Bullying can happen at any age—when you are a young child, teenager or adult. It can happen in any location—at school or work, in the community or at home.
Bullies use their power to hurt and embarrass others. If no one works to stop it, bullying often happens over and over again.
Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean and hurtful things. This includes:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
Social bullying is hurting someone's relationships. This can be:
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling others not to be friends with someone or why not to like them
- Spreading rumours about someone.
- Embarrassing someone in public.
Physical bullying is hurting a person's body or belongings by:
- Hitting, kicking, pinching, biting
- Tripping, pushing
- Taking or breaking a person's things, especially something they care about
- Making mean or rude hand gestures.
Internet or cyber bullying happens mostly on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or YouTube. These bullies can stay anonymous and are very hard to identify.
Examples of cyber bullying are:
- Sending mean text messages or emails
- Sending and posting rumours
- Embarrassing others with real and fake photos, videos, etc.
If you suspect a child (or other person) is being bullied, ask them directly. If they answer yes, use the tips below on how to offer help.
Here is a video about cyber bullying by Embrace Life Council: This is Not a Comedy
Helping people who get bullied
If you know someone is getting bullied:
- Let them know you will do all you can to help them feel safe.
- Tell them that the bullying is not their fault.
- Encourage them to ask for help and not to stop until they get it.
Encourage people to talk with you about their feelings and ideas. This may take many attempts before they are comfortable enough to open up about what they are going through.
Schools and parents need to work together to prevent and stop bullying, Parents need to contact the school right away if they learn their child is being bullied. Schools need to develop a plan to supervise students and intervene if needed. They need to foster a climate where all students feel safe and cared for. Students need to know where to get help.
Make arrangements for safety
If the bullying happens on the way to school, parents need to arrange for their child to go with older, supportive children. Parents can take their child to school until the bullying stops. Talk to the child about being part of a group, and remind them that they are not alone.
How to develop confidence and self-esteem
Children who bully tend to pick on children who are isolated. Helping children develop confidence in their skills can make a big difference. Encourage them to participate in clubs, social groups, or sports. Create opportunities for children to do something well—a sport, a hobby, or a job, and praise them for their efforts.
Practice good responses
Work with a child to practice what to say if someone bullies them. For example, a child could say firmly, "stop it. I don't like that." and walk away.