Are you worried your friend is a bully?
Bullying can be difficult to deal with especially if someone you know is involved. You might think your friend is:
- someone you don't want to be around anymore
- harming their chances at school or maybe on the verge of getting into more serious trouble
- being pushed into bullying by someone else
Or maybe you don't think it's even that serious yourself. Perhaps you think they're involved in something that's just a bit of a laugh. But harmless fun to you or your friend is not seen that way by the person on the receiving end.
Think about the person being bullied. They might feel:
- upset or scared
- that there's nothing anyone can do to help them
- that if they report it things will get worse
So it's important to do something about it.
Depending on the situation, and how serious the bullying is, you might first want to talk to your friend and ask why they are doing this:
- Is anything bad happening to them at home or in some other aspect of their life?
- Could someone be bullying your friend, which is why they've become a bully themselves?
- Have they thought about what the person they are bullying is probably feeling?
What can you do?
Most importantly - the bullying must stop. If you think your friend will listen, encourage them to talk to someone:
- their parents or another adult they can trust
- a teacher
- a professional in confidence at ChildLine on 0800 1111 - they won't have to give their name so if they're worried about owning up to what they've been doing, you can tell them not to worry
- they can also contact a specialist charity such as Beatbullying which has a CyberMentor scheme (see below for details).
If you don't think they'll listen to you, you could talk to someone yourself.
If you think it's getting really bad and they're being violent or abusive to someone, perhaps you feel you need to report it, even if you know your friend will get into a bit of trouble. It's better that they get into trouble now, before things get worse and someone ends up hurt.
- Your teacher should be the first person to speak to, but also consider contacting your Safer Schools Officer. Most types of bullying aren't normally a matter for police unless someone is hurt or a crime is committed. But one of the jobs of the Safer Schools Officers is to help teachers prevent bullying so they will want to know what's going on. Find out how to contact your Safer School Officer here.
- If you would prefer to speak to the police contact your local police station or Safer Neighbourhoods Team - if it's an emergency and someone is in immediate danger call 999.
Registered charity Beatbullying can offer access to highly-trained young people who offer support and advice online.