Bullying & you

Bullying takes many forms: leaving people out of a social circle, cyberbullying or trolling, tweeting unkind stuff and posting lies of someone on FB and so on. Sometimes the bullying is pretty obvious –a constant stream of hate over the internet and dreading going to school. But sometimes bullying is more subtle—it’s our friends who bully us while saying “I’m just joking!”

Bullying is intended to make people feel bad about themselves. When you’re bullied, you might feel very lonely, frightened and ashamed. You may find it hard to make friends or to talk to people your age. We’ve been there—It can really get to our self-esteem.

If you are feeling bullied, how can you stop it?

Please don’t blame yourself or let them get to you. Bullying of any kind is not okay, and you don’t have to put up with it. Everyone has a right to feel safe at school and outside school. Your school is obliged to prevent all forms of bullying. Everyone deserves to feel positive and unique.

Don’t believe what the bullies are saying – they often don’t know what they are taking about or are just saying things because they have issues in their own life. Try to let it go.

Remember also that the Facebook friends list is called a ‘friends’ list for a reason. If someone is not behaving like one— de-‘friend’ them.

Don’t hide what’s happening—Speak to someone about it. The more you’re able to identify what your needs are and speak up for yourself, the better you’ll be at managing situations like this. Confide in a parent or teacher. Explain what’s been happening and see if you can get help, or think up a solution together.

If you’re worried that talking to a teacher or parent will make things worse, you can always call a bullying helpline, such as Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline @ 1-800-872-5437, open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, http://www.thursdayschild.org or ChildLine (for UK on 0800 1111), explain them the situation and ask for advice. These advisers will help any child or young person whatever the problem, and they won’t judge you.

Check out www.nhs.uk/livewell/bullying. You’ll find information about talking to teachers and parents, and the contact details of anti-bullying organizations and helplines.