Why is there bullying?
Bullying happens when weak people want to feel more powerful, so they pick on less powerful people and make them feel bad, lonely and isolated. The bullies think that this makes them feel strong and powerful, but they are wrong.
When you are bullied you can feel powerless and alone, but this is not the case. If you are being bullied, you need to talk to a trusted adult – a parent or carer, a friend, a teacher or the school nurse. These people will help you make sense of what is happening and provide support and help find a solution.
Many schools have bullying policies to help sort out the problem or they might have peer supporters. It will depend on your school as to what they have in place to tackle bullying, but they will tackle it. Bullying is not acceptable, and no-one being bullied should suffer alone.
What is bullying?
Sometimes we just have a bad day at school – we might fall out with our friends, which is not much fun but is not bullying because, by the next day or the day after, everything is forgotten and you are friends again. Bullies cause hurt on purpose – they do it more than once and they set out to cause physical or emotional hurt to an individual or a small group of people.
Sometimes when someone is being bullied, other people let it happen rather than stepping in and helping stop it. This might be because they are afraid they will be bullied as well. Sometimes bullies get another person to bully for them – this might be physical, verbal or cyber bullying. Bullies sometimes say they don’t think what they are doing is wrong, but it is.
There are different types of bullying, these include:
Hitting, kicking, spitting, throwing stones or pushing.
Saying insulting things about someone’s skin or hair colour, their size or personal hygiene, name calling, making racist or sexist remarks, using words like ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as an insult or a put-down. It is about singling someone out and making them feel different in a bad way. It can be spreading nasty rumours and telling lies, or whispering loudly and obviously to make someone feel uncomfortable.
Using threatening and rude gestures, staring and giving ‘dirty looks,’ ignoring someone, sending nasty or threatening texts or email messages. Removing and hiding belongings such as coats, bags or PE kit. The decision to deliberately exclude someone from a group or an activity is bullying.
This is sometimes called online bullying or e-bullying. It means bullying using the internet to spread lies, tell secrets or to gossip – this can be through using email or putting messages on a website. It also means using mobile phones to send text messages or video clips and photos that are meant to cause upset and harm.
This is picking on people because their families have two mums or two dads, rather than a mum and/or a dad.
This is when the bully focuses on how bodies change as people grow up. It might be name calling or hurtful photos, or it could be touching people inappropriately on parts of the body such as bottom, breasts or genitals.
What can we do to stop bullying?
Bullying is wrong. Every child has the right to feel safe and secure, and no-one should put up with bullying. If you are being bullied, tell the adults who are responsible for keeping you safe. If you see someone being bullied, do something – tell an adult, because the person being bullied might not feel able to.
You may also want to ring Childline on 0800 1111 if you feel that you have no one you can trust to speak to.