Bullying: the facts

content supplied by NHS Choices

Many children and young people experience bullying but you don't have to put up with it.

Almost half of all children and young people (46%) say that they've been bullied at some point during their time at school, according to the Tellus4 National Report [pdf, 1.33MB], carried out in 2009.

Find out where to get help
If you're being bullied, you don't have to put up with it. There are many people and organisations that can help you; see Where to find help if you’re being bullied.

If you’re concerned that your child is being bullied, read What to do you if your child is being bullied.

What is bullying?
Bullying can take many forms: from teasing and spreading rumours to pushing someone around and causing physical harm. It often happens in front of other people.

It includes name calling, mocking, kicking, taking belongings, writing or drawing offensive graffiti, messing around with people’s belongings, gossiping, excluding people from groups, and threatening others.

Why are people bullied?
Children and young people are bullied for all sorts of reasons. It can be due to their race, their religion, their appearance, their sexual orientation, because they have a disability or because of their home circumstances. People are bullied for being black, white, fat, clever, gay or red-haired. These are a few examples.

But people are sometimes picked on for no reason.

Cyberbullying is increasingly common both inside and outside school. Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that involves the use of mobile phones or the internet. For example, sending offensive text messages and emails, circulating degrading images on the internet, or impersonating someone on social networking sites such as Facebook. For more information on cyberbullying and how to respond to it, see How to deal with cyberbullying.

The effects of bullying
Bullying makes the lives of its victims miserable. It undermines their confidence and destroys their sense of security.

Bullying can cause sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety and poor concentration, and lead to self-harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, suicide.

Bullying can also affect children and young people's attendance and progress at school.

Help for parents and children
To find out where to get help with bullying, read Bullying: how to stop it, Bullying advice for parents or How can I stop being a bully?

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