In Redbridge we are working hard to ‘Say No’ to bullying. This makes communities, clubs, schools and all the other places where young people go, safer places to be.

How do I know if I am being bullied?

Bullying is when someone chooses to say or do things that make you feel unhappy or scared. The behaviour is not just a one-off – it goes on and on, and you just don’t feel that there is any way of defending yourself against it.

Sometimes friends fall out and this can be upsetting. It is not bullying when you disagree with someone about something or have words about something. In these situations it’s just a one off and you feel you can do something to make it better or sort it out.

Sometimes just one person is behaving like this. Sometimes it can be a group of people. Often, in a group of people there are some people joining in, and others who are just standing there. Some people won’t be very comfortable with the behaviour, but look like they are supporting it because they don’t say anything to stop it, or because they stay around.

Bullying can include:

  • Hitting, kicking or pinching you
  • Saying mean things about you
  • Calling you names because of your race
  • Saying nasty things about you because of your language, religion or culture
  • Saying nasty things about you because of the way you look
  • Calling you names like ‘stupid’
  • Threatening you
  • Taking things from you or damaging your things
  • Calling you ‘Gay’, ‘Lezza’ or other names. (It doesn’t matter whether you are gay or not, it’s still bullying)
  • Putting you down because of your gender
  • Spreading rumours about you
  • Ignoring you or leaving you out- this can be ‘virtual’ on social networking sites as well as in the ‘real world’
  • Sending rude or threatening texts or emails or mobile phone videos
  • Putting unpleasant things on the internet about you

Why are they picking on me?

No-one deserves to be bullied. Bullies can make up lots of reasons for being mean, and saying or doing nasty things, but none of these reasons are any good. Remember you are not alone, and there are people who can support you.

What can I do if I am being bullied?

It can be helpful to talk to an adult you can trust, so they can help it to stop. Some people find a teacher they can confide in, other people choose a parent or a relative. You can also phone places like ChildLine, (0800-1111) for advice or support. ChildLine is there to listen, to help you talk about anything you need to. Your call will be confidential unless they think that you or someone else is in danger or at risk of harm. You can call from a home phone, mobile or phone box, and the calls are free. The number won’t show up on bills if you are phoning from a mobile or home phone, so nobody will know that you have called. If you don’t feel that you can talk to any of these people, you could look at the links on this Website under ‘Where to get help’.

Here are some other things that you can do:

  • Try and look calm and confident (this can be difficult at times). Some bullies are trying to get you to look upset and you can take way their fun by refusing to give them what they want.
  • Does your school have a peer mentoring system? It can be useful to talk to another student who has been trained to give you support.
  • Think about when the bullying happens. Can you avoid that place or person? Can you get support from friends so you aren’t on your own?
  • Try and do thinks to give yourself a boost. Try joining a club, self-defence, art, dance, or martial arts. All of these activities can help you feel more confident.
  • Does your school have a ‘Comments box’ or confidential e-mail system for reporting bullying? If you let people know about your worries, your teacher could spend some time discussing with your class ideas about how to deal with bullying.
  • Ask about your schools ‘Anti-bullying policy. This can help you find out what your school plans to do to help you if you are bullied.
  • Be cautious with your personal details- email address, phone number home address. Don’t give them out to people you don’t know.
  • Keep talking and get support from your teacher, youth worker, friends and family.
  • If you are hurt or your belongings are damaged, keep evidence to show an adult. This could be a photo.
  • If you are being bullied outside school, there are more ideas on the leaflet Beat bullying- Safety outside school.

They keep sending me nasty texts. What can I do?

Mobile phones, email and social networking sites are popular ways of keeping in touch with friends. They can be good fun. Sometimes people can use these things to bully. Mobile phones, social networking sites and email can also be used to say nasty things or spread rumours. It can be good to know how to deal with this sort of bullying. You don’t have to put up with it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Never give out the address of your home, your school or your phone number on the Internet. It might not seem like it, but the Internet is a public place and people that you would never choose to give your information to, could just see it without you knowing.
  • If you are bullied by text message, keep the message and show an adult. With their help you can block that person from your phone. If necessary your phone number can even be changed so they can’t get in touch with you.
  • Ask for your school’s ‘Safe internet use’ policy. This can have lots of useful information about what your school has put in place to stop people using the internet or their mobile phone in a wrong way.

What do I do if know someone else is being bullied?

Don’t be an audience! Bullies will feel that they can get away with it if others laugh or even just watch. If you see someone bullying and you don’t feel that it is safe to stop it- walk away, don’t stand by.

  • Tell an adult, or use the schools comment box or confidential email reporting system.
  • You could suggest setting up a ‘peer mediation scheme’ in your school. This is where young people are given training to support other children in the school. You could volunteer to be involved.
  • Look out for the person you know is being picked on. Make friends with them, or walk with them in lunch queues or corridors. Bullies think twice about being mean if someone has supporters.
  • You can phone ChildLine to get advice about how to help others who are in difficult situations.

I think I might be a bully. What should I do?

Well done for recognising your behaviour is hurting other people and caring enough to want to do something about it. You can stop bullying if you want to. Some people find it useful to ask one of their friends to remind them when they are going to far and they are saying mean things rather than being funny.

It is also useful to remember that saying nasty things about people’s identity (race, religion, language, what they look like or sexuality or being mean about someone because they are a boy or a girl) is always wrong because it is so hurtful and makes people feel like they are not wanted. Remember, you can get into serious trouble for bullying.

Sometimes people bully because they are having problems in some way in their lives, and they need help with other difficult things that are happening to them. Is this a bit like you? It is important to get help, for instance from a teacher at your school.

Useful websites:

  • Anti-Bullying Network
    An independent operation to support anti-bullying work in schools and offer an anti-bullying service whilst will include the provision of training, publications and consultancy services.
  • Bullying UK – Telephone: 0808 800 2222
    Information, advice and support for children and young people on tackling bullying.
  • ChildLine – Telephone: 0800 1111
    Free and confidential telephone helpline for children and young people.
  • Kidscape – Telephone: 020 7730 3300
    Information for children and young people, parents, and professionals.
  • Samaritans Redbridge
    Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service available 24 hours a day.
  • StopCyberbullying
    A cyberbullying prevention programme designed to motivate schools, students and parents to stand up to cyberbullying.
  • Redbridge Families Information Direct (FiND) – information on bullying.