What is bullying?
If somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying.
Specific types of bullying include:
- Homophobic bullying based on your sexual orientation
- Racist bullying because of your skin colour
- Religious bullying because of your beliefs or faith.
- Sizeist bullying referring to your body size
- Sexist bullying focusing on you being of the opposite sex
- Cyberbullying targeting you online, often anonymously
- Bullying because you are different
Bullying can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time. And bullying can happen to anyone.
How bullying can affect you?
Bullying can make you feel isolated and worthless, lonely, anxious, angry and lacking confidence. You may experience some or all of these feelings.
Some people who are being bullied develop depression, anxiety and eating problems. They may self harm or turn to drugs and alcohol. If you are experiencing problems like these because of bullying, it’s having an impact on your health. You need to talk to your GP, who will keep any information confidential.
Bullying in any form is hurtful and unacceptable and can make your life miserable.
Get help for bullying
Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.
If the bullying is happening at school – talk to your parents or carers and your teacher. Your teacher may have no idea that you are being bullied, and the school will have an anti-bullying policy to tackle it.
If you feel you can’t speak to your teacher, maybe a friend can do it for you. You can also speak to a school counsellor, welfare officer or nurse.
In extreme cases, if bullying is interfering with your education it may be possible for you to change schools if it doesn’t stop once you have reported it.
If the bullying is happening outside school – talk to your parents or carers, close relatives such as grandparents, aunties and uncles, even your friends’ parents. Youth workers and leaders may be able to help too.
If the bullying is happening online – tell a trusted adult – your parents or carers, or a teacher. You can report abusive posts on Facebook and other social media platforms. You can also report abuse to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).
Keep reporting the bullying until it stops. It may not stop the first time you tell your parents or teacher and they try to stop it. If the bullying continues, tell them again.
If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person who is being bullied, we can support you through our Parents Helpline. We are here to listen to you, and give you free, confidential advice and information.
Don’t put up with it. No one deserves to be bullied
Find help and support for bullying
If you need help or advice about bullying there are helplines and websites that can provide you with information and support:
- ChildLine: ChildLine is the UK's free, confidential helpline for children and young people. They offer advice and support, by phone and online, 24 hours a day. Whenever and wherever you need them, they'll be there. Call 0800 1111. They have a designated page for bullying issues that includes a new video about building up your confidence after bullying.
- Direct Gov: Information for young people on cyberbullying, bullying on social networks, Internet and email bullying, bullying on mobile phones, bullying at school, what to do about bullying, and information and advice for people who are bullying others and want to stop.
- EACH : EACH has a freephone Helpline for children experiencing homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying or harassment: 0808 1000 143. It’s open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm.
- Victim Support: They offer support to young people affected by crime. Their Children and Young People's (CYP) Service also deals with cases of bullying; offering advice and working with professionals to ensure young people get the support they need. You can call their Supportline for free on 08 08 16 89 111.
The websites below have lots of information and advice for anyone who has experienced bullying.
- The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) maintains a website for children and young people, and parents and carers about staying safe online: Think U Know
- Childline: information about bullying
- Kidscape: information for young people
- If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or upset online, talk to an adult you can trust, such as a relative or a teacher. If you would prefer to talk to someone in confidence you can contact Childline (0800 1111)
- If someone has acted inappropriately online towards you, or someone you know, you can report directly to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). It could be sexual or threatening chat, or being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or someone asking to meet up.
Excellent websites for support and guidance