Bullying: the facts

Many children and young people experience bullying at school and outside of school – but they don't have to put up with it.

Almost 45,000 children talked to ChildLine about bullying in 2013. NSPCC figures suggest nearly half of children and young people (46%) have been bullied at school at some point in their lives.

Find out where to get help with bullying

If you're being bullied, you don't have to put up with it. There are many people and organisations that can help with bullying.

If you're concerned your child is being bullied, there are steps parents can take to deal with the bullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying can take many forms, from teasing and spreading rumours, to pushing someone around and causing physical harm. It often happens in front of other people.

Bullying includes name calling, mocking, kicking, taking or messing around with people's belongings, writing or drawing offensive graffiti, gossiping, excluding people from groups, and threatening others.

Why are people bullied?

Children and young people are bullied for all sorts of reasons. It can be because of your race, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, because you have a disability, or because of your home circumstances.

People are bullied for being black, white, fat, clever, gay, or red-haired. These are just a few examples. But sometimes you can be picked on for no reason.

Cyberbullying is increasingly common both inside and outside school. It is any form of bullying that involves the use of mobile phones or the internet. 

Examples include sending offensive text messages and emails, circulating degrading images on the internet, or pretending to be someone else on social networking sites such as Facebook.

Find out more about cyberbullying and how to deal with it.

The effects of bullying

Bullying makes the lives of its victims miserable. It undermines their confidence and destroys their sense of security. It can also affect children and young people's attendance and progress at school.

Bullying can cause sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, and poor concentration. It can lead to self-harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, suicide.

And there's evidence that, for some people, being bullied regularly as a child can also be linked to emotional problems as an adult.

Help for parents and children

To find out where to get help with bullying, read:

Page last reviewed: 20/05/2015

Next review due: 20/05/2018


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