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Stop Bullying

What to do if you are being bullied

Are you being bullied?

There are many things you can do if you’re being bullied. Different strategies can work in different situations. You can try and work it out by yourself. But if the bullying doesn’t stop, you might find it helpful to ask someone else for advice. Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied—other people can be a great help. If you are being bullied at school, find a trusted teacher with whom you can speak.

Working it out yourself

Depending on how bad the bullying is (and as long as you aren’t feeling unsafe, frightened or physically threatened), you might decide to try and work it out by yourself first. Try and remember that no matter how hard you try, the bully might not be willing to change his or her behaviour. At this point, talking to someone else can be really helpful.

The following tips might be particularly helpful if you’re dealing with verbal bullying on your own.

When possible, ignore the bully.

Ignoring can be helpful, particularly for one-time cases. Bullies are looking for a reaction from you and often lose interest if they aren’t given the satisfaction of making you upset.

Suggestions for ignoring the bully:

Walk away when the bully approaches you. Try and imagine that you’re walking away from a friend. This can be a way of making sure your body language (which you’re usually unaware of) doesn’t give away a sense of fear; Concentrate on something else. Try thinking about what you’ll do next weekend, counting to 100, or planning your homework; Have a saying or a statement that you can repeat in your head when the bully approaches you to block out a sense of fear.

Build a wall around you.

It might be helpful to build an invisible wall around you by visualizing it in your mind. Any verbal abuse then just bounces off the wall.

Use visualisation.

Bullies can be pretty scary. Picturing that person looking silly might help to make them less problematic for you. For example, picture the bully’s head shrinking, or picture the bully in his or her underwear.

Stay positive.

It can be hard to remember all your good points when someone is doing their best to be negative. Try to think of all the things you do well, and remember that you are a valuable person. Thinking of how bad the bully must be feeling can also help you stay positive.

Surround yourself with people who care about you.

Surrounding yourself with positive people who know and like you for YOU can boost your confidence.  This will help you let bullying comments more easily roll off your back. It’s important that you connect with people who genuinely care for you and recognize all of your great qualities.

Hang around other people.

You might be safer if you stay in groups. If you are alone, try to identify people who can offer you safety.

Be confident.

Bullies usually pick on people that they think are weaker than they are, so it might help if you stand up to them.

Suggestions on how to stand up to a bully:

Telling him or her to leave you alone may get a bully off your back;

Ever heard of the phrase “kill them with kindness”? Being nice to a bully may throw him or her off;

Using humor can also throw a bully off track;

Use positive self-talk. Try saying to yourself something like I know I am better than that. I’m not like that. I don’t have to pick on other people to know that I am good; Remember that your friends accept you for who you are.

Keep out of a bully’s way.

It might be possible for you to avoid the bully. This can mean getting to school in a different way, or avoiding the places that you know he or she hangs out. By avoiding a bully, you’re not giving in, but looking after yourself and making sure you are happier and more comfortable.

Asking someone for help

To stop bullying—whether verbal, written or cyber bullying — it can be helpful to tell someone that you are being bullied. This can seem scary at first, but telling someone can lighten your load and help you to work out how to solve the problem. Talking to someone is particularly important if you feel unsafe or frightened, or if you don’t have many friends. Asking for help or talking to someone about your situation is not being weak or “giving in.” In fact, telling someone can take a lot of strength and courage.

There are many people who might be able to help, including friends, older brothers and sisters, teachers, family, or parents. Teachers and counsellors are specially trained to help you.

Identify strategies that work for YOU.

There are a number of ways to cope with the sadness, anger, fear, and isolation that can accompany bullying.  This can be something as simple as counting to ten or thinking of your favourite, happy memory.  It’s important that you identify coping strategies that work for you: think about what makes you happy or calms you and try to incorporate those things into your life.  In the moment, use strategies that help you act appropriately and feel better.  It can be a mantra you repeat to yourself or taking calming breaths. In the long term, there are a number of ways we can help ourselves cope with the feelings bullying creates:  exercise, watching funny movies, talking to friends, playing with the family pet…  Find something that works for you and if it helps, even make a list of those things so you can remember all of the activities you’ve found helpful.

Some tips for getting help

It might be easier if you talk to someone you know well and trust. This person can give you much needed support and might have suggestions for dealing with the situation that you might not have considered.

If you decide to talk to a teacher or you might feel more comfortable taking a friend with you. If you feel you might get too nervous to speak, write down what you’d like to say on paper or in an e-mail. Don’t feel ashamed about coming forward- teachers and staff are there to help.

if you think that the person you’re speaking with doesn’t believe you, or isn’t taking you seriously,  or if that person doesn’t help you take action, it doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid or that  the bullying should continue. It’s important you tell someone else and continue to do so until you get the help you need.

Being bullied can be upsetting and stressful, and it can affect your life in many different ways, including your self-esteem, relationships, work and education. If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, it is important that you seek help from a mental health professional such as a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  There is no shame in asking for help.

Remember, if you are in any danger of hurting yourself or someone else, it is vital that you ask for help immediately.

Your rights 

remember that everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. No one deserves or asks to be bullied.

What is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying is a form of bullying that is carried out through an Internet service such as e-mail, chat rooms, discussion group, online social networking, instant messaging or web pages. It can also include bullying through mobile phone technologies such as text messaging. According to some estimates, more than one-third of American teens have experienced cyber bullying.

Examples of cyber bullying behavior are:

Teasing and being made fun of;

Spreading of rumors online;

Sending unwanted messages; and

Cyber bullying can happen to anyone, and the bully can act anonymously. People can also be bullied online by groups of people such as classmates or collective members of an online community.

How you feel if you are being cyber bullied

Just like bullying in real life, cyber bullying can have terrible effects on a person. Being bullied can lower your self-esteem and you might feel alone, sad, angry and scared. If you are being bullied, it’s not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you. Don’t be afraid to let someone know that you are being bullied—they might be able to help you.

In some extreme situations, cyber bullying can be illegal, but in every instance, bullying is wrong. If you feel that your safety is threatened, call local police.

How to stop cyberbullies

If you are being cyber bullied, it’s possible that you’re feeling powerless and isolated. But there are options and you can take action to stop the problem.

Don’t reply to bullying messages

It’ll only get worse if you do.  By replying, the bully gets what he or she wants. Sometimes it can be difficult to resist replying because you want to defend yourself or get your viewpoint across, but often if you don’t reply, the bully will leave you alone.  It is also a good idea to delete the profile or username under which you are experiencing cyber bullying.

Tell someone. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend, or teacher.

Keep a record (including time and date). This may help you (or the police) to find out who is sending the messages.

Tell someone. Talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend, or teacher.

Contact your phone or Internet service provider and report what is happening.

They can help you block messages or calls from certain senders.

If messages are threatening or serious, get in touch with the police.

Cyber bullying, if it’s threatening, is illegal. You don’t need to put up with that!

 Change your contact details.

Get a new user name for the Internet, a new e-mail account or a new cell phone number and only give them out to your closest friends.

Keep your username and passwords secret.

Keep your personal information private so it doesn’t fall into the hands of someone who will misuse it.

A Bystanders’ role in bullying

What makes a bystander different from a victim or a bully?

Bystanders are very different from either victims or bullies <strong>mainly because they make a decision to stay on the outside of the situation</strong>. Whereas victims and bullies are directly involved, bystanders think that avoiding the conflict altogether is either the right move or the best thing for them personally.

How exactly is someone a bystander?

It is difficult to describe what makes a person a bystander. There are several things a person does, or does not do, that can make them a bystander.

Purposefully ignoring the event entirely;

Witnessing the event and choosing not to take the appropriate actions;

Witnessing the event thinking something on the lines of, “at least that person wasn’t me.”

What is so wrong with being a bystander?

Research on bullying has often concluded that it occurs most frequently in the presence of bystanders who choose to merely watch the events unfold instead of doing something. By being there, you may give bullies more incentive to embarrass and threaten their victims because they will have an audience.

Unfortunately, many people believe that being a bystander is the best option to take. There are many reasons for this.

Some may believe that the bullying scenario is “none of their business,” and therefore they choose not to take sides because it seems too nosy;

Others feel that stepping in will make them the new target for the bully, making it seem as though intervening would only make things worse;

There is also a fear that intervening in a bullying situation by telling a teacher will give them the unwanted stigma of being a “grass;”

Bystanders may feel that intervening will also do little. This is especially true in students who have approached teachers before regarding bullying, only to find that no action was taken.

If you are in a bystander situation, how do you intervene?

Bystanders need to realize that bullying is a serious problem, and that a lack of action on their part will only give bullies more opportunities to torment their victims. Some argue that close to 50% of all bullying events stop when a bystander decides to intervene which just further shows the importance of intervening. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you witness bullying.

Don’t assume that this is a private matter between the bully and the victim.

Incidents of bullying, especially those that are frequent, are often not because of personal reasons;

Don’t combat violence with violence.

It takes a lot of courage for someone to step up on behalf of a bullied person. However, don’t use insults or physical violence to defend the victim. Now is not the time to show off. You will most likely only make it harder for the victim

Do not get discouraged if you have already talked to the teachers and nothing happened.


Keep trying. Teachers and other school authorities will respond if they find out that the bullying is becoming a recurrent problem. Try talking to other teachers so that you can get more people involved in trying to stop the situation;

If you feel that this is none of your business, put yourself in the victim’s shoes.

Bullying can cause severe anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration in a person, and can turn their life into a nightmare. You wouldn’t want to feel that way.

Is stepping in yourself the only way?

What if the bullies might try and attack you?</strong>

You should never step in to protect a bullied victim if it might also put your own safety at risk. If this is the case, you should talk to a teacher, or even the school principal if the problem keeps happening. Be sure to ask if you can speak to them in private, in case you are afraid of being the next target for bullies. Even if you are not directly stopping the bullying, by taking action and going to seek outside help, you are taking steps away from being a bystander.

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