Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. People who do it usually have more influence or power over someone else, or want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.
Common feelings include:
- ashamed that this is happening to you
- hopeless and stuck and can't get out of the situation
- like it is your fault
- alone, like there is no one to help you
- like you don't fit in with the cool group
- depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people
- unsafe and afraid
- confused about why this is happening to you
- stressed about what to do.
Telling someone shares the problem. It helps you feel supported.
Bullying is not ok, ever!
It is really important to tell someone, particularly if the bullying has been going on for a while or the strategies you've tried haven't worked.
- Talk to your friends—they can help you tell a teacher or your parents or just to feel better.
- Talk to your parents—tell them the 'who, what, when and where' of what's been happening.
- Talk to your teacher or another staff member—tell them the 'who, what, when and where'. If you don't want to do this where others might hear you, make an excuse to see the teacher about something else, for example, your homework, and talk in private.
- If you can't talk to someone face-to-face, Kids Helpline have online chat and email or you can phone on 1800 55 1800.
Don't be afraid to tell an adult.
Who should you tell?
You could tell your parents, teacher, school counsellor, school nurse, coach or any adult you trust. If you tell an adult and you don't think they are doing anything about the bullying or if the situation isn't improving, tell another adult. Keep telling adults until someone does something to help.
Your school has a responsibility to ensure you have a safe learning environment free from violence, harassment and bullying. Your principal, teachers and school staff need to know about bullying so they can deal with it quickly.
Being bullied is hurtful, scary and confusing. When bullying is aggressive and physical, it can be dangerous. When it’s emotional – like name-calling, or cyberbullying – it’s easy to feel alone.
If you’re being bullied or see someone being bullied, here are some things to do:
- Try to stay calm.
- Don’t let hurtful words beat you down.
- Be a friend - listen, support and speak up (especially if the situation is unsafe).
- Tell them to stop.
- Say nothing and walk away…if you need to, run away!
- Remember – bullies might be in pain, too.
- Get off the internet! Avoid checking the internet (even though you want to).
- Delete accounts where you are bullied. Take a screenshot so that you can share it with your parents or others for evidence and support.
- Don’t respond to online bullies – getting into online conversations/chats can make you feel worse.
- Brush it off with humour.
- Tell someone you trust – friend, parent, teacher, and mentor.
- Avoid “problematic areas” – areas around the neighbourhood or school where bullying can happen.
- Safety in numbers - keep yourself surrounded by people.
- Spend more time with people who make you feel good about yourself (we like this one!).
- Don’t become a bully yourself. If you have – don’t give in to anger; don’t give in to peer pressure. If you can, be a friend – say sorry.
- Ask adults to listen. Tell them, “It’s important.”
- Recognise the signs of depression - sadness, wanting to be alone, poor concentration, sleeping problems, and difficulty in school.
- If you’re feeling very sad or unsafe – always, always find help (best to find a trusted adult).
- If you do not know who to talk to and you feel like you want to hurt yourself - Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.8255.
These strategies should only be tried if you are not in any immediate danger of being physically hurt and you feel confident you can do them.
- Ignore the bullying—turn your back and walk away.
- Act unimpressed or pretend you don't care what they say or do to you. You could say 'Okay, whatever' and walk away.
- Say 'No' or 'Just stop it' firmly.
- Try using 'fogging' to distract or discourage the person without making them annoyed. Fogging means making a joke or funny comment that makes the other person think you don't care about what they say, or pretending to agree with them so they have nothing to bother you about. For example, you could casually say something general like, "Yeah, that's the way it is", or "Okay, since I'm so …. (using the person's bullying words); I'll cope. I better just go then, bye."