If you're a student who's being bullied or a student who for whatever reason feels the need to bully - there is a way out.

We’re running a series of blogs focusing on bullying and how it can affect all parties involved: this week we’re focusing on how bullying can affect students and their wellbeing.

What is bullying?

Bullying can take many different forms and with the continued digitisation of our society, there may be forms of bullying that are new or which you do not know about.

Prejudice can take many forms, and whether it is a one-off instance or a repeated series of events, bullying must be recognised and eradicated.

Bullying may be homophobic (based on sexual orientation), sexist (undermining you for being of the opposite sex), and racist (based on your skin colour and background).

What form can it take?

Bullying traditionally takes the form of physical abuse, name-calling, and consistent taunting. However, with so many children having access to a computer or smartphone nowadays, bullying often continues outside the classroom, online.

Am I weird because I'm being bullied?

Absolutely not! No one deserves to be bullied. Unfortunately, bullying is a common part of growing up, and it's not unlikely that you will experience it in some several forms, either as a victim, witness, or even being the bully yourself. But don't worry - this means that you're not alone. If you are being bullied it is never because you've done something wrong - it's much more often a result of an insecurity or worry from the bully's side.

How should I react if I'm a student who's being bullied?

A lot of bullies simply want to provoke a certain reaction from whomever they target. Next time you are picked on, take a deep breath, and try not to give the bully the reaction they want. Hopefully they will go frustrated at not getting a reaction from you and leave you alone.

If you find that not giving the bully a reaction doesn't help your situation, then it might be time to turn to an adult you can trust. Don't delay on this, as not only is it good to have an adult be aware of the situation, it can also feel like a massive weight off your shoulders if you discuss it aloud with someone else, articulating your thoughts and feelings to help have a clearer head for your own wellbeing.

All schools are legally required to have an anti-bullying policy in place, so it's worth checking this to familiarise yourself with how the school might proceed once you've informed them of the situation.

I'm a bully but I don't know how to stop - how can I get out of this mess?

People bully others for all sorts of reasons: maybe you want to fit in, to gain attention from your peers or teachers, or maybe you just made a mistake and you can't see a way out.

You might not realise the gravity of your actions but it's important you stop having a negative impact on your peers' mental health. You may not even realise you're bullying someone, or that the other person is being affected in such a negative way.

Empathise with the person you're bullying. Look inwards and think about why you're doing what you're doing. Hopefully with the help of an adult you can point to a reason why you feel the need to bully other children, and get to a place where you can stop bullying, apologise, and move to a happier frame of mind.

If you’d like to learn more about how to deal with bullying, then head to the websites below to explore further free resources that have helped to inform our blog and understanding of bullying.

NSPCC:

https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/schools/anti-bullying-resources

Young Minds:

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/bullying/

Bullying UK:

https://www.bullying.co.uk/anti-bullying-week/anti-bullying-week-resources/

Anti-Bullying Alliance:

https://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/tools-information/schools-and-teachers/top-tips-teachers-and-school-staff/abas-top-tips-teachers