Bullying can take many forms. Any time someone deliberately does something to cause you either physical or emotional distress, however big or small, this is bullying. Threatening behaviour, causing physical harm, spreading rumours, name calling, prank texting/calling, sending or posting hateful messages online, deliberately excluding you from friendship groups or group activities – all these things and more can be bullying.
The most important thing for you to know is that bullying is always unacceptable. It isn’t a ‘normal part of growing up’, or of school. It is not ‘just banter’. It can be extremely damaging and have lasting effects on a person’s self-esteem and character.
If you are being bullied the most important thing to do is to seek help. Asking for help and support isn’t a sign of weakness, bullying is never something you should face alone and it isn’t your fault. The best person to speak to is an adult you trust. That could be a family member, a teacher, or a youth worker/mentor. Be as open and honest with them as possible about what’s happened. They will be able to talk with you about possible ways to deal with the problem and bring an end to the bullying.
If the bullying involves a crime you MUST tell the police. A trusted adult will be able to help you report it if you feel nervous.
If you are struggling to think of an adult you trust, you can also access help and support online from various groups, including:
If possible, it’s good to cut off the source of the bullying. For example, if you are receiving hateful messages or prank calls on your mobile phone, it would be a good idea to change your number. If the bullying is on social media, consider blocking those people or even closing your account. If you are being bullied in a particular friendship group, it might be time to consider making some new friends!
It’s not always that simple. But the most important thing is not to do nothing. You are far too valuable to put up with being bullied. Don’t put it off – find someone to help you put a stop to it today!