Primary: Words won't hurt

Bullying hurts most when it happens all the time and more and more people get involved.

What’s the issue?

Most online bullies are offline bullies too. Bullies often choose any small difference or something they think the person is concerned about as an excuse for bullying. With social media sites being accessible all day and night, it can feel like there is no safe place to escape from the bullying.

Why does it matter?

  • Bullying often has long-term negative effects on people’s well-being emotionally and physically.
  • Sometimes when other people are doing something you feel like it is ok for you to do it too, bullies love an audience and to get other people involved, but this makes it much worse for the victim.
  • It is even easier to spread lies and rumours through social media than face-to-face. It is hard to stay connected to friends when it means that bullies can get to you too.
  • Research shows that boys most often bully other boys and girls tend to bully girls but when a boy bullies a girl (or vice-versa) it can have a very strong impact because teens and adolescents are still developing and changing so much physically and emotionally.


Tell someone you trust

Talk to someone you trust to help you work out some strategies to stop the bullies impacting on you. Go beyond just your friends and ask older siblings or trusted adults to help and support you.

Take action: get evidence of the bullying

  • Print out or make a copy of text messages so that you can show a trusted adult what is happening. This will support your explanation of more sneaky bullying like whispered insults and things like deliberate bumping.
  • Get help! You deserve to feel safe and to make your own choices.
  • Use privacy settings to lock out people you don’t trust or like.
  • Bullies love to make you change your behaviours, and they would like to cut you off from other people. Don’t let them!

Printable advice sheets

To download a copy of this advice sheet, see: