Bullying – advice for young people

There are usually three people or groups of people involved in bullying situations:

  • The person who is being bullied
  • The person or group doing the bullying
  • The people who are watching or know about it

If you are being bullied

Bullying can happen to anyone. All of us, no matter how brave or how old, can feel hurt by the way people treat us. If you are being bullied, you might think that if you tell, it will get worse, or that other people won’t like you. You might think that no one will believe you. If you are being bullied by email or text, you might think that if you tell someone you will not be allowed to go online or use your phone any more. We know that all of these things can make it hard for people to tell someone they are being bullied. Sometimes, people who are being bullied lose their confidence and start to feel bad about everything. This makes it even harder to deal with it. It’s important to tell yourself that it’s not your fault. No one deserves to be bullied.

If you are being bullied:

  1. Do something – bullying won’t go away on its own and it may get worse.
  2. Tell someone you trust – such as a teacher, parent, youth worker or friend.
  3. Keep a record – and save any nasty texts or emails that you have been sent (see anti-bullying diary in the Documents and downloads section on the right-hand side of this page)
  4. Try to stay with a group when you don’t feel safe or if you are alone, go into a shop and ask an adult for help.
  5. Try not to retaliate – you could get into trouble or get hurt.

If you can’t talk to anyone near to you, there are other ways to get help:

Remember – it’s not your fault. No one deserves to be bullied.

If you choose to bully someone

Sometimes people who bully don’t understand what hurt they are causing. Most people who bully do it because they need to feel more powerful – maybe they have been bullied themselves or maybe there are other things going wrong in their lives and this is a way to make themselves feel better. The trouble is, the feeling of power doesn’t last very long – so then they have to do it again. If you choose to bully someone, think about the following things:

  • How would you feel if it was you on the receiving end? How would you feel if it was your little brother or sister?
  • What other things are going on in your life that make you need to get power this way? What could you do about them? Who could help you?
  • What might happen to you if you carry on? If you get excluded from school, or get into trouble with the police, how might that affect your life?

It takes more courage to admit you are bullying someone and to ask for help than it does to bully someone – are you tough enough?

If someone you know is being bullied

Most people who bully others like an audience. They get an extra ‘buzz’ from talking about it or actually doing the bullying in front of other people. We know that children and young people can often do more than anyone else to help someone who is being bullied. It can be scary and you should never put yourself at risk, but if you know someone is being bullied:

  • Tell an adult you trust about what is happening
  • Don’t join in, it’s not cool to bully or to encourage bullying
  • Tell the person or people doing the bullying to stop, if it is safe to do so.
  • Form a friendship group for the person being bullied to make sure they are not isolated.

If you know someone is being bullied and you don’t try and help them, you are making it worse.

Bullying – advice for young people was last updated on December 5, 2016.


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