Bullying is when someone, or a group of people, says or does something that hurts, embarrasses, frightens or upsets somebody else on purpose. Being bullied can leave someone feeling sad, lonely, scared, and worried.
Bullying can be one single event or many things that happen over time – bullying is often hidden from adults. If you, or someone you know, are being bullied, remember that things can get better and there are people out there who can help!
The facts are:
- Bullying is NEVER cool, it’s not “just being funny”.
- Bullying is NOT just a part of growing up, and it's NEVER OK.
- Getting bullied is NEVER your fault.
- Bullying is NEVER something that someone deserves.
- EVERYONE has the right to be treated with respect and to feel safe wherever they are!
What are the different kinds of bullying?
Some different kinds of bullying behaviour are:
Physical bullying includes:
- hurting someone’s body in any way, such as pushing, pinching, punching, kicking, or tripping someone up
- taking someone’s money or food
- damaging another person’s property
Verbal bullying includes:
- name-calling or put-downs
- swearing or shouting at another person
Social bullying includes:
- leaving someone out or ignoring them
- telling others to be mean to someone
- telling lies or spreading rumours about someone
- playing nasty pranks on someone to embarrass them
Cyber bullying includes:
- bullying behaviour using technology
- harassing someone, or putting someone down, using a mobile phone or on social websites like Facebook
- setting up an offensive website about another person
- excluding someone on a social website or game on purpose
Cyber bullying can happen anytime – in public for others to see, or in private when only the bully and the target know what’s happening.
What can you do if you feel bullied?
If you're being bullied, and feel worried or scared, you need help from someone you trust. You could get support from your family, friends, or a teacher, or you could call us at 0800 What's Up – after all, our counsellors are here to listen and support you. We can explore your options, and help you figure out what to do.
Other things that could help:
- walk away or leave the room
- stick close to kids who are nice to you and who you feel safe with
- don't keep it a secret – tell the people who care about you, so you don’t have to go through this alone
- ask an adult for help. It’s important to find the right adult to talk to, so if the first adult doesn’t help in the way you need them to, keep trying until you find the right adult who listens and takes action to help you out
If you’re feeling confident you could also:
- ask the person to stop
- act unimpressed – you could say things like "Maybe", or "Whatever you say’'
Don’t let them bring you down!
Doing things you enjoy like playing games, listening to music, reading books, playing sports, and hanging out with caring people are positive things you can do for yourself. This might not stop the bullying, but it'll help you manage your feelings, and help you to get through the tough times.
If you're being cyber bullied, here are some helpful tips from NetSafe:
- tell a parent or caregiver
- don’t reply to the message or image
- save the evidence
- block the sender
- report the situation to the website or NetSafe
- you can even report the cyber bullying to the police
If reporting the bullying to the website or to the police sounds really scary to do on your own, give us a call at 0800 What's Up. Maybe we could do a three-way call to report it with you, or help you come up with a plan to get help from mum, dad, or a teacher.
Is someone you know being bullied?
If someone you know is being bullied, they need your help! Sometimes people don't say or do anything because they're afraid they will be bullied as well – but if nobody does anything, things won’t change, and could even get worse.
You may not be able to stop the bullying yourself, but you can help. Don't stand by and let bullying happen at your school or anywhere else – other kids will look up to you if you take a stand against it.
There are some things you can do:
- tell the person acting like a bully to stop
- don’t watch or join in
- talk to a teacher
- try to comfort and/or include the person who's being bullied
- ask them if they're okay
- tell your friend you don’t like the way they're being treated
- explain to the person being bullied that it's nothing to do with them – it's all about the other person's behaviour
- call 0800 What’s Up for support and to talk through a plan of action
Have you bullied someone and want to change?
Other people usually don't like bullies! If you have been called a bully it's probably because someone may believe the way you have behaved is not fair and is unkind. Here are some things to do if you have been unkind and you want things to change:
- think about your behaviour and how you would feel if someone behaved the same way with you
- own up to your part in what happened and the thing you did
- say sorry, and apologise to the person who is hurt, or you could write them a letter if you’re not able to talk to them
- remove any unkind posts, messages or pictures that you have sent online
- talk to an adult about what happened, how you are feeling now, and ask for their help
- think about why you were behaving this way – there is no excuse for the behaviour, but there could be reasons for why you did it