If you see someone bullying a friend or classmate, it can be difficult to speak up. It’s easier to turn away, or to watch and laugh so you aren’t next. But the person being bullied might be in need of a hero.
When you see bullying at school, in your social clubs, or on the sports field, here are some things you can do.
Why you should help someone being bullied
It takes a brave leader to step in and stand up for their beliefs. By making clear you don’t support the bullying, you show that you have values and integrity and you feel empathy with the victim. These are all values highly prized from leaders.
Also, bullies can drag down everyone around them and make school a scary place. By being part of efforts to stop bullying, you make your school better for everyone! Being called out on their behaviour may also help the bully change.
What to do if you see someone being bullied
Bullying is an insidious problem that has long-term repercussions for both victims and bullies. Take a stand and help stop bullies at your school or community.
If you'd like to seek further help and advice for bullying, feel free to give us a call on 0800 376 633 or free text us on 234.
We all know what bullying at school looks like, but what happens when bullies follow you home and into your own space through the internet? Online bullying happens over devices like mobile phones, computers, and tablets. Bullies might use texts, apps, social media sites, forums, or games.
If you’re being bullied online, this article will help you understand what that means and what you can do about it.
Is online bullying really a problem?
Yes, absolutely. It’s hard to get numbers on how many students experience online bullying because it happens out of school time and often goes unreported, but a 2016 survey showed three out of five women in their late teens have experienced cyber bullying. 14% of teachers have online bullying incidents reported to them at least once a week.
What is online bullying?
Most online bullying involves other people sending, posting, or sharing negative or false content about you online. It often involves sharing personal or private information about you with the goal of inciting others to bully or humiliate you.
Bullies use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share images or comments and incite others to join in the bullying. Many teens are also bullied over text messages on their phones, or over messaging services in social media or gaming platforms. You may go to school with your bullies, or they may be people from anywhere in the world who you don’t know in person.
Other cyberbullying methods include impersonating you or other people online, manipulating images to show false things about you, and sending abusive texts and emails.
Cyberbullying leaves you feeling humiliated, vulnerable, and lonely. Because the bullying follows you everywhere via your devices, it’s hard to escape and feel safe. If bullying posts go viral, you could find yourself being attacked by thousands of people. Personal information shared online by bullies can place you in dangerous situations or harm your ability to get a job or gain entry to university.
What can I do if I’m being bullied online?
If you or someone you know is experiencing online bullying, you should take these steps:
Keep yourself safe online
If you’re bullied or targeted online, it’s not your fault! However, you can take precautions to help limit the problem and ensure you aren’t as easy a target for scams, by:
Bullying is never okay, and if you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, you should speak up. But before you do, it’s important to understand if bullying is definitely going on, so it can be dealt with in the proper way.
A definition of bullying
According to Bullying Free NZ, bullying is defined as physical, verbal, or social behaviour that is deliberate, involves a misuse of power, is repeated/consistent, and can cause harm.
Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere. It doesn’t just happen at school, people can also experience bullying at social events, sports clubs, at home, and online.
Look for these signs to determine if bullying is happening:
The interactions are not between equals. The bully has some kind of power in the relationship. They may be physically stronger, have more social status, or know a secret about their victim.
It’s a pattern of behaviour. Bullying isn’t one off-incidents or friends falling out. It’s a continued pattern of aggression that hurts and isolates the victim.
It’s intended to hurt. Friends will sometimes hassle each other in a good-natured way. If a friend’s hassling hurts you, you should be able to talk to them about it. They might not even realise they said something hurtful. In contrast, a bully’s intention is to hurt you.
It causes harm to the victim. That harm might be physical intimidation, isolation from friend groups, humiliation from online posts, or low self-esteem because of nasty rumours.
Bullies may choose to act this way because they see it as fun, they want people to be afraid of them, they want to fit in, they’re copying examples from whanau or friends, or their victim makes them feel uncomfortable or envious.
Not all verbal or physical aggression is bullying. For example, bullying isn’t one-off fights or events, or having a difference of opinion between friends or classmates. It’s also not a single act of social rejection, theft (although bullies can also be thieves), or using derogatory comments that offend without meaning to. None of these things are good either, but they may need a different approach to dealing with a bully.
If you or someone you know is a victim of bullying, you should talk to a teacher, parent, or someone you trust.
Perhaps a teacher or parent has informed you that you need to change your behaviour, or you feel bad about the way you’ve been treating someone else. If you want to change your behaviour, this article can help.
Do you know what bullying is?
Bullying is repeated and unwanted aggressive behaviour toward another person that reinforces a power imbalance. Bullying comes in many forms, most commonly physical, verbal, relational, vandalism, or cyberbullying.
Ask yourself these important questions to figure out if you’re a bully:
How can I stop being a bully?
If you realise you’ve been bullying someone, the first step is admitting to yourself what you’ve done is wrong. Congratulations on making it that far – many bullies don’t.
You should think about why you did what you did. What made you feel as though you wanted to be a bully? Perhaps there is something else going on in your life and you were taking out your anger or frustration on another person? See if you can discover the root cause, so you can understand your own behaviour and prevent it from happening again.
Talk to an adult you trust about your behaviour, and ask them for advice on what to do. You may also like to speak to a counsellor.
Apologise to the person you hurt. It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re wrong. Ask them if you can do anything to make up for your behaviour. You should also delete any hurtful posts, pictures, or comments you made online about them.
For more information about what to do if you’re a bully or are experiencing bullying, see the Bullying Free NZ website.
Bullying effects thousands of young people in New Zealand. If you’re experiencing it yourself, the most important thing you can do is talk about it and seek help. Here’s some helpful ways to navigate bullying so you can take steps towards resolving it.
Talk to an adult you trust: Schools, activities and other areas are supposed to be safe for everyone, but if adults don’t know there’s a problem, they can’t work out ways to solve it. Talk to someone with a position of authority who may be able to change the situation.
Keep a log of incidents and dates: This includes any verbal or physical altercations and screenshots / transcripts of cyberbullying. If the situation escalates this log will become important evidence.
Practice safety in numbers: If you are concerned that bullying may escalate into physical violence, try to stay close to a friend or group of friends, even making sure you don’t walk home or between classes alone. True friends can support you during this time and help you see that there’s more to life than the bullying.
Walk away: Bullies gain their pleasure from the attention they receive, so if you walk away and don’t engage with the situation, you rob them of what they want. In many cases this can help resolve the issue – the bully will get bored with trying to hurt you. When walking away, turn your back on them and hold your head high – your body language shows you’re not being messed with.
Find constructive ways to deal with anger: Reacting with anger or hurt to a bully only gives them what they want. It’s tough to hold in your anger when someone is hurting you (or a friend), but if you can’t easily walk away, try humour instead – they won’t expect that. Hold your anger and let it out later in other ways – maybe by going for a long run, or talking to a close friend.
Don’t get physical in return: No matter how a bully treats you, if you react with physical force or violence, you may escalate the situation and end up getting hurt or in trouble. You don’t need to use physical force to stand up for yourself – there are other ways to cope.
Make yourself feel good: You can’t control what your bully will do next, but you can live your life and enjoy it. Do more of the activities you enjoy, or that make you feel strong and confident. Many bullying victims enjoy learning a sport like martial arts that allows them to feel confident in their body even though they don’t intend to ever hurt anyone.
Speak up to others: If you see a bully attacking others, or you notice bullying behaviour around your school, speak up and remind bystanders and other students that it’s not okay. It’s hard to be the one speaking up – especially if the bullies are at the top of the social hierarchy – but nothing will change if everyone ignores the problem.
Celebrate your true friends: Often, bullying comes from people who were close to us or who we thought we could trust. Instead of dwelling on their betrayal, celebrate the people in your life who stand by you. Spend time with them and remind them what they mean to you.
Are you a victim of bullying? If you’re concerned about the behaviour of peers or adults in your life, it’s important to know how to define bullying. Once you understand how to identify bullying, you can take steps to stop it.
Bullying is repeated aggressive and hurtful behaviour that specifically targets a single individual. If you’re the victim of bullying, you may feel isolated, depressed, and ashamed. Bullying may come from peers in your class or on your sports team, but it often starts with friends or people in your friend circle.
Types of bullying
You’re being bullied if you experience any of these tactics on a regular basis:
If you’re being bullied, you can take these steps:
If you’re being bullied, you know that it can destroy your self-esteem and sense of safety. You may even believe that the bullying is your fault.
It’s not, and it’s important that you talk to someone you trust about what’s happening. Bullying should be addressed so it isn’t allowed to continue.
Do you accept yourself?
What does that even mean?
Self-acceptance is not an automatic given. To accept yourself means to acknowledge both your flaws and your strengths. It means embracing who you are without conditions or qualifications.
It might be easy to accept the good and positive parts of yourself, but you might struggle to accept the uglier parts of your personality and mind.
If you’re struggling with depression or mental illness, you may also have the opposite problem – you readily accept what is ‘bad’ about yourself, but struggle to see anything good.
True self-acceptance comes from acknowledging that you have undesirable traits. You may be able to change and improve over time, but only if you first accept who you are right now.
Self-acceptance and self-esteem
Self-acceptance is similar to self-esteem. The key difference is that self-esteem is how you feel about yourself, and self-acceptance is a simple acknowledgement of yourself.
Psychologists believe the two go hand-and-hand, and one is important for the other. Seltzer (2008) says, “Whereas self-esteem refers specifically to how valuable, or worthwhile, we see ourselves, self-acceptance alludes to a far more global affirmation of self. When we’re self-accepting, we’re able to embrace all facets of ourselves—not just the positive, more ‘esteem-able’ parts.”
Studies from Vasile (2013) show that a lack of self-acceptance is related to lower levels of general well-being, and may be a symptom of mental illness. Self-acceptance is also valuable for addiction recovery.
How to build self-acceptance
There are many ways to improve your self-acceptance. Common suggestions include:
Thoughts to increase self-acceptance
Positive Psychology recommends practicing these thoughts every day to improve your self-acceptance:
Are you practicing self-acceptance? How can you improve?
As a student, you can experience tremendous pressure to perform and excel. From exams and music lessons, to the sports field and beyond, pressure to succeed can come from many directions.
If you’re feeling pressure from an external source that’s making you feel anxious or concerned, it’s important you acknowledge that and find ways to manage it. Here are our tips for dealing with pressure.
Where can pressure to perform come from?
Pressure and expectations come from many different places, usually by people who care about you and want you to succeed. Parents, friends, teachers, coaches, relatives, teammates, and even you yourself can cause stress and anxiety that can cause problems in your life.
What can you do?
If pressure is causing you to worry and affecting your study, you should take action. We recommend:
Pressure from outside can take the fun out of your favourite activities and make studying even more difficult. If you’re being pressured, talk to someone you trust and take steps to relieve the pressure, before you burst.