First of all, if you are being bullied, or know someone who is, talk to someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s your sibling, the school counsellor, a parent, or your friends, someone will do something about it. It’s important to have help to deal with it, because it can have such negative effects on everyone involved.
Whether you’re dealing with someone who pushes you around, a mystery cyber troll or a pack of venomous girls, it’s important you know how to cope with bullies.
Bullying is more than just a one-off thing, like a friend calling you a name when they’re annoyed with you. It’s more someone setting out to make your life miserable by maybe threatening you, starting rumours about you, touching you when you don’t want them to, hurting you physically, stealing your stuff or abusing you online (this could mean hacking you, posting mean things about you or creating fake accounts in your name).
Bullies often target those who are different from them. It could be because of your culture or religion, that you’re older or younger, that you have a disability or because you’re smarter than them. If you’re depressed or anxious they’ll often sense it, making you even more of a target. Most of the time bullies feel bad about themselves and the only way they can feel up is by bringing you down.
Bullying is a serious problem that can disrupt your life and lead to physical and emotional health problems. It can cause you to avoid school, university or work, potentially causing a form of anxiety called a phobia. And because bullying attacks your self-esteem, it can lead to depression, drug or alcohol use or, in very severe cases, even suicide.
What can you do if you’re being bullied?
If you’re being bullied, it’s really important to let someone know. Tell a friend, a teacher or school counsellor, a lecturer, a supervisor or your parents.
If you don’t want to talk to someone face to face, you could try writing a note or an email to someone you trust that lets them know what’s happening and how you feel.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know. That’s where services like Youthline, Kidsline, What’s Up, Lifeline and of course The Lowdown team come in handy. Contact details for these services are in the box below.
Stick to areas where you feel safe and hang out with people you trust. Bullies won’t normally pick on you as much when there are other people around.
You might not want the bully to know you’re telling someone about them. It’s best to choose a time and a place where the conversation won’t be noticed by others.
Where to get help:
If you want to chat about how you’re feeling, or you’ve got any questions, you can:
- text The Lowdown team for free on 5626
- email The Lowdown team in the Chat section of www.thelowdown.co.nz. You can also ask them to give you a call back if you want to talk on the phone
- Kidsline: this is where you can talk to a Kidsline Buddy – a bit like an older brother or sister who is trained to help callers. Call any weekday between 4pm and 6pm on 0800 Kidsline (0800 543 754).