You CAN say no to bullying!
Bullying involves one or more people repeatedly and deliberately doing things to make another person upset, afraid or hurt. A person or a group of people might feel that they have more power than someone else and use hurtful words or actions to bully them. Bullying is not just ‘playing around’ – it can really affect someone’s feelings and emotions.
Bullying can take place just about anywhere, including the schoolyard, classroom, on the way to/from school, online, by phone, at home and at work – basically any place that people hang out. It can be related to just about anything and can come in many forms. For example, bullying can include physical, verbal and social aggression and it can be either face-to-face or online (cyberbullying).
Cyberbullying uses electronic types of communication (e.g., text messages, email and social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram or YouTube). Unlike face to face bullying, cyberbullying can go on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so people don’t get a rest from it. Bullying can also be hidden or ‘covert’ (e.g., deliberately excluding others, sending or posting pictures, or spreading rumours about someone behind their back).
Did you know that around 1 in 6 Australian school students aged 7 to 17 reported they have been bullied at least once a week?
It’s important to remember that bullying is not okay, it is not simply ‘a normal part of growing up’, and help is always available to make things better. If you are having problems with bullying, seeking support is a good way to help you to overcome the negative effects of bullying and find ways to get the bullying to stop.
Anyone who has experienced bullying knows how upsetting it is. We may feel alone, unsafe, afraid, stressed, humiliated, angry, ashamed and rejected. Often we feel that there is no escape and may do things so we can ‘fit in’, like changing our appearance or acting differently. Sometimes we might want to hurt others, or ourselves, because of it. Bullying can be traumatic, especially when carried out by friends or peers, as these relationships are so important in a young person’s life.
If you are being bullied face to face:
- Stay calm. It can be really hard but learning not to feel or show that you are overwhelmed can help you feel better. It might also mean the bullying stops because you are not reacting to it. Try focusing on your breathing as a way to calm yourself.
- Don’t fight back. If you fight back you can make the situation worse, get hurt or be blamed for starting the trouble.
- Try to ignore the bullying by calmly turning and walking away. If the person doing the bullying tries to stop or block you, try to be firm and clear – if you can, look them in the eye and tell them to stop.
- Try to avoid the person who is bullying you, or ask a friend to stay with you when they are around.
- Tell a trusted adult what has happened straight away. This can help you to find ways to get the bullying to stop and overcome the negative feelings that can result from the bullying as soon as possible. It can also help you to prevent more serious health issues that can result from bullying in the future.
If you are being bullied online:
- Don’t respond to the people who are cyberbullying.
- Talk to your parents, carer, teacher or another trusted adult about what is happening and how you can address it.
- Talk to friends you trust to get support and advice. Let them know it is hurting or frightening you and you need their support.
- Block the person or people from being able to contact you and change your privacy settings to protect what you post on social media.
- If the bullying is persistent and ongoing, delete your current online account and start a new one. Only give your new details to a small list of trusted friends.
- Report any bullying to the site where it is occurring. Sites like Facebook have a report button you can use.
- Keep everything that is sent to you such as emails, texts, instant messages and comments on your social media accounts. Give these to someone you trust.
- If the bullying continues and you are feeling afraid or threatened, seek help to report the bullying from your local police (Google ‘police’ along with your suburb and state for contact details) or the Children’s eSafety Commissioner. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call the police on Triple Zero (000).
Here are some helpful websites:
For over 10 years, PROJECT ROCKIT has been empowering school students to stand up to hate instead of standing by watching. Through the lens of (cyber)bullying, they deliver workshops that explore themes of diversity, belonging, respectful relationships, values and ethics, while building student voice, leadership and empathy. They also have a YouTube channel where they have conversations around the kind of stuff we don’t often get to talk about at school.
Bullying. No Way!
Bullying. No Way! provides information and ideas for students, parents and teachers.
Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner is committed to empowering all Australians to have safer, more positive experiences online.
A useful resource on how to report cyberbullying material created by the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner is available here. It is also available on their website in a number of other languages.
Bullying. So Not Ok.
This booklet was developed in partnership with the Telethon Kids Institute and the Supré Foundation. It aims to help girls recognise different types of bullying behaviour and provide encouragement to recognise the impact bullying has on their peers.
Download the booklet here.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any type of bullying, remember that headspace has got your back!
For even more information on bullying, click here.