WHAT IS BULLYING?
Bullying is when someone:
- keeps picking on you again and again and tries to make you feel bad
- says or does lots of mean things that upset you
- makes fun of you a lot
- tries to stop you from joining in or make others not like you
- keeps hurting you such as hitting or punching you.
Bullying feels awful. You feel like you can’t stop it.
Bullying can happen in person or online (sometimes called cyberbullying). It might be something other people can see or it might be hidden.
Sometimes you might have a fight or argument with someone. If it happens once, it is not bullying even though it can be upsetting. It is also not bullying if you sometimes fight with a friend and you can sort it out.
Bullying is not okay. You have the right to feel safe.
If you don’t feel safe, get help right now from your mum, dad, teacher, or another adult who will listen to you!
There are lots of things you can do to deal with bullying. Below are some ideas.
Walk away AND ASK FOR HELP!
Sometimes this can be the safest option. If you choose to walk away, go and speak to a teacher or someone in the school who you trust, especially if the bully has physically hurt you. This is VERY important as it is possible the person who is doing the bullying will follow you until they get the response they are looking for.
Responding to a bully may help give you a greater sense of power and control. A person’s confidence plays a big part in being able to respond to a bully. Even if you are not feeling confident, it helps to behave as if you are. Appear confident, body language and words need to communicate ‘confidence’. Confident body language includes:
- having straight posture (don’t slump)
- holding your head up straight
- making eye contact
- using your voice calmly yet firmly (do not express anger)
- having a pleasant but blank facial expression. Note: If you keep a ‘poker face’, the bully may not be able to tell how you are feeling. This is important, as a bully wants the person who they are bullying to feel hurt, sad, confused, upset or angry (or a combination of these). If you don’t appear upset or distressed you will not provide any reinforcing feedback to them. (It can be hard to do this so don’t worry if you’re not able to hide a fearful or upset reaction)
Talk to someone
If you are being bullied, it is important to tell an adult you trust, e.g. a teacher, parent or counsellor etc. When you speak to this person, try to take your time telling your story – be honest about who is hurting you and what you would like done about it. If you speak to a person at school and the bullying continues, ensure you go back to that person and let them know. It can also help to keep a diary of bullying incidents including who was involved, the time it occurred, what happened and who you told about it. If you are worried about the person you tell acting to stop the bullying before you are ready, and possibly making it worse, then make sure you tell them how you are feeling about that. Depending on how severe the bullying is it may be okay to talk about it first, before any action required to stop it is taken.
What else can I do?
Within your school, you may want to talk to teachers about setting up a peer support system or peer mediators where selected students are chosen to support and empower students to work toward a non-violent school community.
Also, if you are being bullied, it is important that either you or your parents/carers request a copy of the school’s Anti Bullying Policy. Every school should have one and it will provide you with some guidelines as to how your school should be managing the situation. The school does have a duty of care to you which means they have a responsibility to ensure you are SAFE when at school.
When you see others being bullied
It’s important to respond when you see others being bullied!
If you see someone being bullied at your school, it is really important that you do not stand around and watch it happen. Take a stand against it by speaking to a teacher or the school counsellor. If every student acts when they witness bullying, it will go a long way to stopping it.