What if I see someone being bullied?

If you see someone being bullied, it can be hard to know what to do.

The word bystander is one that you might have heard before. It is used to describe people who see bullying happening, but do nothing to try and stop it. It is important to remember that these people are not usually unkind. In fact, everyone has been a bystander at some point.

It is important to remember that you do not have to face bullying alone. Share this information with your friends, and stand together to put a stop to bullying once and for all.

  • Report it straight away: If you know that someone is being bullied, talk to a parent or teacher. If someone is being physically hurt, run and tell an adult straight away. If you see bullying happening online, report it to the service providers.
  • Stand up for the person being bullied: It takes courage, but next time, if it safe to do so, make it clear that you don't like what is happening. If you feel unsafe doing this, ask for the support of your friends.
  • Be a friend: Make a special effort to be friends with the person being bullied. Ask them to join your group, sit with them at lunch time and include them in activities both within class or socially.
  • Never join in: If you see someone being bullied, don't join in. If the bully tries to get you to help, refuse and walk away.
  • Stop the rumours: Don't help to spread rumours about another person. If someone tells you something that would hurt or embarrass someone, stop the conversation and don't share the information.
  • Don't be an internet troll! If there are rumours, offensive comments and pictures being spread on social media or on an internet site, report to the service providers.
  • Support and empower the target: Talk to the person being bullied. Try to offer them support and encourage them to report what is happening to the school. Tell them about Kidscape's website, and offer to go with them to talk to the teacher or a trusted adult.

What if the person doing the bullying is my friend?

It is hard to stand up to people when they are wrong, particularly if that person is your friend. If you are finding yourself questioning your friend's behaviour, visit our friendships and frenemies section for more information and advice.

Why don't people do something when they see bullying?

Most of the time, the reason why people don't report bullying is simply because they do not know how to, or don't realise just how bad bullying is. They are also often scared of the situation, and fear they will end up as a target.

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