What is bullying?
Bullying and cyberbullying can mean lots of different things. It can happen anywhere, including online, at school or at home.
Bullying can include:
- being called names, teased or humiliated
- posting, commenting on or liking nasty photos, videos or posts about you online
- being pushed, hit or hurt
- having money and other stuff stolen
- spreading rumours or starting group chats about you
- being ignored, left out or made to feel like you're not wanted
- being threatened, intimidated or sent nasty messages
- trolling you or commenting on your posts or pictures saying nasty things
- someone revealing personal details without your permission
- targeting you over and over again in an online game.
Dealing with bullying
Report it and block people
If someone’s harassing or bullying you online, you can report it on the site or app. Even if someone else has reported it, making a report yourself can make it more likely the content will be removed. Don't reply to abusive messages or posts as this can make things worse.
Keep a diary of what's been happening and when, and take screenshots of online messages. This can help you prove what's been happening.
Tell someone at school
If you’re being bullied by people at school, your school has a responsibility to support you. If you have screenshots or evidence of what's been happening, show them to a teacher you trust.
Practise being assertive
Being assertive means standing up for yourself without being aggressive. It can help you feel more confident and in control when someone's bullying you.
Get support from someone you trust
You don’t have to cope with bullying alone. Talking to an adult you trust can help you to find ways to stop the bullying. If you don’t know who to talk to, talk to us.
Take a break from checking messages
It’s natural to want to see what people are saying when they’re bullying you. But taking time away from your phone or device, even for a few minutes, can help you to feel calmer.
Can I talk to the police?
Most bullying isn't against the law, but you may be able to talk to the police if someone commits a crime against you, including:
Taking care of your mental health
Bullying can have a big impact on how you feel. Even if it's stopped it can take time to feel better. But there are things you can do to cope.
Watch: How to cope after bullying
Supporting someone who's being bullied
It can be difficult to know where to start with helping someone who's being bullied. But just a few words of support and showing that you care can make a massive difference.
- Let them know you're there for them
Listening and letting someone who's being bullied know you're there if they want to chat can make a massive difference. Chatting to them regularly and saying you're there for them can help them feel less alone.
- Help them to get support
You could offer to go with them to report the bullying and help them think about what they want to say. Or you could help them report it on social media.
- Think before you like or comment on something
Liking, sharing or commenting on a post designed to bully someone can make it more popular and visible, even if you're not supporting it. Don't respond to a post, even if you're not sure if it's meant to bully someone.
- Help to distract them
Help them to take their mind off things for a short while. You could watch a film, play sports or a game together.
- Be positive around people
Whether it's posting positive things online, or being friendly to people at school, being positive can help lots of people to feel better.
help IF YOU'RE BULLYING SOMEONE
Bullying someone else isn’t okay. But if you’re doing it and want to stop, there are things you can do:
- Recognise what you're doing is bullying
You might want to dismiss what’s happened as just a joke, or think that it’s okay because you’re not the only one. But sending nasty messages, sharing a post or liking something that’s been made to make someone feel bad, is bullying. It can be hard to accept this and we've got advice to help if you're feeling guilty.
- Delete and don’t send any more posts or messages
Stop whatever you were doing to bully someone, don't post or share things and don't message the person. Go back and delete old posts or messages.
- Don’t stay on group chats or pages
Even if you don’t participate, if you stay on a group chat then you’re encouraging other people.
- Say sorry
Apologise to the person you bullied or sent messages to. Offer them support if you can, but respect their wishes if they don’t want to talk to you.
- Encourage others to stop bullying too
Talk to others who've been bullying and encourage them to stop. Sometimes it only takes one person to make a big change.
- Plan for the future
Think about how you want to behave online in the future, and what you could do if you want to do this again. Try asking an adult for help if you're struggling with difficult feelings.