Stand up to bullying

Bullying is mean, cruel, hurtful behaviour. It involves using power in a negative way to hurt others.

We all have the power to make a huge difference in stopping and preventing bullying. 

Bullying facts

  • Bullying is NOT a normal part of growing up. People who have been bullied can experience depression, substance misuse, criminal behaviour and suicide. People who bully others can have difficulty having healthy relationships when they become adults.
  • Bullying is different from friendly teasing. To tell the difference, consider intent—was the person intending to cause hurt? Even when there is initially no intent to harm the other person, teasing can cross the line and turn into bullying behaviour.
  • Bullying is based on an imbalance of power. People can use things like age, popularity, social status, size, physical strength, money, possessions, or information/expertise to gain unhealthy power over others.
  • Bullying is usually repeated over time. Bullying usually involves the same person being targeted over and over again.
  • Standing up to bullying can make a difference. When people stand up and intervene, more than half the time the bullying will stop in 10 seconds or less.

Bullying prevention tips

For those who are experiencing bullying

  • Talk to an adult that you trust, and don’t be afraid to ask a friend to go with you.
  • Report the incident according to your school or organization’s anti-bullying policy.
  • Spend your time with friends who you can count on to support and stick up for you.
  • Appear confident—stand tall, hold your head high, make eye contact, speak firmly—and let the person doing the bullying know that it is not okay.
  • Stand up for yourself without being aggressive; violence only makes things worse.
  • Remind yourself that you do not deserve to be bullied or harassed.
  • To get help: Kids Help Phone 1-800- 668-6868 or www.kidshelpphone.ca

For those who are bullying others

  • If you have bullied others, you can stop!
  • Talk to someone you trust who can help you find ways to have healthy relationships.
  • Ask a friend to tell you if they notice if you start to bully others.
  • You do not have to like everybody, but you do have to respect everybody.
  • If you are unsure of how to apologize after you have bullied, ask an adult or a friend for help.
  • Challenge yourself to be more inclusive of others and to be a good friend.
  • Everyone has power. Use yours in a positive way to help others, not hurt them.

For those who are witnessing bullying

  • By getting help, you are part of the solution; watching and doing nothing makes you part of the problem.
  • Report the incident according to your school or organization’s anti-bullying policy.
  • If you see somebody who is being bullied, assess the situation; intervene if you feel safe—if not, get an adult to help.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask friends to support you in speaking out against bullying.
  • Don’t laugh or cheer on bullying—refuse to go along with it.
  • Write down what happened so you can describe the bullying incident clearly later.
  • Ask your teacher or counselor for effective ways to intervene in bullying situations.
  • Talk to the person who has been bullied and let them know that they do not deserve to be treated like that and show them that you care.
  • Try to be more inclusive of kids who you know are being bullied; be a good friend.

For further action
Take action in your school or community to stop bullying. Work with your school or community to form a bullying prevention team.

Visit www.redcross.ca/TakeAction for ideas.