What teens need to know about bullying

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Find out what the different types of bullying look like and what to do if you’re being bullied or if someone you know is being bullied.

Key points

  • Bullying can take many different forms including hurting people physically, gossiping, teasing, and cyberbullying.
  • Dealing with a bully can be difficult but there are options you can try such as acting brave, ignoring them, standing up for yourself without being aggressive, and hanging out with friends who support you.
  • If you have been threatened or assaulted, call the police.
  • Never start or repeat rumours, or share messages or posts that could harm someone.

What does bullying look like?

Bullying can take many different forms. It includes:

  • Punching, shoving and other acts that hurt people physically
  • Spreading rumours about people
  • Keeping certain people out of a group
  • Teasing people in a mean way
  • Getting other people to bully someone else
  • Sending harassing or threatening messages online or by text message (cyberbullying)
  • Threatening to do any of the above things

What can I do if I’m being bullied?

You have the right to feel safe at school, at home, and in your community. There is no simple solution for dealing with a bully, but the following ideas can help:

  • Act brave, even if you don’t feel it. Bullies want to get a reaction out of you. Just ignore them or smile at them if they’re harassing you.
  • Stand up for yourself without being aggressive. Fighting back or being mean back to the bully is not a solution and could end up getting you hurt or into trouble.
  • Hang out with friends who support you. If your friends are the ones who are bullying you, they aren’t really your friends, and you should find a group of friends who support you and protect you from bullies.
  • Talk to an adult you trust (parent, teacher, coach, guidance counsellor). They may be able to give you advice on how to deal with a bully, or they may be able to step in to help protect you. Call the police if you have been assaulted or threatened. If someone has physically assaulted you or has threatened to hurt you, that’s a crime and you should call the police to intervene.

Take care of your mental health. If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health issues, talk to a trusted adult or health-care provider. You can also take a look at these mental health resources to find ways to help you cope: www.teens.aboutkidshealth.ca/mentalhealth

What can I do if someone else is being bullied?

  • If a friend or classmate is being bullied, stand up for them. It can help the person being bullied to know that they aren’t alone.
  • Never forward text messages, emails, direct messages or photos that could harm someone else.
  • Don’t repeat rumours about someone else, especially if they could damage that person’s reputation.
  • Find an adult trust who can stop the bullying. If you don’t want anyone to know it was you who reported the bullying, try leaving an anonymous letter with a teacher or guidance counsellor.
Last updated: May 16th 2022