Sometimes friends fall out and this can be upsetting. It is not bullying when you disagree with someone or have words about something. In these situations it's just a one off and you feel you can do something to make it better or sort it out.
Bullying is when someone chooses to say or do things that make you feel unhappy or scared. It goes on and on, and you just don't feel that there is any way of defending yourself against it.
Bullying can include:
- Hitting, kicking or pinching you
- Saying mean things about you
- Calling you names because of your language, religion or culture
- Threatening you
- Taking things from you or damaging your things
- Spreading rumours about you
- Ignoring you or leaving you out - this can be 'virtual' on social networking sites as well as in the 'real world'
- Sending rude or threatening texts or emails
- Putting unpleasant things on the internet about you
Why are they picking on me?
No-one deserves to be bullied. Bullies can make up lots of reasons for being mean, and saying or doing nasty things, but none of these reasons are any good. Remember you are not alone, and there are people who can support you.
What can I do if I am being bullied?
It can be helpful to talk to an adult you can trust, so they can help it to stop - like a teacher, parent, relative, or youth worker.
You can also call ChildLine on 0800 1111 for advice or support. ChildLine is there to listen, to help you talk about anything you need to. Your call will be kept private unless they think that you or someone else is in danger or at risk of harm.
There are links at the bottom of this page under 'Where to get help'.
Here are some other things that you can do:
Try to look calm and confident (this can be difficult at times). Some bullies are trying to get you to look upset and you can take away their fun by refusing to give them what they want.
Talk to another student at your school, like a peer mentor.
Think about when the bullying happens. Can you avoid that place or person? Can you get support from friends so you aren't on your own?
Try joining a club, self-defence, art, dance, or martial arts. All of these activities can help you feel more confident.
Does your school have a 'Comments box' or private email system for reporting bullying? If you let people know about your worries, your teacher could spend some time discussing with your class ideas about how to deal with bullying.
Be careful with your personal details, like your email address, phone number, home address. Don't give them out to people you don't know.
Keep talking and get support from your teacher, youth worker, friends and family.
If you are hurt or your belongings are damaged, keep evidence to show an adult. This could be a photo.
They keep sending me nasty texts. What can I do?
Never give out your home address, your school, your email address or your phone number on the Internet. It might not seem like it, but the Internet is a public place and people that you would never choose to give your information to, could see it without you knowing.
If you are bullied by text message, keep the messages and show an adult. With their help you can block that person from your phone. If necessary, your phone number can even be changed so they can't get in touch with you.
Ask for your school's 'Safe internet use' policy. This can have lots of useful information about what your school has put in place to stop people using the internet or their mobile phone in a wrong way.
What do I do if know someone else is being bullied?
Don't be an audience! Bullies will feel that they can get away with it if others laugh or even just watch. If you see someone bullying and you don't feel that it is safe to stop it - walk away, don't stand by.
Tell an adult, or use the schools comment box or confidential email reporting system.
You could suggest setting up a 'peer mediation scheme' in your school. This is where young people are given training to support other children in the school. You could volunteer to be involved.
Look out for the person you know is being picked on. Make friends with them, or walk with them in lunch queues or corridors. Bullies think twice about being mean if someone has supporters.
If you are worried about a friend, this leaflet gives some good ideas - Help a friend in need
I think I might be a bully. What should I do?
You can stop bullying if you want to. Some people find it useful to ask one of their friends to remind them when they are going too far and they are saying mean things rather than being funny.
It is also useful to remember that saying nasty things about people's identity (race, religion, language, what they look like or sexuality or being mean about someone because they are a boy or a girl) is always wrong. Remember, you can get into serious trouble for bullying.
Sometimes people bully because they are having problems in their own lives, and they need help with other difficult things that are happening to them. It is important to get help, perhaps from a teacher at your school.
Where to get help
Anti-Bullying Network - supports anti-bullying work in schools and offers an anti-bullying service.
Bullying UK - Information, advice and support for children and young people on tackling bullying. Call 0808 800 2222
ChildLine Free and confidential telephone helpline for children and young people. Call 0800 1111
Kidscape Information for children and young people, parents, and professionals. Call 020 7730 3300
Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service available 24 hours a day. Call 116 123
StopCyberbullying - A cyberbullying prevention programme to help schools, students and parents to stand up to cyberbullying.