Bullying affects over one million young people every year, and anyone can be bullied. Bullying is repeated behaviour intended to hurt somebody either emotionally or physically.

This may be by using spoken words, physical violence, emotions, or the internet. Cyberbullying is bullying through electronic means, such as phones, tables or online video games.


Examples of bullying

Although common in school, bullying can also prove a problem at work in adult life too. It can sometimes be difficult to spot, especially if it’s happening to you, and can take many forms.

Types of bullying include:

  • physical assault
  • teasing and name-calling
  • making threats
  • spreading false rumours about a person
  • damage to property or schoolwork
  • excluding a person from a group (such as not inviting them to parties)
  • cyberbullying takes place through mobile phones or online, it may occur through social network sites, instant messenger apps, email or gaming sites.
    • sending or posting offensive or insulting messages
    • posting pictures to embarrass, humiliate or ridicule a person
    • posting false information about a person
    • cyberstalking – using the internet to stalk or harass an individual
  • workplace bulling, may include:
    • persistent humiliation, ridicule or criticism in front of others
    • posting pictures to embarrass, humiliate or ridicule a person
    • undermining a person – belittling them or putting them down
    • deliberately leaving a person out of discussion or decisions

Bullying may also take the form of being homophobic, racist or sexist.


The impact of bullying

Bullying causes unhappiness and distress; it can even result in suicide. It often has the power to make you feel isolated and worthless, lonely, anxious, angry and lacking confidence.

Some people who are being bullied might develop depression, anxiety and eating problems. If you’re experiencing problems like these because of bullying, and it’s having an impact on your health, you’ll need to talk to your GP extra support.

The impact of bullying is huge. Being bullied at school can cause a child stress and a number of physical or mental health problems.

How can I get help for bullying?

Unfortunately, ignoring bullying won’t make it disappear. You need to tell someone about what is happening.

If the bullying is taking place at school, children and adolescents and/or their parents should approach a teacher to discuss the situation and its impact. It’s not advisable for parents themselves to approach the parent of the alleged bully, but rather work with the school to deal with the issue and support their son/daughter.

In the event of cyberbullying, you should be advised to not respond to hurtful posts and to save the evidence of them. Depending on the individual situation, it should be reported to a schoolteacher, a parent, or the police.

In the workplace, people should report bullying to their line-manager or to the Human Resources (HR) department.