Bullying

Sadly, we still live in a society where to be different in any way – such as your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, a disability or your family’s financial income – can mean ridicule, with young people subjected to verbal, and even physical, bullying. Bullying behaviour can be learnt from a child or young person’s parents, their peers or as a direct reaction from being bullied themselves. In all cases, bullying should not be tolerated in any form, or for any reason.

What is Bullying?

Bullying can mean many different things. These are some ways children and young people have described bullying:

  • being called names
  • being teased
  • being pushed or pulled about
  • having money and other possessions taken or messed about with
  • having rumours spread about you
  • being ignored and left out
  • being hit, kicked or physically hurt in any way
  • being threatened or intimidated

Bullying can also be part of other forms of abuse, including neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

Bullying can take place in school, out of school, online or via text messaging (also known as Cyberbullying).

Bullying myths

There are many myths surrounding the issue of bullying, some of which can trivialise a worrying situation. Bullying should not be tolerated in any form, or for any reason. Bullying UK has developed a useful list which busts some of the myths surrounding the issues of bullying:

Myth: Bullying is a normal part of childhood and you should just ignore it
Fact: Bullying is not “normal” or acceptable in any form and ignoring might not always make it stop. If you can, please confide in someone you trust such as a parent or teacher to help you get it stopped. Bullying can knock your self-esteem and confidence.

Myth: It is ok to hit someone who is bullying you, it will stop it.
Fact: It’s understandable that you may be angry but if you were to get violent or aggressive it may make matters much worse as you may get into trouble too.

Myth: Bullies are born this way, it’s in their genes
Fact: Bullies often adopt this behaviour from their environment or sometimes, it’s a reaction from them being bullied by others. Whatever the case, it is not right.

Myth: Bullying only happens in schools
Fact: This is not the case at all, bullying can happen to anyone at any place. It may be out of school, at university or even college. It can happen when you are out with mates or on the way to or from school.

Myth: You can spot a bully from the way they look and act
Fact: There is no such thing as a way a bully looks or acts. There is no specific dress code or behaviour code.

Myth: Online bullying is just banter and harmless
Fact: People being bullied online is a very serious issue, the bullying can go viral very quickly and make the problem escalate quickly. It is important to take a screenshot of any conversations, messages or posts that you feel are bullying so that you have a record.

Myth: Cyberbullying doesn’t involve physical harm so what’s the harm?
Fact: Actually, some people have committed suicide as a result of not seeing any way out of the non-stop harassment, threats and abuse. The emotional scarring stays for a lot longer and sometimes a person will never get over this. Some websites allow people to post anonymously which can mean it is very hard to stop this abuse.

Myth: Cyberbullying can only affect someone if they are online and have an account too
Fact: This is not true, we often hear of pages and fake accounts being created without a person’s permission or knowledge. This sort of cyberbullying is on the increase and is just as serious as any other form of bullying.

Myth: It is not bullying if someone deletes the comment or post
Fact: Regardless of hitting delete, once something is posted online is gets its own unique URL which means that it can stay on cyberspace even if you hit delete.

Myth: If bullying is so bad, why don’t they have a law about it?
Fact: Some forms of bullying are illegal and should be reported to the police including violence or assault, theft, repeated harassment or intimidation, e.g.threats and abusive phone calls, emails or text messages and hate crimes.

Myth: Reporting a bully will make things worse
Fact: You may worry that reporting a bully might make the bullying escalate. It is important to confide in someone you trust so that you can have some help in getting the necessary support to get this stopped.

Myth: It is easy to spot the signs of bullying
Fact: It is not always easy to spot the signs of bullying as it is not always physical and obvious. Emotional, verbal and online bullying can often leave scars that people don’t see.

Myth: Children grow out of bullying
Fact: Quite often children who bully may grow up to be adults who bully or use negative behaviour to get what they want, unless there has been intervention and their behaviour challenged by the relevant authorities, whether it be school or parents, etc.

Please visit the Bullying UK website for information on a wide range of bullying issues, including advice on how to deal with verbal, homophobic, racist or sexual bullying.

Resources and Useful Websites: 

There are a wide range of places where you can obtain information on all types of bullying, as well as advice and support. Some of these links are listed below:

Gov.uk

Bullying & the law: Please visit the website for guidance on bullying in schools and the law

Childline UK: Bullying Page

Cyberbullying provides information on cyber-bullying; what it is, how to deal with it and the support that is available

For Children & Young People

Bullying UK
www.bullying.co.uk
Tel: 0808 800 2222

Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
www.thinkuknow.co.uk

Childline
www.childline.org.uk
Tel: 0800 1111

Kidscape
www.kidscape.org.uk
Tel: 0207 730 3300

For Parents and Carers

Parentlineplus
www.parentlineplus.org.uk

Know IT All
www.childnet.com/KIA