Being bullied can feel awful. There are some important things you should do if you are being bullied.
What bullying is
Bullying can mean a range of harmful and aggressive behaviours that can include:
- people calling you names
- threats and intimidation
- being teased
- being hit or attacked
- having rumours spread about you
- being ignored or left out
- having your belongings damaged or stolen
- workplace bullying.
Bullies might make personal or offensive comments about your appearance, your family, your religion, your race or your culture. Bullying can be motivated by fear, jealousy, ignorance or misunderstanding.
Talk to someone
You're not on your own. There is always someone who can help. Bullying will probably keep happening unless you tell someone about it.
- Tell a teacher or someone at your school. It doesn't matter where it happens - in school, out of school or online, teachers want to stop bullying when they know about it.
- Talk to your mum or dad, one of your family, a grandparent, friend or someone else who you know will listen to you. Ask them to help you work out what to do.
If things don't get better after you've told someone, tell them again or tell a different person.
Keep a record
If bullying is happening on your phone or the internet, keep messages and posts that hurt you or write down what happened and show an adult.
What else can I do?
It might take a while for new things to start working so don't give up if things don't get better right away.
If you are being bullied it's important to stay positive, be confident, and think about positive things, such as:
- what do you like doing at school and away from school
- what you are good at
- the people who like you and care about you
- friends away from school (eg. sport or drama).
Try some things yourself
- Tell the other person 'I don't like that'.
- Use a strong and confident voice. Even if you don't feel strong and confident, fake it!
- Talk with the person who is bullying you (if you think it's a safe thing to do). Ask them if there is a problem that you might be able to sort out together. If you feel too scared to do it alone, ask a friend to come with you.
- If possible, ignore the 'person' who is bullying you. When a person is ignored they often lose interest in continuing the bullying. If that doesn't work, tell someone and ask for their help.
- Don't try to get back at the person who bullies you. It usually doesn't work, and you can end up in trouble too.
- Hang around people who help you feel good about yourself. Friends don't bully you. They care about you and are fun to be around. You might also make new friends by caring about others.
If bullying happens on the phone or internet
- Don't respond to the message.
- Tell your mum or dad, one of your family, a grandparent, teacher, friend or someone else who can help you work out what to do.
- Ask for help to put a block on your mobile device or social networking page so you don't get the bullying posts or texts.
Why am I being bullied?
Research has shown that young people who are bullied often have these common characteristics and beliefs.
Targets of bullying can often:
- be intelligent
- be creative
- be successful
- be optimistic
- be empathetic
- be diligent and conscientious
- strive for perfection
- be idealistic and incorruptible
- be courageous
- be loyal and honest
- be trusting
- be dependable, helpful and selfless
- be reasonable and slow to anger
- be tolerant and forgiving
- be quick to apologise
- be non-violent
- have a sense of humour
- have an ability to think long term
- have an ability to master new skills
- have a desire to always think well of others
- have high coping skills under stress
- have an unwillingness to lower their standards
- have a strong well-defined set of values
- have high expectations of those in authority
- have a dislike of incompetent people in positions of power who abuse that power.
Some people who have been bullied believe the negative messages they are hearing and feel ashamed. They need to be supported to realise that the bullying is not their fault.
- be self-deprecating
- be indecisive
- be deferential
- be approval seeking
- be unassertive
- be dependent
- be naive
- have difficulty saying no
- have a tendency to internalise anger rather than express it.
Advice and support
Print and share support information in your school community: bullying advice .
Support services who can help
If you or someone you know need someone to talk to, for any reason, about anything, you can:
- call on 13 11 14
- call Kids on 1800 55 1800, 24 hours a day
Reviewed 17 March 2022