Nearly everyone gets bullied at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is being bullied there are things you can do to stop it happening.
What is bullying?
Bullying isn't just being beaten up, it can be physical or mental - teasing, being threatened and name calling are all types of bullying.
People get bullied for many different reasons, often for things they should never be made to feel ashamed of such as looking different or being clever. No matter how strong they seem, bullies often pick on other people because they feel weak or insecure themselves.
If you're being bullied
The effects of bullying can be serious and in the most extreme cases can affect a victim of bullying for the rest of their life. If you are being bullied you may be feeling trapped, alone, unconfident and find it harder to make friends or talk to other people. You may find it hard to concentrate and your studies might also be suffering because you're worried about could happen at school the next day.
The most important thing that you can do if you're being bullied is to tell someone about it, especially if you are worried about your safety.
Telling someone might be scary or embarrassing, but there are people out there who will be able to help and support you. Remember its not your fault if you're being bullied, and you do not deserve it. Try telling a friend, family member, teacher or someone you trust who will listen to and support you.
There are also a few things that you can do yourself that may make a bully think twice about picking on you:
- act a bit more confidently - people who bully will often pick people out who seem quiet and reserved, so if you look like you're full of self-belief, it's likely they'll leave you alone
- if you get bullied on your way home from school, try and walk home with a group of friends or get an adult to meet you at the gate - it may sound embarrassing, but you'll be better protected if you're with a group of people
- although it's tempting to hit back, it's a bad idea as you may get yourself into trouble if you're provoked into a fight.
If you know or see someone being bullied
If you know someone who is being bullied or see someone being bullied, do something about it. By not saying or doing anything, you're allowing the bullies to get away with it and letting someone else suffer. You could try speaking to the bullies yourself (as long as you do not put yourself in danger) or tell somebody who you think will be able to help, like a teacher or parent. If you see someone being physically attacked, you can report it to the police.
If you're bullying others
If you are or have been bullying someone you might be worried about what people will think if you admit it. You might also be worried that you will get in to trouble if you admit it. Try tackling to someone you trust about what you have done and why you bully. Remember it is brave to admit that you have done something you are not proud of. If you talk to a teacher they will be able to give you support and advice about how to stop your bullying.
If you want to talk to someone anonymously call one of the help lines listed below, they are trained to give advice and support not only to victims of bullying, but also to bullies themselves.
Anti-bullying schemes at school
Your school should have an anti-bullying policy in place that aims to protect students against harassment and abuse. Try and get hold of a copy and bring it with you when you tell a teacher about the problems you're having.
Some schools also have older pupils who volunteer to be 'buddies' to victims of bullying. They can give advice and support, and give you another way of reporting cases of bullying if you're not comfortable with reporting your difficulties to another adult.
For more information on bullying follow the link below.