What is bullying for kids?
This is a resource for kids who want to understand what bullying is.
Bullying happens when an individual or a group of people with more power, repeatedly and intentionally cause hurt or harm to another person or group of people who feel helpless to respond.
Bullying can continue over time, is often hidden from adults, and will probably continue if no action is taken. If someone or a group of people are bullying you, you should read on in this section to find out what types of actions you could take to help you in your everyday life.
What is bullying can be a tricky question; bullying is a relationship problem and requires relationship-based solutions. These are best solved in the social environment in which they occur: in a child or young person’s life, this is most often the school.
What bullying is not:
single episodes of social rejection or dislike
single episode acts of nastiness or spite
random acts of aggression or intimidation
mutual arguments, disagreements or fights.
These actions can cause great distress. However, they’re not examples of bullying unless someone is deliberately and repeatedly doing them.
Am I being bullied?
If you’re being bullied you might feel as if you:
Are scared to go to school, feel unsafe and afraid
Can’t sleep very well or have nightmares
Don’t want to be around your family or friends
Can’t concentrate on your school or homework
Seem to be getting into trouble all the time
Are angry for no reason
Are not very hungry or are extra hungry
Suddenly have unexplained headaches or stomach-aches
Are sad and ‘down’
As though you’re not worth much
Think what’s happening is your fault (it isn’t)
Feel ashamed it’s happening to you.
You shouldn’t have to feel any of these things because of the way someone is treating you. It’s not your fault but it probably won’t stop unless you do something.
Bullying is bad for you, bad for your social group; it’s even bad for the person doing the bullying. We think you ought to do something about it sooner rather than later.
How to deal with bullies
If you have been reading the previous articles and know that you are being bullied, here are some ideas on how to deal with bullies. Not every idea will work for everybody, but make sure you at least pick one to try. If you leave it and try to ignore it, things can get worse.
Here is a guide on how to deal with bullies and some things you can do:
Tell someone, even if you don’t think it will help. Just talking about a situation can help put it in perspective. You could talk to a friend; a parent; or a trusted teacher who you know will take what you’re saying seriously.
Keep a record of incidents.
Call the Kids Helpline, remember it is free and you don’t have to give your name: 1800 55 1800
Bullies win when you’re upset, so here are some things you can practice:
Act unimpressed: pretend not to notice if you’re excluded or if the bullying is verbal, say something like, ‘yeah, whatever’ or ‘Oh, OK’.
Pretend to agree ‘yep, that’s what I’m like alright’ ‘Yeah, I’ve got red hair. Tried dyeing it but decided it was better red than green’…
Look around for other friendship groups in or out of school.
Get involved in clubs or activities at school where you’ll be safe.
If you are being cyberbullied, you can:
How to help a friend being bullied
Bullying is bad for everybody – not just the person being bullied. It can make places like school or your sporting club seem unsafe and make you feel as though you don’t want to go there.
If a friend, or someone you know is being bullied you can do something about it. Even if you don’t feel as though you can step in and stop the situation yourself, there are still things you can do, like:
Don’t stay and watch or encourage bullying. Walk away.
Don’t get involved in harassment, teasing or spreading gossip about others off or online.
Don’t forward or respond to offensive or upsetting messages or photos.
Support the person who is being bullied to ask for help. For example, you could go with them to a place they can get help or provide them with information about where to go for help.
Tell a trusted adult who might be able to help.