaviour. It can take many forms, including:
- Physical bullying - it involves hitting, kicking and other types of physical harm including destruction of one’s possessions
- Verbal bullying - it encompasses name-calling, teasing, intimidating and spreading hurtful rumours
- Cyber-bullying - it involves sending harassing, threatening and humiliating text messages, emails, posts, blogs, etc. as well as spreading hurtful rumours via the Internet and calling on the phone at inappropriate hours
It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online and to anyone. Many children and young people are bullied for race, religion, sexual orientation and even the types of clothes they are wearing, while some are also bullied for no apparent reason.
But nobody has the right to hurt you or make you feel bad. Bullying could be done by friends, family, people at school and strangers – but it’s never ok. There are ways to get it stopped and ways to feel better about yourself.
Even if you feel angry, make sure you
Don’t fight back - You could get in trouble or hurt if you fight back against people involved in bullying. There’s no shame in not fighting back.
Don’t reply to an abusive message - Replying to an abusive message could make the bullying worse. And it could end up upsetting you more. It's a good idea to save these messages so that you can show them to a teacher or another adult.
What you can do and where to get help
Practise being assertive which means being able to stand up for yourself without being aggressive. If you’re assertive, you can say what you really think without being pushy or rude. Sometimes it can be hard to say what you really feel, especially if it means disagreeing with someone else. You can practise being assertive by writing down what you want to say, and choosing the right time to say it. Over time, being a bit more assertive can really help get bullying stopped.
Block the bully - some phones will let you block numbers. You can also block, delete or unfriend other users on lots of social networking sites. Stopping them from contacting you could help you feel less stressed and upset. You can also change your walk home or avoid them in school to stop them talking to you.
Tell a friend - Your friends can support you, even if you’re not ready to tell them all the details. They can help take your mind off it and support you when you’re feeling down. Or they might help you tell the people to stop bullying you. You can also get support from other young people who are in a similar situation to you on Childline's bullying message boards.
Tell an adult - You could tell a parent or someone you trust about the bullying. They can give you advice and support.
Tell a teacher - The teachers in your school have a duty to look after you. And you have a right to feel safe at school. Ask about the anti-bullying policy at your school - this should have details of what the school will do to tackle bullying.
Call Childline - You can always call Childline on 0800 1111 which is free and confidential.
There are lots of organisations that provide support and advice around bullying:
EACH - a freephone Actionline if you experience homophobic bullying 0808 1000 143. (Monday to Friday 10am-5pm)