Children & young people info Back to Home
1 What is Bullying?
2 Who Bullies?
3 Why Do People Bully Others?
4 How Bullying Can Affect You?
5 What Can You Do if You Are Being Bullied?
6 What Can You do if You Think Someone Else is Being Bullied?
7 Are You a bully?
8 Is Someone You Know Being Bullied?
9 What to do if You Think Someone is Being Bullied?
10 Technology Bullying

1. What is bullying

Bullying is many different things. Anyone can be bullied - it isn't limited by age, sex, sexuality, cultural or religious background. Bullying is a lot more common than people think and can happen in many different environments including school, at home, on the sporting field or at work.

People are often bullied because of a perceived difference.  The difference can be related to culture, sex, sexuality, physical or mental ability or disability, religion, body size and physical appearance, age, cultural or economic background or being new to a school, work place, to a country, to a social group, or being new to a sports team.

There are many ways that someone can be bullied:


  • Verbal - This includes: *Name calling * Put downs *Threats *Teasing (it might also be extended to written form through email or sms).
  • Physical - This includes: * Being punched *Tripped Kicked * Having your belongings stolen or damaged. It might also include sexual abuse.
  • Social - This includes: *Being left out of social activities deliberately *Being ignored *Having rumours spread about you.
  • Psychological -This includes: * Being given dirty looks or being stalked. * intimidated or manipulated. (This is often less obvious or direct than other forms of bullying).


Being bullied can lower your self-esteem and you may feel alone, sad, depressed, angry, scared or confused. If you are being bullied it is not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you.
Don't be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied as they may be able to help you.

2. Who Bullies

A bully can be an individual, or a group of people. It can either be someone your own age or older, including friends your boyfriend or girlfriend, brother or sister, or an extended family member. A bully can also be an older person, or someone in a position of power such as a teacher, parent or boss.

3. Why do People Bully Others?

There are a lot of reasons why some people bully. Often a bully will have a low self-esteem or has been a victim of violence themselves and they are using bullying as a way of making themselves feel more powerful. If you are experiencing bullying it may help to remember that bullies are often not as tough as they make out.

They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge. Some bullies do it to get attention or things, or to make other people afraid of them. Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying. They may be being bullied themselves.

Some bullies may not even understand how wrong their behaviour is and how it makes the person being bullied feel.


Why are some young people bullied?

Some young people are bullied for no particular reason, but sometimes it's because they are different in some way - perhaps it's the colour of their skin, the way they talk, their size or their name. Sometimes young people are bullied because they look like they won't stand up for themselves.

Why is bullying harmful?

Some people think bullying is just part of growing up and a way for young people to learn to stick up for themselves. But bullying can make young people feel lonely, unhappy and frightened. It makes them feel unsafe and think there must be something wrong with them. They lose confidence and may not want to go to school any more. It may make them sick.

4. How Bullying can Affect you?

Bullying can cause physical injury, stress, intimidation or make you feel as if you are all alone. It might leave you feeling scared and like your options are limited.

You can feel a range of different emotions, including:


  • If its been happening for a while, you may think you are to blame, feel guilty for wanting the bullying to stop and feel like you deserve to be bullied.
  • Feeling like you are stuck or that the situation is hopeless
  • Because bullying can be part of the culture or everyday way of doing things in some places such as school, work, social groups, sporting groups etc, it can sometimes feel like "the world" is against you. It can feel like there is no particular person or group that you can target to try to resolve the issues and stop the bullying.
  • You may feel like changing the way you look or hurting yourself - some people become anorexic or bulimic because it's the only way they feel they can cope with the bad feelings that come from being bullied
  • If you are bullied for being good at something- school work, sport, music, art, work, or in your hobbies- you may feel like giving up, hiding your talents because you want to stop others being jealous or hostile.
  • You may feel rejected or depressed.
  • You may feel like you have to put yourself down in front of others to get accepted.
  • You may feel like you have to become the "class clown" so that people laugh at you rather than hate you.
  • Alienated at school- no one to turn to as sometimes even teachers don't understand. Sometimes teachers bully too.
  • Sometimes teachers feel threatened by students who question and challenge decisions, who think differently or who know more than they do.
  • You may feel like the names people call you are true and start to believe you are worthy of being put-down.
  • You may feel that people look at you on the surface and don't see the real you- for example, if you are in a wheel-chair they may only see the fact that you don't walk, and not that you have a good sense of humour or have strong interests in sport
  • You may feel unsafe or afraid
  • You may feel confused and stressed
  • You may feel ashamed of yourself, family, gender, race or culture, or economic position
5. What Can you Do If you are being bullied?

Bullying is scary and embarrassing. It can make you feel as if it's your fault - it's not! Here are a few things to remember:


  • THIS WILL END. You will not have to feel this bad forever!!
  • Stay calm, bullies LOVE a reaction so don't give them one.
  • If you know a kid who doesn't like you, then STAY AWAY from them.
  • Don't fight back; you may get hurt or make the situation worse.
  • Try to calmly withdraw from the situation
  • DON'T FIGHT BACK OR GET MAD. It'll make the bullying worse. Bullies try to make kids mad so don't let them. STAY CALM.
  • Avoid bad situations where bullies are and being on your own. Walk to school earlier or later or walk with brothers, sisters, neighbours, or friends. Take different paths to school to keep away from the bully. Don't be alone in the school hallways, toilets, empty classrooms, or playgrounds.
  • Stay within site of teachers and grown ups when you are at school.
  • HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS. Bullies pick on kids who are alone.
  • JOIN GROUPS and find friends who like the same things you do.
  • LOOK AROUND SCHOOL. You're probably not the only kid being bullied. Make friends with other kids who are alone. Maybe you can help other kids.
  • Sit near the bus driver on the school bus.
  • Don't get mad GET FUNNY. It shows that you're not scared and it can diffuse the situation.
  • Project confidence.
  • CHECK OUT THE WAY YOU ACT. Slouching, looking at the ground or your feet, and fidgeting show that you're not sure of yourself. Hold your head up and stand up straight. Look confident - bullies pick on you if they think you are afraid of them.
  • DON'T ACT SCARED. If you BELIEVE IN YOURSELF other kids will notice.
  • THINK OF THINGS TO SAY AHEAD OF TIME. Keep them short and don't say anything mean (don't be a bully yourself).
  • DON'T BRING EXPENSIVE STUFF OR LOTS OF MONEY to school. Bullies pick on kids who bring things they can take. It's not worth getting hurt. Things can be replaced but you can't!
  • If the bully won't stay away from you, then IGNORE THE BULLY and WALK AWAY. The bully wants you to get mad so don't. It's harder for the bully to bully you if you are not there.
  • Don't be afraid to tell an adult you trust. Telling is not snitching! If you are afraid to tell your parents, then tell your grandparents, brothers or sisters, or a grown-up you trust. Tell your teachers - they will be able to help and use discreet tactics to tackle the bullies. Even if you just want to talk about it, they will listen.
What You Should Tell Others?
  • WHAT happened to you and WHAT YOU DID.
  • WHO BULLIED YOU and WHO SAW it happen.
  • WHERE IT HAPPENED and HOW OFTEN it happened.
  • WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING that happened to you in your diary. Don't forget to write about things that other kids and grown-ups did for you.
  • GET HELP. Talk to a teacher. It's their job to stop the bullying. If you are scared, then take a friend along. Tell your teacher when the bully is not around. If you can't tell them in person, then write a note.
  • SEE YOUR DOCTOR OR SCHOOL NURSE. Ask them to write down any scrapes or bruises and show it to a grown-up.
  • KEEP A DIARY. Sometimes it helps to remember the good things that happened.
6. What can you do if you see someone else being bullied?

If you see someone else being bullied you should always try to stop it. If you do nothing, you're saying that bullying is okay with you. It's always best to treat others the way you would like to be treated.  You should show the bully that you think what they're doing is stupid and mean. Help the person being bullied to tell an adult they can trust.

7. Are you a bully?

Have you ever bullied someone else? Think about why you did it and how you were feeling at the time.  If you are sometimes a bully, try to find other ways to make yourself feel good.

Most bullies aren't liked, even if it starts out that way.  Remember, it's best to treat others the way you would like to be treated.

8. Is Someone you Know Being Bullied?

Bullying may be difficult to see as it may happen when the person is alone.  People experiencing bullying may be scared to tell anyone or feel ashamed about being bullied so they may try to hide what is going on. Some indications that someone is being bullied are:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Vagueness (especially around certain topics)
  • Unusual behaviour
  • Seeing the person be hassled
  • Physical injuries

Take care that you don't immediately assume that the problem is bullying.  These signs may be visible for a whole range of reasons, not only because they are being bullied. Someone may show these signs because of the person they are, or they may be dealing with other issues in their life.

9. What to do if you Think Someone is Being Bullied

Talk to Them - It is a good idea to talk to the person you think is being bullied to find out what is going on with them. Try to remember that the person you are talking with may be very sensitive about the situation and may be scared.

Let Them Know you Care - Help them feel good about themselves.  If a person is being bullied their confidence may be low and they may feel lonely. It helps to let them know that you are a friend and care about them.  It can often help to point out all the great things they have to offer to help them to feel good about themselves.

Include the Person into your Group - Making a special effort to include the person into your group may help increase the persons confidence.

Stick up for Them - If you see someone is being bullied it may be helpful to stick up for them.  Take care to ensure that in trying to stick up for the person being bullied that you don't make the situation worse or put yourself in danger.

Speak to Someone - Letting someone else know about the situation may help you to solve the problem. A teacher, counsellor, or another adult could be helpful people to talk to. It may also be helpful to involve the person experiencing the bullying in this process.  Together you can go and talk to someone about the situation.

10. Technology Bullying

Cyber Bullying

With today's ever changing technological advances, other forms of bullying and ways of bullying have advanced with them. There are now other mediums which bullies use to get at their victims.

Cyber bullying is a form of bullying, which is carried out through an internet service such as email, chat room, discussion group, online social networking, instant messaging or web pages. It can also include bullying through mobile phone technologies such as SMS.

Examples of cyber bullying behaviour are:

  • Teasing and being made fun of;
  • Spreading of rumours online;
  • Sending unwanted messages; and
  • Defamation

Cyber bullying can happen to anyone and the bully can act anonymously if they want. People can also be bullied online by groups of people such as class groups or collective members of an online community.

It's really important to learn how to protect yourself online and to learn how to respond if you or a friend is being cyber bullied. Read on for more info.

How you might be feeling if you are being cyber bullied

Just like bullying in real life, there can be terrible effects on those who experience cyber bullying.

Being bullied can lower your self-esteem and you may feel alone, sad, angry and scared. If you are being bullied it is not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you. Don't be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied as they may be able to help you.

How to stop cyber bullies

If you are being cyber bullied it is possible that you're feeling powerless and isolated.

But, there are options and you can do things to stop the problem.

1.Keep a record (including time and date). This may help you (or the police) to find out who is sending the messages.
2.Tell someone. Talk to someone you trust, a parent, friend, school counsellor or teacher.
3.Contact your phone or Internet service provider and report what is happening. They can help you block messages or calls from certain senders.
4.If messages are threatening or serious get in touch with the police. Cyber-bullying, if it's threatening, is illegal. You don't need to put up with that!
5.Don't reply to bullying messages. It'll only get worse if you do. By replying the bully gets what he or she wants. Often if you don't reply the bully will leave you alone.
6.Change your contact details. Get a new user name for the Internet, a new e-mail account, a new mobile phone number and only give them out to your closest friends.
7.Keep your username and passwords secret. Keep your personal information private so it doesn't fall into the hands of someone who'll mis-use it.


Mobile Phone and e-mail Bullying

The mobile phone seems to have become one of life's necessities for children - it is reported that nine out of ten children have one - usually as a tool for protection and safety.

Unfortunately many of these children run the risk of being 'phone bullied'.

Texts and voicemails are being widely used as a bullying method. There is now also a craze called 'happy slapping' where children are bullied, the images of which are filmed and sent to others via video phones.

Mobile phone bullying can include:
  • abusive verbal and text messages;
  • threatening verbal and text messages;
  • silent calls;
  • stolen identity.

If the calls are frequent it may be possible to charge the perpetrator under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

It may also be possible to charge the perpetrator of the anonymous or abusive calls with an offence under the Telecommunications Act 1984.

Happy Slapping

A New form of bullying - Watch out for "happy slapping" the latest youth craze to sweep Britain.  It's not a new dance step or even a new designer drug.  It's a CRIMINAL ASSAULT.  It generally involves groups of teenagers approaching an unsuspecting person and start to punch and kick him or her while capturing it all on their mobile camera phone. The images are later uploaded and shared on the internet.

If you are an accessory to this 'yob culture' the criminal justice system will not tolerate this behaviour and will prosecute.  If you have information, are a victim, or know anyone related to these incidents please tell your teacher, parent or local police station.

Advice for young people - Please click here to download