Angie Brown (Childine officer) gives expert video advice on: What is bullying?; How do I know if I am being bullied?; I am being bullied, what do I do? and more...
What is bullying?
Bullying is when somebody is made to feel uncomfortable, unhappy, desperate, because of the acts of others. It can be verbal, it can be name calling, it can be physical, it can be taking somebody's lunch money if it's at school. All bullying is wrong. It's usually a gang bullying one person or two people, and in the most extreme cases it can lead to children feeling desperate enough to consider taking their own lives.
Should I leave work or school because I'm being bullied?
It shouldn't be necessary for you to leave school or work. The school has a responsibility to keep you safe. So, if you tell them you're being bullied, they should take the necessary steps to deal with it. Either to talk to the bullies or to ask you what you want to happen, because bullying is about control, and you have not got control. So it's important when you report it, that people give you the chance to have an input into how it's dealt with. You shouldn't leave work, either. There are processes that you can go through such as you can talk to your HR department. Again, you should be protected.
What will happen to the bully after I have told someone?
That's a very difficult to answer, because every case would be different. Hopefully what would be happening is that they would be spoken to. They maybe would realize the effect they're having on another human being, and would stop their behavior. But it's not always that simple. They may well get into trouble, but bullies know what they're doing. They know it's wrong. It's usually quite cowardly because it's not bullies on their own, it's usually a group of people. So if they do bully, then they should be ready to take the punishment.
Why do people become bullies?
Sometimes they become bullies because they are bullied. It may well be that they are bullied in their own home, and then they bully what they see as the next person down their pecking order. It can often be a younger child or an animal. Some people bully animals and are unkind to animals. It is usually about, somebody feeling that they are being bullied and wanting to copy that on somebody else.
Why are they picking on me?
The bullies might not even know why they are picking on you. It may be that you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bullying is a bit like a habit, once you've called somebody a name, when you see them again, bullies often call people names but then don't remember why they originally picked on them. It could be that they are envious of you. A lot of very bright young people who are good at exams and good at lessons are considered swats to bullies. It is important for whatever reason you are being bullied that you share that fact and you talk about it.