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What to Do if You're Being Bullied

Bullying can come in a lot of different forms. It is something a lot of people experience at some point in their lives, but it is never something you should have to put up with. Nobody deserves to be put down, made to feel unsafe, or physically hurt by bullies.

December 1 2022 - 4 min read

If you are currently being picked on at school, then it can be very tough to know what to do. Bullying can make you feel like you don’t want to go to places you’d normally go to or do things you want to do out of fear that the bullies will make it unpleasant for you. It can have a big effect on how you feel about yourself, too. Serious bullying can even make you feel afraid that someone is going to do something violent or dangerous to hurt you. The important thing is that these problems can be fixed. There is no need for you to feel hopeless, or like you just have to put up with it and hope that the bullies eventually go away.

Here, we look at what you should do if you are being bullied, whether it is at school or online:

Don’t Feel Bad - Its not Your fault

The first thing to think about is yourself. Bullies have a lot of different reasons why they pick on people, but they are usually things that are wrong in their own lives, and not really anything to do with you or who you are. You have to make sure that you don’t take anything mean bullies say to you to heart or think that you deserve to be treated that way. Nobody does.

If bullying is upsetting you and making you feel bad about yourself, this can lead to bigger problems with your self-esteem that can last until long after the bullying has stopped.

This is one of the main reasons why it is important to do something to stop the bullies, but it is also why you need to stay mentally strong and remember that the bullying isn’t your fault.

Bullies often target people they think are least likely to stand up to them or fight back, such as kids who are new in a school so don’t have a lot of friends to support them, people who stand out for being a bit different, or people who are quiet and not threatening. There is nothing wrong with being any of those things, and so who gets targeted is pretty random, rather than the kids who are being bullied having anything wrong with them. Keep in your head that their reasons for picking you have more to do with their own issues than to do with you.

Actions You Can Take if You Feel Safe When the Bully Approaches

Bullying has different levels to it. If your bullies are only using words, and you feel physically safe, then the best approach when they say anything to you is to ignore them. This is not because you should ignore the bullying itself, but because they are looking for a reaction from you. If they call you names or say nasty things to you, they expect you to get upset or angry. If you can offer an indifferent response and act like their words don’t faze you, then they’re often likely to get bored. It is also a good idea to stick with a friend or group when you are walking around, as bullies are more likely to pick on someone who is alone.

This alone can resolve a lot of bullying, but if the problem is more serious than name-calling and other kids excluding you from things, then you need to talk to someone.

What to Do if You Feel Seriously Threatened

If the bullying you are going through involves threats of violence or other types of harm (such as taking your stuff, threatening to reveal things about you you’d rather keep secret, or demands for money), then you absolutely need to talk to someone you can trust in a position of authority. You may fear that talking to an adult will make things worse, but in these kinds of situations, you need somebody who can take immediate action to make things stop. Talking to your parent or carer is often the best option, as they will not only be able to speak to the school on your behalf, but also help you with any bad feelings you’ve been having as a result of bullying, but that isn’t an option for every kid. A teacher you like, or someone else at the school like a school counsellor, can also be a good choice. In some cases, you may also have the option to speak to older students, like a student council, if you prefer.

When You Are Being Bullied Online

Cyberbullying can be a big problem. If you are being targeted online then it is important to lock down your social media accounts so that only the people you choose can see them, and block messages from all other sources. You can also consider doing things like switching to new accounts or email addresses. If people have no way to contact you, then they will not be able to send you anything malicious. You can also report people to the platform they are bullying you on - for instance Twitter - and their accounts may be banned.

If the malicious online content is coming from someone you know, then this is similar to other types of bullying - do not respond, keep records of everything, and talk to an adult.

Remember That Most Adults Take Bullying Seriously

It may seem like a situation that you can’t get out of but do remember that most adults in your life will take what is happening to you seriously. Schools and society in general do not support bullies, and so people are going to take your side if you go to them and ask for help.

Don’t continue suffering, and never blame yourself. If you want to talk then here are some helpful contact details

Talk to someone