What is bullying?

Bullying is when one person (the bully) teases or picks on another person or group of people (the victim). Bullies tease or pick on others over and over again. Bullying is all about the bully having control over the victim by scaring or embarrassing the victim in front of others.

Bullying happens more often between groups of people who are bullying others. But, it can also happen between one bully and one victim.

What are different types of bullying?

There are many types of bullying, which include:

  • Cyberbullying (bullying that happens online or through technology, like cell phones or email)
  • Calling others hurtful names
  • Picking on others because of how they look or what they’re interests are
  • Spreading rumors (lies) in person or electronically
  • Threatening to hurt others
  • Physically attacking others
  • Leaving people out of a group of friends on purpose

Remember, it’s not your fault if someone is bullying you. Don’t believe the bully’s words or let the bully bring down your self-esteem (how you feel about yourself).

Where can bullying happen?

Bullying can happen anywhere. It can happen at school, at your job, on the playground or during sports events.

Bullying can also happen online, on social media, through email or through text messages. This is called cyberbullying.

What should I do if I'm being bullied?

  • If you’re being bullied, it’s important to tell an adult you trust. If the adult you told does or says anything that makes you uncomfortable, tell another adult you can trust. This can be your family, a teacher, your school principal, the school nurse or a guidance counselor.
  • If you feel and comfortable, you can stand up to the bully. Look him/her in the eye and speak in a calm, but serious voice. You can say, “You’re acting like a bully and that’s not cool. Please stop.” Then, walk away and tell an adult you trust.
  • If you’re being bullied electronically, don’t respond to the bully’s mean words. Tell an adult you trust right away. Save or print the bully’s words to show the adult you trust.

A note for your parents...

You play an important part in preventing and responding to bullies. Watch your teen for signs of bullying, such as not doing well in school, not spending time with friends, frequent stomach aches or headaches, anxiety (feeling nervous) or depression. If your teen is a bully, he/she might get in trouble at school, be angry, blame others for his/her problems or try to hide how much he/she is using the Internet or cell phone.

Talk with your teen’s teachers and school staff if you think your teen is being bullied or is bullying others. Teachers and school staff can help explain what happens when your teen is in school. They can also help find ways both in and out of school to stop the bullying.

Rev. 7/2016. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.