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- nobody has the right to bully you
- bullying could be done by friends, family, people at school and strangers – but it’s never ok
- it can happen in different places – like at school, home or online
- there are ways to get it stopped and ways to feel better about yourself.
Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else – such as name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone.
The NSPCC states that it can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It’s usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally.
Bullying that happens online, using social networks, games and mobile phones, is often called cyberbullying. (see our E-Safety page) A child can feel like there’s no escape because it can happen wherever they are, at any time of day or night.
- verbal abuse, such as name calling and gossiping
- non-verbal abuse, such as hand signs or text messages
- emotional abuse, such as threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone
- exclusion, such as ignoring or isolating someone
- undermining, by constant criticism or spreading rumours
- controlling or manipulating someone
- racial, sexual or homophobic bullying
- physical assaults, such as hitting and pushing
- making silent, hoax or abusive calls
- online or cyberbullying.
Kidscape’s top tips for tackling bullying
Top tips for children being bullied
- Report it. Unless you report bullying to an adult, it’s very unlikely that it will stop. Talk to someone you trust about what has been happening. This could be a parent, a family friend or a teacher.
- Protect yourself online. If you have been experiencing cyber bullying, as well as telling a trusted adult, you should also report abusive messages or phone calls to website administrators and/or service providers.
It’s also important to use privacy settings on social media, and to block bullies from being able to contact you. You should not respond to bullying remarks, as this will only make the situation worse.
- Remember that you are not to blame. Bullies will often target others based on ‘difference’, which can sometimes make their targets feel like they are the ones to blame. But you are not. Bullies will use any difference, even tiny ones, as an excuse. Never try to change for a bully, as they will often just find something else to pick on.
- Build up your confidence. Bullies will often pick on people who they think won’t stand up for themselves, as it means they can get away with it.
Learning how to say ‘no’ and hold assertive body language with confidence is a really effective way to tackle bullying. Visit the Kidscape website for practical examples of how you can do this.
- Choose friends wisely. Bullying can be very subtle, and can even come from the people who are meant to be your friends. This type of bullying can be hard to spot, as it often happens little by little over a long period of time. Good friends support you, make you feel good about yourself and encourage you to behave in positive ways. If you think your friends don’t have your best interest at heart, you may wish to consider making new ones.
For more information about how to protect yourself from bullying and cyber bullying, make new friends and build confidence, visit: www.kidscape.org.uk/advice
- Find a quiet time when you won’t be interrupted to talk to your child about bullying. Be patient, calm and understanding, and do not make assumptions or interrupt. Put your feelings aside and really listen to what your child is telling you so you can fully understand the situation.
- Give reassurance. Make it clear that the bullying is not their fault and praise them for being brave enough to confide in you. Assure them that now you know what is happening, the issues can be resolved.
- Report to the school. Schedule a meeting with the school immediately. For primary schools this is likely to be with your child's classroom teacher, and for secondary schools, the head of year. Give specific examples of bullying incidents and how your child has been affected. Keep a log of incidents to facilitate this. Ensure a course of action is agreed upon regarding how the school will work to resolve the situation.
- Stay informed. Continue having open conversations with your child about their experiences with bullying, and report each incident to the school. If you are unhappy with how your child’s bullying is being dealt with, schedule a meeting with the school’s head teacher. If appropriate action is still not taken, it is within your rights to make a complaint to the school governors.
- Build confidence. Bullies often 'test' potential targets to see how they respond, and while the target is never to blame, those who appear the most vulnerable usually continue to be bullied. It is for this reason that alongside reporting incidents to the school, building your child’s confidence and self-esteem can be one of the most effective ways to help them.
For more information about bullying, supporting your child and working effectively with the school, please visit the parental advice section on the Kidscape website: www.kidscape.org.uk/advice