Advice for young people

Have I been involved in bullying?

The way we treat others makes a big difference to the way they feel about themselves. Whether on purpose or not, everyone at some point has said or done something to upset someone else. The most important thing is to recognise when this happens, apologise, and make sure you don't do it again. Those who don't do this, and instead continue to upset or hurt others on purpose, are involved in bullying behaviour. 

What is bullying behaviour?

Bullying comes in many different forms, and can happen in person and online. But most people who act in this way have similar characteristics. If you have been called a bully, or think you are involved in bullying behaviour, ask yourself the following.

Do you:

  • hang around with people who bully or pick on others?
  • enjoy upsetting people, or embarrassing them in public?
  • call people names and regularly tease them?
  • act aggressively to others such as shouting or getting rough with them physically?
  • get really angry if things are not done your way?
  • pressure people into doing things they don't want to do?
  • spread rumours and say nasty things about others behind their back?
  • write unkind things about people online?
  • criticise others for the way they look, their culture, intelligence, gender, who they fancy etc?
  • laugh when people get hurt, or make a joke of other people's misfortunes?
  • often get into heavy arguments?  

If you have answered yes to more than one of these questions, it is likely that you have been involved in bullying. Don't let it carry on - make a positive change today.

How to stop bullying

Find the cause

It is important that you first try and understand why you are involved in bullying. Consider whether any of the following statements are true:

  • I feel rejected by a friend or family member;
  • I find it hard to concentrate at school, and find the homework and activities too difficult;
  • I feel different from most people;
  • I feel like I am failing, or am not living up to other people's expectations;
  • I am upset about something happening at home;
  • I find it difficult to make personal connections with people;
  • I get angry a lot, and find it hard to keep it in;
  • My friends are bullying others, and I often join in.

If you know the reason why you are bullying, there is likely to be a simple way to make things better. If you are unsure why you feel the way you do, you may benefit from talking to a counsellor or youth worker. Talk to your parents and/or the school to see what help is available.

Make a positive change

Don't try and cope alone - work together with your parents or an adult you trust. Come up with strategies on how you can deal with difficult situations in a positive way. Why not try some of our examples:

  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself;
  • Stay in control of your behaviour;
  • Learn to negotiate and meet someone 'half way';
  • Remove yourself from situations where you might get aggressive;
  • Count to 10 and breathe deeply to calm down;
  • Explain how you feel instead of shouting or arguing; 
  • React calmly, not aggressively;
  • Ask someone nicely to stop doing something;
  • Find a friend or someone you trust to talk to.

Practise these when you would usually respond aggressively, and keep a diary to measure how you are doing. It is a good idea to get your teacher involved, as they will be able to help you during school time.

We also have loads of advice for parents too. Show them the Kidscape website, where they will find practical tips on how to support you.

Related advice

Moving away from frenemies
Don't be a bystander
Think before you post

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