Cyberbullying has become one of the best-known forms of bullying. Because its victims can’t get away from this bullying, it has become known for being one of the deadliest forms used to single out a victim. Other forms of bullying exist as well – harassment, physical violence, teasing and name-calling also qualify as bullying, especially when the behaviors are unwelcome. Among other facts about bullying, girls are targeted by other girls for social bullying, which can be identified by its exclusion of the victim.
Bullying in the UK – What You Can Do
Not all forms of bullying break the law in the UK, according to Gov.UK. If a bullying incident turns into assault or involves some form of violence, it can be reported to the police.
If the bully steals the victim’s belongings, the victim can report this to the police. If the bully engages in repeated bullying behaviors, such as making threats, intimidating the victim, calling them names or sending abusive emails or text messages, these can be reported to law enforcement. In addition, if an episode of bullying is carried out against someone in a protected group, it can be considered a hate crime, making it eligible for investigation by law enforcement.
“Bullying” is defined as any aggressive or unwanted behavior between school children that relies on a perceived imbalance of power. This behavior must take place more than once – or it must be likely to be repeated, according to the Stop Bullying website. The bullying definition has to include one of several t types of bullying.
The bully threatens their victim, attacks them verbally or physically, or may spread rumors about the victim. Some bullies also exclude victims from their groups of friends, doing so purposely.
Bullying takes place on school grounds, during school and afterward. Victims can be bullied while walking home from school as well.
Bullying affects victims negatively. Over time, the victims begin to think less of themselves, believing they “deserve” to be mistreated. Their self-esteem falls to low points and they may begin to feel suicidal. Bullying victims feel unsafe, according to the National Health Service.
As the victim undergoes more and more bullying, they may feel isolated and lonely, especially if their bully has been successful in convincing their friends to ignore them. School performance falls as the victim is less and less able to concentrate on school and assignments. If the bullying becomes persistent or severe, the victim may begin to skip school, which worsens their school performance.
Bullying victims need the support and encouragement of parents, friends and other loved ones. Some quotes from others who have been through the experience may help them to realize that bullying doesn’t have to define who they are. Some of these quotes help to remind victims of bullying that they aren’t like their bullies and how they can redefine themselves.
º You aren’t a fighter, but that doesn’t mean you’re a loser. Bullies would vanish because they can’t fight intelligently. –Andrew Vachss
º Bullies are like used-up sandpaper. All your bullying experiences have refined you and made you stronger. In comparison, your bully is wasted and still bitter, still angry. –Chris Colfer
º Bullies mistake their victims as “weak” because they are nice people. In actuality, it takes more good character to be that “nice” person.–Mary Elizabeth Williams
º The bully is the meanest, least able person accusing their victim of being stupid and incompetent. They make the mistake of targeting the best, least aggressive person in the room.–Tim Field
º Always be the best “you” you can be rather than being a poor imitation of someone else.–Judy Garland
º Our choices define who we are, much more so than what we are able to do. –J.K. Rowling
Anna: As a first year in secondary school, Anna was targeted by several boys who had gone to her old school. The boys began to call her “Mogly,” the name of a gremlin. After reporting the targeting and name-calling to her heads of year, the behavior stopped – then it began again, this time because Anna had reported the bullying.
After getting a new pair of shoes for school, one of Anna’s friends made fun of the shoes. Anna, believing the girl was her friend, was hurt. At the end of first year, everything has been resolved.
David: Beginning in grade four, David was targeted by a school mate who called him gay. At first, he wondered if it was because he was Filipino, but he ruled that possibility out.
In the next year, several of David’s school mates called him gay, because he screamed like a girl at that point. He also hung out more with girls because it was easier on him socially.
In grade 6, David had the thought of transferring to another school. After talking to the principal, David didn’t think anything would change. David also told a friend what was going on, then wondered why he spoke up. From there, the school guidance counselor spoke to him, then some of his friends began to provide emotional support. It was at this point that he began to regain self confidence.
Jada: Like David, Jada began experiencing bullying in her fourth year of school. She had chubby cheeks and very long hair. She cut her hair in fifth grade, but this didn’t help. After this happened, her bullies spread the rumor that Jada cut her hair because she had cancer.
Next, she tried to lose weight, but after an injury she suffered, it was difficult to do so. Soon, she began to self-isolate, staying in her room after school. Her grades suffered and she began to get in trouble because her bullies spread lies that she had committed various wrongs.
Today, Jada writes poetry about bullying. Her goal is to graduate from school and go where she can help others. Eventually, she wants to return to her home town and show all her bullies that she actually accomplished something.
About Bullies – Why They Bully
Why do people bully? The reasons are myriad, ranging from the self-image of the bully to personal problems they may be experiencing in their lives, according to the National Bullying Hotline. These problems may include the divorce of their parents or some form of targeting that the bully is experiencing.
Some bullies target victims because they are jealous about some aspect of their victims. They believe that bullying that person means they will be viewed as bigger or stronger. For the moment, they feel good about themselves – but that feeling goes away.
If you realize your child is bullying other children, act up! First, let your child know that bullying is wrong. Next, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health counselor and take your child to see them. If your family is undergoing significant changes, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one, your child could be acting out on this, according to the BBC. They may feel overlooked or ignored – if you can, spend more time with them. If not, ask a trusted relative to spend time with them.
Children and teens are bullied because their bullies perceive they are “different” in some way. This may be because of their weight, skin color, perceived sexual orientation, or a disability the child has. Some children and teens are bullied for no reason at all.
Types of Bullying
Bullying takes many forms. In a solid definition of bullying, one of several types should be included:
º Threatening harm.
º Inappropriate and unwanted sexual remarks, according to Stop Bullying.
º Excluding the victim.
º Directing others to exclude the victim.
º Embarrassing the victim.
º Spreading false rumors.
º Spitting on the victim.
º Hitting, pinching or punching.
º Pushing and/or tripping.
º Rude hand gestures.
º Stealing or breaking the victim’s belongings.
All forms of bullying must make the victim feel badly about themselves.
Bullying in Schools in the UK
Bullying in schools affects your child whether they are directly bullied or not. If your child knows someone who is being bullied, they may worry they are next.
According to the Gov.UK website, state schools must have policies regarding bullying in place – private schools aren’t included under this law. Bullying doesn’t have to happen only in the school building – the victim can be bullied on their way to or from school or in their neighborhood.
The National Health Service states on its website that close to half of all children and teens attending school have reported bullying experiences. The study was conducted in 2009.
Many parents of bullying victims feel they are not heard by their child’s school – that their pleas for help are falling on deaf ears, according to the National Bullying Helpline. It may help if these parents are able to document and provide specific examples of their child’s experiences, including names of their child’s bullies. Having a plan about what to say, along with a specific goal can also help, reports the BBC.
Most (state) schools in London can provide assistance to teachers who want to prevent bullying. These schools have Safer Schools Officers, who work with teachers and students who are being bullied.
Bullying in Scotland
Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland provides an anti-bullying service, as spelled out by its website – Respect Me. Here, students, children, teens and their parents can learn more about bullying, specific policies on bullying and how they can work to stop their bullying or that of another student.
Bullying in Wales
Estyn, which is Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training, located in Wales, has taken substantial steps toward addressing and fighting bullying. In a report published in June, 2014, several steps that would reduce the incidents of bullying were highlighted:
º One definition of bullying.
º Instruction for students to take if they are being bullied.
º Addressing and ending cyberbullying.
º Counseling for bullies and their victims.
º Safe school areas for targeted students and groups on school grounds.
º Strong teacher supervision on breaks, lunch time and in between lessons.
º Buddy or peer systems for students.
º Easy-to-understand details posted so students know help is available and where to find it.
Bullying in Ireland and Northern Ireland
Ireland hasn’t escaped bullying – well over 50 percent of students have been bullied. These students have been excluded from groups, verbally bullied and cyberbullied, according to the Barnardos TeenHelp website.
In Northern Ireland, all schools receiving grant aid are required to include an anti-bullying policy, per the Education and Libraries Order 2003, according to the Department of Education website.
Schools aren’t the only locations where bullying takes place. Workplace bullies target coworkers and employees, according to the Gov.UK website. Bullying behaviors in the workplace are similar to those in schools:
º Spreading false rumors
º Picking on a coworker or employee
In addition, unfair treatment, denying opportunities for training and promotions and undermining an otherwise-competent coworker qualify as bullying. If the bully harasses someone based on a disability, their age, gender/gender reassignment, pregnancy, creed, sexual orientation or race, this is illegal behavior.
Bullying Someone Who Identifies as LGBT
Lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and individuals questioning their sexuality are bullied regularly. This generally stems from the bully’s homophobia.
Students in any of these groups are just as vulnerable to the negative emotions and reactions experienced by other bullying victims, according to the National Health Service.
Cyberbullying in the UK
Cyberbullying is just as prevalent in the UK as it is in other countries. Cyberbullying led to the suicide of a girl from Liverpool – in her case, she was bullied via her mobile phone and those of her bully or bullies. Cyberbullies have sent abusive messages that appear to come from mobile phones belonging to people not involved in the bullying, according to Bullying UK.
Cyberbullying by the Numbers
Thirty-five percent of young people aged 11 to 17 report they have experienced cyberbullying. This number more than doubled from 2013 to 2014, writes The Guardian.
In stark contrast, the number of parents who expressed a concern about cyberbullying dropped by almost half – from 45 percent down to 27 percent.