Bullying describes any behaviour that hurts someone else. Bullying behaviours can happen at school, at home or online, and the behaviours can be repeated over long periods of time, hurting young people physically and emotionally.
Online bullying - using social networks, games and mobile devices - is known as cyberbullying. Young people can feel like there’s no escape because it can happen wherever they are and at any time of day or night.
There are many types of bullying, which can include:
If you suspect a child is being bullied, you might notice some of the following:
Young people who are bullied are more at risk of developing mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Young people at the highest risk are those who are both bullied and who bully others.
Don’t panic. Bullying is never pleasant but it’s important to establish the facts and reassure your child that you will deal with the problem together. Help them to work out a response to any comments they are receiving, and discuss what they could do if someone wants to fight them. You might be tempted to tell them to retaliate but this is best avoided as it can have unpredictable results.
Depending on age and appropriateness, always tell them what actions you’re taking.
If it's happening in a school or social environment, discuss your issues with the teacher/leader.
If your child has been seriously harmed or is at risk of serious harm this is a safeguarding issue and you should seek immediate help (eg call 999 and/or your local children’s services team).
You can contact your local School Nursing team to arrange to speak to your School Nurse for a confidential appointment (or see our self-help and other support section below for advice and further support from other organisations).
You might want to discuss the problem with the school, whether or not the bullying is associated with the school day, as the impact could still affect their concentration, focus and progress.
You can find additional support online by visiting: