Bullying

Am I being bullied?

Bullying is when someone hurts, harasses or intimidates someone else on purpose. It can happen in lots of different ways including:

  • Being called names
  • Being teased a lot
  • Being forced to do something you don’t want to do
  • Having rumours spread about you
  • Being attacked or being forced to hand over your money or possessions.

There is no reason why someone is bullied. It sometimes happens because a person is different in some way, such as looking different or even having different interests to others.

Bullying can happen to anyone. If you’re being bullied you shouldn’t feel ashamed, it is NOT your fault. No-one has the right to bully you.

Bullying frightens and upsets people and it can affect your work at school or college, making you anxious or unable to concentrate.

If you’re being bullied you’re not alone, Childline (call 0800 11 11) receives over 30,000 calls a year from young people about bullying.

What to do if you’re being bullied

Advice from local young people who’ve been through it and survived!

  • Don’t keep it to yourself
  • Don’t stoop as low as the bullies because then you’ll be just as bad as them and they’ll have something against you when it comes to ‘who’s done what first’
  • Tell someone, an adult, a parent, a teacher, or even a good friend, you have nothing to be ashamed of
  • If you are told to ignore it, don’t. Tell someone else
  • If you can’t talk to anyone you know, have a look at one of the helplines or websites listed below
  • Remember, things will get better in the future. It won’t be this way forever. All of the young people who gave this advice got through the bullying and went on to make new friends. Bullying helps you find out who your true friends are and you’ll find new friends who you do get along with as you go through life
  • Do NOT feel ashamed, it is NOT your fault
  • Schools should all have anti-bullying policies and are not allowed to tolerate bullying. If you’re being bullied at school, tell a teacher as soon as you can
  • Think about keeping a record of what’s happening. This may help the people you tell to take action to stop the bullying
  • Think about ways of keeping yourself out of harm’s way, for example walking home with friends or asking someone to stay with you if you feel threatened
  • It may be hard but try not to react to the bullying at the time and walk away calmly if you can
  • Try not to show that you’re upset, bullies love to get a reaction
  • And if you see other people being bullied, report it!

Different types of bullying

Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying can mean getting threatening texts or computer messages. It can mean setting up abusive websites or forums, or making and sending round inappropriate photos, pictures, videos or sound bites of you. It can mean receiving silent or abusive phone calls. It is a horrible way of being bullied as it can go on 24/7 and intrude into your own home or personal space.

More and more people use the internet and have mobile phones now. Unfortunately this means that cyber bullying is also on the increase, with one in five 11-19 year olds saying that they have been bullied by computer or mobile phone. This is the most cowardly way of bullying someone. 

On the internet

  • If you don’t know who someone is on the internet never give them your real name, or telephone number or tell them personal details, such as where you go to school
  • Never agree to meet up with anyone you don’t know
  • If someone makes you feel uncomfortable online, always tell an adult
  • Only use chat rooms where you feel safe and where you can stop people seeing your personal info
  • Never picture message or email a photo of yourself unless you don’t mind anyone seeing it
  • Don’t delete threatening emails. Save them, maybe in a separate folder, as they could be used to help track the person sending them to you
  • Don’t reply to abusive or threatening emails
  • Save messages sent to you on your computer. If you are being harassed by a messenger programme, you can ask your service provider for help. Send any saved messages onto them and they should investigate and try to stop the messages
  • If you find that a nasty website has been set up about you, you can contact your local police station. The police can close down the site and help trace the person responsible. You can call the police on 101 to report anything that is not an emergency.

On your mobile

  • Only give out your mobile number to people you trust
  • Get together with your mates and agree not to give out each others mobile numbers without permission
  • Don’t leave your phone unattended
  • Don’t answer withheld calls
  • Don’t delete threatening or abusive texts straightaway. Show them to an adult you trust
  • Do not attempt to retaliate and send texts back
  • Tell someone, your mobile phone provider should be able to easily identify the person sending horrible messages and may be able to block them.

Racial bullying

Racial bullying is about bullying or excluding someone because of their skin colour, religious difference, cultural difference, religion, dress or accent.

Britain is a multi-racial, multi-faith country, everyone has the right to their own culture and religion and to be respected by others. If racial bullying happens to you at school, your school MUST report it.

Gender bullying

This could mean being bullied because your appearance, interests, or the way you act, doesn’t conform or is a bit different to most other people of your gender.

Gender bullying can mean bullying because of your sexuality, so can affect people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual. It can also affect you if you aren’t lesbian, gay or bisexual, but if you are thought to be because of the way you dress, talk or act.

Hate crime

A hate crime is when someone bullies or hurts someone because they are a different colour, religion, sexuality, or because they have a disability.

Racial bullying and gender bullying could both be hate crimes, especially if there is violence involved.

You can report a hate crime by calling the police on 101 if it isn’t an emergency. If you or someone else is in immediate danger always call 999.

You can also report a hate crime by calling independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Useful websites

Helplines

  • Call Childline on 0800 11 11 it is completely confidential
  • For concerns about cyber bullying you can call the police (Child Exploitation and Online Protection CEOP) - 0870 000 33 44
  • National bullying helpline - 0845 22 55 787.
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