Are you a bully?

Are you worried that you have started something that is getting out of control and that you feel you can’t stop? Are you upsetting someone for no reason and feeling guilty? If you do – you could be a bully.

Do you do any of the following?

  • Tease, insult, pick on or harass someone else or others?
  • Have you ever hit, shoved, threatened, intimidated or scared others?
  • Are you part of a group that picks on another person or a group of other people and laugh at their expense?
  • Do you call people that are different to you names? This could be things such as commenting on the way they look or dress, their intelligence, their disabilities or their nationality or race.

If the answer to any of these is ‘Yes’, you might not consider yourself a bully, but your actions are bullying and you could be having a serious affect on someone else. Think about what you could be doing to them. Your treatment could have a really bad effect on their life and on their future.

If you are a bully, then have a think about what might be making you act this way? Although you might have a few friends, bullying won’t earn you respect and most people will only be nice to you because they are scared. It would be better for you if people were friendly and wanted to spend time with you because they wanted to, rather than being scared of what you might do to them.

Maybe you call someone names as a laugh, but do you know that if this is done repeatedly, it could upset someone badly, especially if it is because they are a different race or religion or maybe because they are slower at learning or doing things.

However, things aren’t always that clean cut. Most bullies only bully people because they have their own problems and they bully to try to have a sense of control and importance. It might be insecurity in their own lives or anger about something and they feel the only way to release this pressure is to bully. A bully might be being bullied themselves at home and find when they bully it is the only time when they are in control.

If you feel you are acting in a bullying way, talk to someone you can trust and try to explain why you do it – if you get to the bottom of your own problems it might make you stop bullying completely. Think about the pain and upset you are causing to the people being bullied. It could be a large focus on their life and upset them so much they might take drastic measures.

Many sufferers of bullying have tried to commit suicide because they are so unhappy and lonely.

Think seriously about your actions and the effect they might be having. You’ll probably be happier in yourself and more popular if you stop bullying. Be mature enough to stop and think about what you are doing. At the end of the day no one deserves to be bullied.

Who can help?

The teachernet website has information for pupils, their families and teachers on how to tackle bullying.

The BBC Radio 1 website is full of helpful advice on bullying. Visit the site http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/bullyproof/

Bullying UK is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Visit http://www.bullying.co.uk/index.php/young-people/advice/introduction-to-bullying.html. They will answer your emails on any aspect of bullying.

Kidscape is a national charity committed to keeping children safe from bullying and abuse. Their helpline – 08451 205 204 – is available at a local rate from 10.00am-4.00pm, Monday-Friday. You can also visit their site at http://www.kidscape.org.uk/childrenteens/index.asp.

ChildLine is the free 24-hour helpline for children and young people in the UK. You can call 0800 1111 about any problem you might be having, at any time – day or night. You can also visit the Bullying section of their website.

You can also speak to an adviser at your local Youth Start Centre.

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