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Bullying

Bullying can happen to anyone at any age. Being bullied at school, home or online might involve someone pushing you, hitting you, teasing you, talking about you or calling you names. Nobody has the right to hurt you or make you feel bad. If you are being bullied you don't have to deal with it alone. We are here to help you.

ChildLine can help

Boy sitting on a swing and feeling upset because of bullying

If you are being bullied, it can sometimes feel like nothing can make it stop, especially if it has been happening for a long time.

Bullying can leave you feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, worthless and scared - but it doesn't have to be like this.

You are not alone. Talk to a ChildLine counsellor or an adult you trust. It can really help.

"I was a victim of bullying back in school. My advice is to always tell someone straight away and ask for help. Keeping it to yourself will only be more damaging in the long run."

Liam Payne, One Direction

What is bullying?

Bullying can mean many different things and young people have described bullying as:

  • being called names
  • being put down or humiliated
  • being teased
  • being pushed or pulled about
  • having money and other possessions taken or messed about with
  • having rumours spread about you
  • being ignored and left out
  • being hit, kicked or physically hurt
  • being threatened or intimidated

These things can happen at school or at home, but they can also happen online or on social networks.

Bullying can also be part of other forms of abuse, including neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Getting help if you're being bullied

You can get help through ChildLine by:

Building your self-esteem
Experiencing bullying can knock anybody’s confidence. A single insult can stay with you for a long time. Sometimes you may even start believing that the insults are true - even though they aren’t. Nobody deserves to be bullied and it isn't your fault that it is happening. It can happen to anybody.

Check out our video and tips on how you can build your confidence back up if you’ve experienced bullying. We also have advice about building your self-esteem.

You are not alone 
Lots of young people have experienced bullying from name-calling on social networks to physical threats. Get support from other young people who are in the same situation as you on the bullying message board.

  • Why am I being bullied?

    People can be bullied for all sorts of reasons or for no particular reason at all. Sometimes people who bully others pick up on a small thing that makes someone stand out and they use it to hurt them. This might be the way someone looks, the things they like doing or even what kinds of clothes they wear.

    Everyone is different, and it’s these differences that make people who they are. If you are being bullied, then you might think that it's your fault - but it isn't.

  • I am being bullied, what can I do?

    Tell a friend
    Your mates can support you, even if you’re not ready to talk about it in detail. They can help take your mind off it and support you when you tell an adult you trust.

    Tell a parent or guardian
    They should be there for you, even if you’re not ready to take it to your teachers. Find out more about asking an adult for help.

    Tell a teacher
    The teachers in your school have a duty to look after you. You have a right to feel safe at school. Ask about the anti-bullying policy at your school - this should have details of what the school will do to tackle bullying.

    Contact ChildLine
    You can contact ChildLine for free on 0800 1111, anytime. Our counsellors are here to listen to you and can help you think of ideas to stop the bullying. Find out more about contacting ChildLine.

    Find a way to stay safe at school
    Nobody should be made to feel scared about going to school. You have a right to be there. Try to stay away from anyone who is involved in bullying and stay in a group of friends when you don’t feel safe.

    Walk home with someone or get a lift
    If bullying happens on the way home, it might seem really hard to get away from it. Walking with someone, changing your route or getting a lift can help.

    Ask your mates to look out for you
    Your friends can be there for you, even if you don’t want to talk about the details to them. They can support you to tell someone who could help make it stop.

    Don’t fight back
    You could get in trouble or get hurt if you fight back against people involved in bullying. There’s no shame in not fighting back.

    Don’t reply to an abusive message
    Replying to an abusive message could make the bullying worse and might end up upsetting you more. It's a good idea to save these messages so that you can show them to a teacher or another adult.

    Block the bully from contacting you
    Some phones will let you block numbers. You can also block, delete or unfriend other users on lots social networking sites. Stopping them from contacting you could help you feel less stressed and upset.

    Find out about your school’s anti-bullying policy
    It’s useful to know what your school has promised to do if bullying happens. There might be something in the policy that could help you.

  • My friend is being bullied, what can I do?

    Be there for your friend
    Sometimes your friend might not want to talk, but being there to listen whenever they are ready is important.

    Help take their mind off it
    Hanging out, going for a walk, watching a film or playing games together are good ways to take someone’s mind off their problems for a little while.

    Support your friend to help them speak out about bullying
    Opening up to an adult about your problems can be scary. Going with a friend if they’re feeling nervous is a great way to support them.

    Help your friend stay safe at school
    Staying in a group is a good way to help stop bullying during break times. You can also encourage your friend to talk to a teacher about what's going on.

    Walk home with your friend or sit with them on the bus
    It can be hard to get away from people involved in bullying when you are on the way to or from school. Walking with a friend and sitting in a group on the bus could help stop the bullying.

    Speak to ChildLine about what is happening
    You can talk to ChildLine, whatever your worry – even if you are worried about something that’s happening to someone else.

    Tell your friend about ChildLine
    Make sure your friend knows that they can contact ChildLine any time, day or night, online or by phone. We're here to help.

    Find out about your school’s anti-bullying policy
    It can help to know what your school has promised to do if bullying happens. There might be something in the policy that could help your friend.

    Read more about helping a friend.

  • Who can be a bully?

    Anyone could end up getting involved with bullying. Some people may not realise that what they are doing is bullying and might think they are just teasing, but some people deliberately set out to bully someone and make them unhappy.

    You might be bullied by other young people who live near you, or who do activities outside of school with you, like sports or music. You can be bullied by people you have never met through your mobile phone or on the internet.

    Members of your family can also bully you. If an adult bullies a child or young person, this is called physical or emotional abuse and it's really important to tell someone about it. Sometimes people may get bullied by people they thought were their friends. This isn't okay and you shouldn't feel bad about trying to make some new friends.

  • I am a bully, what can I do?

    Admit to yourself that you are involved in bullying
    The first step is admitting that what you are doing is hurting another person. When you know that, you can figure out how to stop.

    Say sorry to the people you are bullying
    It takes a huge amount of courage to admit what you are doing is wrong, and make an honest apology.  

    Think about what is making you bully someone
    Is there something happening in your life which is making you upset, frustrated or angry? If there is, it could help to talk to someone you trust or speak to a ChildLine counsellor.

    Stop yourself from sending an abusive message
    Sending a message, a post, a tweet, an email or a text which is meant to hurt someone else is bullying. Even if you’ve written the message out, you can delete it.

    Stop yourself from sharing or commenting on an abusive post or message
    Even a comment like 'LOL' or a smiley face on an abusive post can make the other person feel much worse, like they’re being ganged up on.

    Find a new way to get people’s respect
    Find a way to gain people's genuine respect. This could be as simple as deciding to answer more questions in lessons. You could practise your favourite sport and become fitter or work on a talent, like singing, dancing or drawing.

    Speak to ChildLine
    You might worry that nobody will help you if you admit to bullying. We won't judge you or put you down - ChildLine are here to listen to you, no matter what your worry is.

  • My teacher is bullying me, what can I do?

    Your teachers have a duty to look after you. If they or any other adult working in the school is being mean to you, this is not fair. You have a right not to be made to feel stupid, be called names or punished unfairly. Talk to another teacher who you trust, perhaps your form teacher, and tell them what is happening. Remember you can always talk to ChildLine if you don't feel you can trust a teacher.

  • I’m getting bullied and I feel alone...

    If you’re experiencing bullying, it can make you feel like lots of people are against you. If you have fallen out with your friends or you feel that your friends are bullying you, remember that it doesn’t have to be like this forever. Things can get better.

    Check out our top tips for making new friends. You could also have a look at our tips for building your confidence and being assertive – these are skills that can help you make friends.

  • I'm too scared to go to school - what should I do?

    Nobody has the right to stop you from going to school. Your school has a duty to protect you from bullying and keep you safe. Try taking a quiet moment to talk to someone you trust and tell them about the problem. That could be a teacher or someone else you feel comfortable talking to. They can get in touch with your school and work out a way to help you.

  • I am being bullied outside school, what can I do?

    If the bullying is happening on your way to or from school there are things you can do to stop this:

    • Plan a different route to school so you don't have to go through the areas where the bullying happens.
    • Keep to well-lit and busy areas so that you don’t have to walk alone at any time.
    • Walk with friends, or older brothers and sisters if possible.
    • If you are being bullied on a bus, sit downstairs rather than on the top deck and tell the driver about what is happening. If it’s a school bus then you can talk to your teacher – they are responsible for you while on a school bus and can help make the bullying stop.
    • Keep a diary of what is happening with dates and times.

    If the people bullying you go to the same school as you, it is a good idea to let the school know what is happening, no matter where or when it is taking place. They may not be able to take action about incidents that happen in the evenings or at weekends, but they can make sure it doesn’t happen in school. If the bullies are being violent towards you, it could be helpful to talk to your parents or carers about involving the police who can help you.

    If you don’t feel that you can talk to your parents or carers, you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111. You don’t have to put up with this on your own.

  • I am being bullied at home, what can I do?

    If you are being bullied at home by one of your siblings (your brother or sister), you should try to talk to your parents or carers about what is happening.  They need to know what is going on so they can help make it stop. 

    If you are being bullied by your parents you could try talking to someone who is close to you. Perhaps you have another family member such as aunt or uncle that you could speak to. If you don’t have another family member to talk to, you could speak to your teacher and tell them what is happening to you. 

    If someone at home is constantly putting you down, this could be emotional abuse. It’s really difficult if this is happening at home, but asking someone you trust for support may help your situation improve.

  • I am being bullied online, what can I do?

    If you’re experiencing online bullying, it can sometimes feel like there is no escape. Remember that you don’t deserve to feel like this and things can get better.

    Here are some things you can do. They can really help.


    • Block and report the people doing the bullying (find out how to do this on different social networks).
    • Save the abusive messages or comments so that you can show them to an adult.
    • Try some activities to help build your confidence – this can help you start to deal with bullying (check out our video to get some ideas).

    Learn more about cyber bullying (including lots of ideas on how you can make it stop).

  • What is 'sexting'?

    ‘Sexting’ is when someone sends, or is sent, sexually explicit pictures or videos on their mobile phone. You might be encouraged to take pictures of yourself naked or film yourself doing things that you may not be happy about and send them to people. There may also be pressure on you to look at explicit messages that people have been sent, and to encourage other people to get involved.

    It’s important to only send pictures of yourself that you feel comfortable with. Remember that once you have sent a picture or video to someone else or put it up online, you have no control about where it will go and who will see it. Before sending anything, take a moment to think how you would feel if it ended up on YouTube or on Facebook. If you wouldn’t want anyone else to see it, don’t send it.

    If someone is trying to get you to send them nude images of yourself, downloading the ChildLine Zipit app can help. Zipit has loads of comebacks and images that you can send back to someone. Get information and advice about sexting.

  • Different kinds of bullying...

    Homophobic
    This is when someone bullies another person because they are a different sexual orientation from you. It might include saying that someone is ‘gay’ or using words like ‘gay’ as an insult.

    Racist
    This is treating people differently because of their race, the colour of their skin, where they are from or what they believe in. It includes using offensive words that describe race to bully people.

    Sexist
    This is treating people differently just because they are female or male. For example, thinking that boys are better than girls.

    Disabilist
    This is treating someone differently if they have a disability, or using offensive language to describe people who are disabled and using this to bully people.

    Lookist
    This is bullying someone because they look different, for example if they have ginger hair or wear glasses.

    Classist
    This is when people decide that someone is from a particular social class and bullying them because of it. For example, calling somebody a 'chav' or 'snob' could be classist bullying.

  • I think I’m being bullied in my sports team but I’m not sure

    If you are not picked for the team, this doesn’t always mean you are being bullied. This can be upsetting, but the coach or team manager often has to pick the strongest side. Some people may have to miss out – but this usually depends on what age or competition level you’re playing at. If you are feeling left out, it may be a good idea to join a team at a different level so you can take part more.

    Some sports are really physical. This means if you get knocked around a bit, it might not be bullying – it could just be a normal part of the sport.

    However, if people who you play sport with keep saying nasty things or keep making fun of you, this is bullying. It is not okay. If this is happening, it is a good idea to ask an adult for help. If you don’t feel like you could talk to an adult involved in the team, you could talk to a family member or a teacher.

  • I want to find out more about...

Other sites that can help

Learn more about bullying and how to get it stopped.
Bullying UK

Find out how to say 'no' assertively and get tips on dealing with bullying people.
Kidscape

Check out this great website about bullying from the BBC. Find out why bullying happens and learn how to think about your own actions.
iWonder - Am I bully?

Online bullying message board

Talk to other young people about your experience.

Go to the online bullying message board

Call ChildLine

You can call ChildLine at any time on 0800 1111 to speak to a counsellor. Calls are free and confidential.

Call ChildLine

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Bullying 

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