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Have you seen someone bullying another kid? Is someone bullying you? Are you picking on someone else?

Just about everyone gets bullied or picks on another person at some time in their life. But it's wrong. No one deserves to be bullied. It hurts too much. But you have the power to do something about it.

What is bullying?
Bullying usually means hitting, shoving, chasing, or threatening another person. But there are other things people do to each other that also hurt. When kids tease another person, or tell lies about them, that's bullying, too. So is name-calling. Not letting another person play or join the group is another way kids hurt others.

What to do if someone is bullying you
If you are being bullied, you probably feel scared and alone. But remember, you don't deserve this. It's the person who hurts others who has the problem. Not you. Here's what to do if you are being bullied:

Be confident
Talk to the person who is bullying. Look him or her straight in the eye and say, "Stop." If the bully continues to tease you, ignore it and walk away immediately. Walk tall and be confident. Remember, a person who bullies wants to see you scared. If you just walk away then the bully may get bored and stop. This may be hard at first, so you might want to practice in front of a mirror. For example, if you are being teased about your hair colour, you might just say, "Yes, my hair is very red, and I like it that way." Then walk away.

Find a friend
If you are being bullied, make sure the bully doesn't find you alone. Try not to go places like the washroom alone. Try to have a friend with you at times when you may meet this person. Or just make sure you're around other kids, even if they aren't your friends.

Don't fight back
Try not to fight back. Most people who bully are bigger than the people they pick on, so you could get hurt. Or, if you get angry and strike out, you could get blamed for starting the trouble. Using violence to stop violence is wrong.

Don't protect your belongings
If the bully demands that you give up your money or something else that belongs to you, hand it over and walk away. It's not worth getting hurt over.

Tell an adult
Tell your parents and someone at school you trust, like a teacher or your principal. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Remember, bullying is wrong and you shouldn't have to put up with it. When adults know about it, they can help you stop the bullying.

Keep notes
Keep a notebook and write about each time you are bullied. Your notebook will help you prove what has been happening.

Build up your confidence
Remember that you are good at many things and are an important person. You may want to find some others who enjoy the same things as you do and make friends with them. Perhaps your school has a team or club you would like to join. Feeling good about yourself is the best defence against those who bully.

What to do if you see someone being bullied
Most kids don't get picked on by bullies or bully others. Even so, you've probably seen someone being bullied at one time or another. Characters on television sometime bully and act rudely as if it's funny. In real life, this is very hurtful. So, what do you do about it? If the person being bullied isn't a friend of yours, or if the behaviour is really mean, you may be tempted to walk away. But that wouldn't be right. Think how you would feel if you were being bullied? Here's what you can to do to help stop the bullying.

Tell the bully to stop.
Look the bully in the eye and say you don't like what they're doing. For example, you could say, "Kevin, hitting Jason isn't right," or "Samantha, it's not fair that you're spreading rumours about Amanda." By standing up to the bully, you're showing other kids they have the power to stop bullying, too.

Go for help
If someone is being mean or hurtful and you're afraid you might get hurt, move to a safe distance and call to the victim that you are going for help. Run to get a teacher or other adult to step in. This is not tattling. There's a big difference between tattling and telling an adult what's going on so another kid won't be hurt. Make sure you don't stand and watch someone being hurt without speaking out or going for help.

Include the victim
Try to be friendly to the person being bullied so they won't feel so alone. Invite them to play or eat lunch with you and your friends. Remember, there is strength in numbers. If you and your friends stand up to bullies, you will help keep your school and neighbourhood safe.

Source: Beyond Bullying - What you can do about it. A guide for upper elementary students and their parents. The Alberta Teachers' Association Safe & Caring Schools.

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