Bullying is behaviour that is:
- intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
- often aimed at certain groups, for example because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation
It takes many forms and can include:
- physical assault
- making threats
- name calling
- cyberbullying - bullying via mobile phone or online (for example email, social networks and instant messenger)
Anyone can get picked on. Being bullied can make you dread going to school, and you can feel depressed, lonely and worse.
You might feel there's no way out, but there are lots of ways to get help.
Remember, it's not your fault - you have the right to live without being picked on.
Bullying probably won't stop unless you stand up and do something positive about it:
- tell someone you trust - you shouldn't feel bad about reporting someone if they’re making you feel bad
- act confidently to send out the message that you're not afraid
- strength in numbers: stay with others. You're more likely to be picked on if you're on your own
- keep a diary and all text messages as evidence of bullying - you can use it later to show that you're telling the truth
If you suspect someone you know is being bullied, look for these signs:
- they become unhappy or withdrawn
- they start missing school
- they've got physical injuries they don't want to talk about
If they are showing signs of the above, ask them if they are being bullied. They probably won't be comfortable revealing it at first, but let them know that you take their worries seriously, that you will support them if they want to tell their parents or teacher that they're being bullied.
How to get support and advice
Your school should have its own policy to stop bullying.