What is Bullying?
Bullying is 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.
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. If it happens at Scouts, it should be dealt with at Scouts.
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.
While these actions can cause great distress, they’re not examples of bullying unless someone is deliberately and repeatedly doing them.
If you’re being bullied you might feel as if you:
- Are scared to go to school/ scouts, 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
- Are guilty
- 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.
What can I do if I feel I am being bullied?
All of the signs above mean that you need to make a move to stop the bullying. Letting the situation go on is not good for anyone – especially you! Here are 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; your scout leader or a trusted teacher who you know will take what you’re saying seriously
- Keep a record of incidents
- Call the Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800)
Bullies win when you’re upset, so here are some things you can practice if you think you are being bullied:
- Act unimpressed: pretend not to notice if you’re excluded or if the bullying is verbal, say something like, ‘yeah, whatever’ or ‘Oh, OK’
- Walk away
- 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:
- Block senders
- Keep messages by sending them to someone else. Don’t look at them yourself
- Change passwords
- Don’t retaliate
- Talk to a friend, parent or teacher
- If there are threats or calls to harm yourself, report abuse to the police and also the ISP or website.
Bullying is bad for everybody – not just the person being bullied. It can make places like school, Scouts, or your sporting club seem unsafe and make you feel as though you don’t want to go there.
What to do if a friend is being bullied
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, maybe your scout leader who might be able to help.