ARCHIVED - What can I do if I am being bullied and picked on?


Bullying is a common problem in many schools. Bullying happens more often in the lower grades, but it's also a big problem in high school.

Types of bullying

You may be a victim of one or more of these five types of bullying:

  1. Verbal bullying can include name-calling, teasing and spreading rumours.
  2. Emotional bullying is leaving people out of things (games, team sports), making fun of them or humiliating them and threatening them.
  3. Racial bullying involves racist comments or graffiti.
  4. Sexual bullying means unwanted contact or rude personal comments.
  5. Physical bullying involves physical violence, such as hitting, pushing, stealing, etc.

All kinds of bullying are upsetting and painful. Bullying can happen in school, in your community, even on your street. It can lead to many problems, including:

  • feeling mad, sad, or starting to feel depressed;
  • developing low self-esteem, feeling lonely and withdrawn from friends and family.
  • becoming uncomfortable at school, missing classes, having trouble with school work, or dropping out all together.

You should know that ...

  • bullying isn't your fault.
  • bullying isn't the same as teasing — it's a form of aggression that is not normal and not acceptable.
  • unfortunately, the problem won't go away by itself — if ignored, the damage can last a long time.

What can you do?

Bullies rarely work well without an audience, and most kids don't like to see someone being picked on. Don't be the audience. If kids join together to stand up against a bully, the bully will lose his or her power and most likely stop.

If you see bullying happen and you are afraid to get involved, find an adult for help.

Talk to your parents or an adult you trust, like a school counsellor, the school nurse or a teacher. It's not a sign of weakness to get help. You can't solve this problem by yourself. The bully is usually not alone, and that's what makes them look powerful. The bully has an aggressive behaviour problem. Someone who bullies needs adult and professional help.

If bullying happens at school, you or your parents should talk to your teacher or the school principal. It is the school's responsibility to take action against this form of harassment. It could be useful to talk to a counsellor or a psychologist if you're really upset or depressed or if you need to talk to someone about how you feel.

You can also “bully-proof” yourself.

  • Learn to walk away rather than take the abuse.
  • Stay with a group. Bullies prefer one-on-one contact.
  • Talk to the bully directly, briefly and with confidence. Role-play with a parent or another adult or friends to practice how you can look confident and assertive. But don't resort to violence against the bully; the situation will simply get worse.
  • You can increase your self-esteem and self-confidence by joining activities that you enjoy.
  • You and your parents can also make sure your school has a no-tolerance policy toward bullying and that they enforce it. It's up to the school, the adults in your life, and yourself to make sure your environment is safe.

For more information and help:

Kids Help Phone is Canada's only toll-free, national telephone counselling service for children and youth. This site offers a forum for kids: experiencing violence, either at home or in their communities; struggling with alcohol and/or drug abuse; dealing with issues related to suicide; being bullied. Tips for parents are featured.

A site designed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that provides information on problems facing youth.

For more information: Healthy Canadians - Bullying

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