What is Bullying?
Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power or control over another person.
There are many ways that someone can be bullied:
- Verbally- such as name-calling, put downs, threats, teasing.
- Physically- being punched, tripped, kicked or having your belongings (lunch, money, books) stolen or damaged.
- Socially- being left out, or ignored, or having rumours spread about you.
- Psychologically- you are given ‘dirty’ looks, or ‘bad eye’, or ‘cut eye’; or stalked (have someone follow you in a threatening way)
Bullying can happen anywhere! It can be a problem:
- At School
- In the taxi
- Walking to and from School
- In your neighbourhood
Bullying can also happen online or on the phone. Someone may send hurtful e-mails, instant messages or text messages about another person. Gossip and rumours can also be posted on online message board. Using a cell phone or the Internet this way is called “Cyber bullying”.
Who bullies and Why?
A bully can be one person or it can be more than one person or even a group of people. It can either be someone your age or older, including peers or family members.
Here are some reasons, some people bully others:-
- They may have low self-esteem (they do not like themselves)
- They are jealous (want what you have)
- They do not know any better
- They are frightened
- They want to be popular (have plenty of friends)
- They want to make themselves look strong and in charge of things
Here are some questions children ask ChildLine about bullying:
Q: If I do what they want, will they leave me alone?
A: No way, if you do what they want, they will see that bullying you works and they will keep doing it. Try to tell someone who can make it stop and keep on talking until someone listens to you.
Q: Is it my fault that people bully me?
A: No it isn’t your fault, no one has the right to take advantage of anyone else, or bully them.
Q: How can I protect myself from being bullied?
A: These are some healthy ways or good ways you can protect yourself:
- Ask the person to stop; they may not be aware of what they are doing.
- Tell someone you trust who may be able to do something about it
- If possible stay out the bully’s way; you could try another way home for example
- Stay with a group especially when you do not feel safe
- Turning around and being nice to the bully, may throw them off, confuse them
- Use Visualization meaning bullies can be scary looking; you can picture them in a funny way like their head shrinking or getting smaller, or in their underwear.
- Keep a record of any nasty or harassing texts or e-mails that you have been sent
Q: What do I do if I am a victim of Cyber bullying?
A: Here is what you can do (or not do) if you are a victim of Cyber bullying:
- Don't reply to messages from cyber bullies -even though you may really want to, this is exactly what cyber bullies want. They want to know that they've got you worried and upset. They are trying to mess with your mind and control you, to put fear into you. Don't give them that pleasure.
- Do not keep this to yourself! You are NOT alone and you did NOT do anything to deserve this! Tell an adult you know and trust!
- Do not erase or delete messages from cyber bullies -You don't have to read it, but keep it, it is your evidence. You might notice certain words or phrases that are also used by people you know. These messages may reveal certain clues as to who is doing this to you, but don't try and solve this on your own, remember, tell an adult you know and trust. GET HELP!
- Protect yourself -Never arrange to meet with someone you met online unless your parents go with you. If you are meeting them make sure it is in a public place.
- You may need to delete your current e-mail accounts, cell phone/pager accounts and set up new ones.
For additional information on dealing with cyber bullying; http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/bullying/cyberbullying.html?tracking=T_RelatedArticle
Q: I think sometimes I can be a bully, what can I do?
A: It is good that you realise that you may need some help, you will need to stop whatever you think may be causing you to be a bully. Even if ALL your friends are doing it, you think it's justa a part of growing up, or because you think other children need to learn to stand up for themselves.
Q: When I bully other children how do they feel?
A: Bullying can make others feel lonely, unhappy or sad, and frightened, and it makes them think something is wrong with them and they are not good enough. They may not want to come back to school or play or lime with you anymore because they are frightened. They can also have, trouble studying, trouble sleeping, symptoms of depression, thoughts of violence or revenge, and thoughts of suicide.
Q: So what is the solution to bullying?
A: The best solution we have is the anti-bully tool ‘Treat others as you would like them to treat you’ better known as the golden rule.
Booklet: What’s up with Bullying. Produced by the Ministry of People and Social Development