- What is bullying
- How do you know it’s bullying?
- Different types of bullying
- Tips for avoiding bullying and what do you do if you are being bullied?
- What if you are bullying other children?
Bullying is when someone keeps hurting someone else because they think they’re more popular, smarter, stronger or better than them.
Bullying is very hard for anyone to deal with. It makes you feel afraid, alone, sad, angry and put down. Bullying can make you feel like you are worthless. Bullying also makes you stop wanting to go out because you are scared you might see the person bullying you. Lots of children who are bullied even start blaming themselves, asking themselves if they can do anything right?
- bullying happens again and again (it’s not just a one-time thing)
- the bully has thought about it and planned it
- the bully means to hurt you, it is not an accident
- bullying is cruel and causes pain to your body and/or your feelings
- bullying is one sided – the same person is always being picked on, the same person always does the bullying
- the bully seems to have more power (even if they are not physically bigger or stronger) than you
So, what is the difference between bullying and teasing?
- teasing usually involves laughing together (not laughing at) and having fun
- is done by someone who cares about you – friends, or family members
- does not cause strong feelings of being hurt
- goes both ways – there is no power imbalance
- is not cruel – if you tell the person they are hurting you, or ask the person to stop, they do
Different Types of Bullying
There are lots of ways that a person can be bullied.
- Physical Bullying
Physical bullying is when someone hurts you on your face or body or damages your property. For example:
- kicks hits punches, pushes or chokes you (this is assault – it is illegal)
- trips you or makes you fall
- forces you to do things you do not want to do
- takes your belongings, demands money
- breaks your stuff
- pulls down your pants
- snaps your bra
- touches your private parts or touches you in any way that feels uncomfortable (this is sexual abuse – it is illegal)
- Verbal Bullying
When someone hurts you with their words, for example
- saying nasty things to you
- threatening you
- mocking or taunting you
- insulting you or your family members
- swearing at you or calling you names
- using inappropriate sexual language that disturbs, threatens or upsets you
- Emotional or Relational Bullying
When someone hurts you in your heart (your feelings), or tries to destroy your relationships and friendships. For example:
- leaving you out of a group or activities
- frightening or threatening you (intimidation)
- spreading rumours about you
- telling others to stop liking you
- staring at you
- making a fool of you
- trying to change your opinions or beliefs in a false or sneaky way (manipulation)
When someone uses the internet, smart phone or other technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target you. For example:
- posting hurtful images
- making online threats
- sending hurtful emails or texts
Cyberbullying is very dangerous because the internet allows the bully to stay anonymous, and because you can be targeted anywhere, any time (not just at school, or in one place)
- Sexual Bullying
When someone targets a person sexually with repeated, harmful, and humiliating actions. For example:
- sexual name-calling
- crude comments
- vulgar gestures
- unwanted touching
- pornographic materials
Sexual bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional or cyberbullying.
Sexual bullying is extremely serious and often opens the door to sexual assault.
Tips for avoiding bullying
- Try to stay in safe areas of the school during breaks, between classes or at aftercare.
- On the school bus or taxi, try to sit near the driver, or if it’s an ordinary bus, by other adults.
- If you have to walk and you’re afraid of the bully finding you, see if you can change your route, or leave home and school a bit later or a bit earlier, or see if you can walk with other people who live near you, even if they’re older or younger.
- If you have a cell phone, be careful who you give your number to – never giver your personal information to anyone you don’t know, and only give your number to friends that you like and trust.
- If you want to report bullying at your school, tell a teacher when there isn’t anyone else around. People who are being bullied need friends so if you can help someone you should.
- Tell your parent or teacher that you are worried about being bullied so that they can help you to feel safe.
What do you do if you are being bullied?
Remember: Any kind of bullying is UNACCEPTABLE. Bullying is the choice of the bully – it is never the fault of the victim.
Think about it: people who are tall get bullied, and people who are short get bullied. Kids who do well at school get bullied, and kids who struggle to pass get bullied. Skinny children get bullied, and chubby children get bullied – it’s not about you, it is about the bully.
If someone chooses to take advantage of any power they think they have, it is they who are responsible for their choices.
You also don’t have to give the bully any power – If you don’t care about what other people think, they can’t hurt your feelings.
If you are being bullied, or you know someone who is being bullied, you need to tell someone.
You may not want to do this because you are worried that others will think you are weak, or because you are scared that it will get worse if you tell. But it is very important to tell someone – otherwise, it may not stop.
If you receive threatening phone calls or emails, save all the messages (evidence), block the number/email it came from and tell your parents. It is against the law for anyone to send offensive or threatening phone messages and if it continues, it is harassment. The police can, and do, take action.
Speak to a friend, parent, brother or sister, uncle or aunt or an adult you trust who will help you.
If it happens at school, speak to your teacher.
You can also phone Childline 08000 55555
The most important thing to do is admit to yourself that you are bullying others, and that it is hurtful and harmful.
Then you need to think about why you might be doing this. Does bullying others make you feel powerful, or better about yourself? Do other kids like you? Or are they scared of you?
It is also important to think about how it would make you feel if people were embarrassing you, hurting you or stealing from you? Maybe this is actually happening to you and you have started bullying others to feel better.
Remember bullying is unacceptable, and there are no excuses for it. But, everyone is entitled to a second chance. If you want to change your behaviour, ask yourself:
- What made me start bullying?
- Why do I pick on people?
- How does it make me feel when I am bullying somebody?
- If I want to, how do I stop?
It is very helpful to talk to someone you trust, who won’t judge you, but will help you – a parent, a friend, a teacher, or a family member. You can also call Childline 0800055555