Bullying can happen at any age, and can be something that happens just once, or something that happens over and over. It can take the form of hitting, pushing or kicking, name-calling, ignoring, leaving someone out of a group or telling stories about someone. It can also happen online, which is called cyberbullying.
Why would someone become a bully?
People who bully others often do it because they want to belong to a group, and it makes them feel ‘popular.’ Other times, they do it because they’re unhappy with their lives, and they can only feel good when they make someone else feel bad. Some bullies act mean to others because that’s how they were treated themselves in the past, and they think it’s normal behavior to treat others badly.
What if I’m being bullied?
If you’re being bullied, you need to get away from the bully immediately. Once you’re away from the bullies, tell your parents or guardians. If you’re at school, tell your teacher. The adults who you told should help you put an end to the bullying. Know that you’re not doing anything to deserve the bullying and you deserve to get help from an adult.
What if I know someone else who’s being bullied?
If you see someone being bullied, try and stand up for that person. Tell the bully to stop what they’re doing and walk the person being bullied away from the situation. Put yourself in the shoes of the person being bullied. How would that make you feel? After you and the person who was being bullied get away, help him or her find an adult to talk to, and tell them what you saw as well. It’s important that you do the right thing and speak up for people when they need help.
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Have you ever been taunted, harassed, made fun of, humiliated or even physically harmed? Is the same person or group of people targeting you over and over again? If your answer is yes, then you may be a victim of bullying.
Types of Bullying
Bullies make their victims feel inadequate. They can do that through words, manipulation or physical harm. Here are some different types of bullying:
Emotional Bullying: This is a very subtle form of bullying, and can actually be a bit manipulative. Emotional bullying will make you feel isolated or alone, and may even leave you feeling depressed.
Verbal Bullying: Verbal bullying includes words or phrases that attack your self-image and may leave you feeling humiliated. If someone is verbally bullying you, they’re probably saying mean things about your appearance or character that make you doubt yourself.
Physical Bullying: This is the most obvious form of bullying. Physical bullying often includes kicking, pushing, punching or other physically harmful actions. Physical bullying can leave you feeling afraid or forced to do something that you don’t want to do.
Cyber Bullying: Any typed messages, photos or rumors sent directly to you or shared at your expense via instant messaging, texting, over a blog/form or through social media counts as cyber bullying. Even though it’s restricted to the digital realm, cyber bullying is just as dangerous as any other kind of bullying.
How to Get Help
If you’re being bullied, don’t keep it secret! Tell your friends, your parents or another trusted adult. Keep a secret journal and write down who is bullying you, what they’re doing and when it happens. Save pictures, messages or copies of conversations.
If there’s a chance that you could be physically harmed, make sure you’re never alone. Walk home with friends or stick close to other groups as they’re heading home. If there’s a certain time or place that you’re being bullied, switch up your schedule—even if that means talking to teachers or counselors and getting them involved.
Need someone to talk to about bullying? Contact us today using our anonymous text line (478-796-5367) and we’ll share more tips to safely escape your bully. Or visit www.stopbullying.gov to learn more about preventing teenage bullying.