The accepted definition of bullying is the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological and can happen face-to-face or through online.

There are a couple of important parts here:

  • Repetitive – children might say they are being bullied if somebody does something nasty to them just once. Although not nice, it isn’t bullying.
  • Intentional – context of words online can be difficult as you can’t often show emotion. Sometimes people don’t mean to say something that comes across as hurtful or nasty, it may just be poorly worded.

Did you know?

7 out of 10 young people have been victims of cyberbullying. Facebook, Twitter and Ask.FM are the most common social networks for cyberbullying. An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyber bullying on a daily basis.

For more statistics, see the website of the fantastic charity, Ditch the Label

What’s the Risk?

Online bullying is often referred to as cyberbullying; using communications technology such as texting, posting on social media profiles, forums etc. in order to cause harm to others.  Cyberbullying is arguably more problematic for three reasons:

  • The perceived anonymity of the perpetrator

  • The ease by which others can join in.

  • The always-on nature of technology.

Advice for Children

Research tells us that children will not always talk to their parents about bullying.  You should always talk to someone:

  • Childline – call this Helpline and speak to someone, you can talk anonymously if you want to, you don’t have to give your name – 0800 1111

  • Talk to another friend at school, or maybe you have a brother or sister.

  • Talk to your teacher at school or another trusted adult such as a police officer.

  • If you’ve been bullied online or via text, keep the evidence to show somebody.  Make sure you know how to take screenshots on whatever devices you use.

Advice for Parents

Comprehensive advice about all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying, can be found on the websites below.  There is lots of advice about what bullying is, how to recognize it, what you can do about it, and also advice if you suspect your child is being bullied at school.

Importantly, it’s vital that your child knows that he/she can talk to you about any issue, including bullying, but also ensure they (and you) know how to take screenshots on any of the devices they use for evidential purposes.

Experts and Resources

The Anti-bullying Alliance is a coalition of organisations and individuals working together to stop bullying and create safe environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn.

Each year ‘Anti-Bullying Week’ is held in October, and this year the theme is ‘Make a Noise about Bullying’ as you can see in the video below.

The Diana Award is the only charity that bears the name of the name of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Anti-bullying Ambassadors Programme empowers young people to lead on bullying by giving them the skills, confidence and support to run anti-bullying activities in their schools and communities.