- hurts or upsets someone
- targets someone and leaves them feeling powerless to stop it
- happens on purpose
- happens more than once.
Bullying can take many forms:
- Verbal – being called nasty names, being teased and made fun of, being threatened or put down
- Physical – being hit, kicked, punched, tripped up, knocked down, or being forced to do things you don’t want to do
- Emotional – having rumours or gossip spread about you, people talking about you behind your back, being excluded or isolated
- Online – having hurtful or embarrassing things posted online, getting nasty messages or being threatened online through apps such as Snapchat or Instagram. Someone using a fake profile on a social network to make fun of others. Targeting someone by misusing personal images or targeting someone by misuse of private, explicit images including sexual images.
Some people may say that bullying is just banter, but banter is when everyone is in on the joke and enjoys it. It is not banter when it doesn’t stop if someone is hurt, upset, offended or excluded.
Dealing with bullying
People bully others when they want to feel powerful and prove something to themselves and others. But no one has the right to bully you, and you don’t have to deal with it alone. Although it can be hard to tell someone what’s happening, there are plenty of people and organisations who can help you. Telling someone will help you take control of the situation and not feel powerless. There are also some great ways to stand up for yourself. Kidscape has some great advice on using assertiveness.
If you see or know someone is being bullied, you can help. Report it to a teacher or your family. Talk to the person being bullied, offer support and encourage them to get help. Be their friend and never join in or share any rumours, posts, pictures or comments.
Don't be a bully
There are lots of reasons why people bully others. So if you’re bullying someone, it’s worth trying to understand why. Thinking about the impact of your behaviour is so important and asking for help to change your behaviour is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.
Where can I get help?
The best thing you can do is talk to an adult you trust, such as a family member or teacher. This may seem difficult but it can make a real difference. Secondly, check out these links below. If you need immediate confidential support, call:
- Childline – open 24 hrs. Free phone number: 0800 1111
- MEIC – open 8am – midnight 7 days a week. Free phone number: 0808 80 23456 or you can text 84001