Bullying affects lots of different people at any age and can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, in friendships or family groups.
Bullying is a repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone, either emotionally or physically, and bullying is often aimed at people because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance or disability. Sometimes, however, bullying starts out as a ‘joke’ or ‘playful banter’, but it starts to get worse. As soon as these interactions make you feel upset or uncomfortable, embarrassed or scared, it’s time to take action. No one has the right to make you feel this way.
What does bullying look like?
-People calling you names
-Making things up to get you into trouble
-Hitting, pinching, biting, pushing and shoving
-Taking things away from you
-Damaging your belongings
-Stealing your money
-Taking your friends away from you or leaving you out
-Posting insulting messages or rumours online
-Saying insulting things about you or spreading rumours
-Threats and intimidation
-Making silent or abusive phone calls
-Sending you offensive texts or messages
What should you do if you’re being bullied?
Being bullied can make you feel alone, scared, stressed, anxious, ashamed, embarrassed or rejected. But remember: being bullied isn’t your fault. At times, it can make you feel like there’s nothing you can do, especially during times you’re around other people when you’re being bullied – like your friends – and nobody steps in to help you.
But you don’t have to go through this alone. Don’t let the bullies win.
How to get help
Not only is it important to get help if you’re being bullied, but always remember you never have to go through it alone, even when it feels like it. Reaching out to others can help you take action against the bullies.
Tell your bullies to stop. Talking to the people bullying you might be enough. But sometimes bullying can make us feel too scared to speak out, and if so, that’s ok. There are other ways to help make the bullying stop.
Ask your friends to help when the bullying is happening. Maybe your friends don’t realise what’s happening isn’t a “joke” or “banter” and you telling them how the situation is affected you can help them understand and step in.
Ignore the bullies. Bullies keep going if they feel like they’re getting a reaction from you because they feed off reaction. If you ignore what’s happening, it might discourage them.
Think of an adult at home or in school who you can speak to. This should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. Ask them to help you report what’s happened. For example, this might mean talking to a parent and asking them to phone your school and speak to your Head of Year. It helps to write down the things the bully has said or done, so you have evidence of when, where and what has happened.
And lastly – always know you have support! There are many great resources online that can offer you guidance in sorting the bullying out – once and for all. BullyingUK have an online chat and a helpline where you can get support and YoungMinds have great resources on how to stand up to bullying.
Remember: you don’t have to go through the bullying alone. Don’t stay silent, and instead, speak up when bullying is happening. You won’t be alone when you do. Whether it’s speaking to your friends or family, an adult you trust or a counsellor, someone will be there for you. Bullying, in all its nasty ways, is never okay.