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Stopping bullying

Bullying doesn’t just start in the school playground, and you can put an end to it wherever and whoever you are. Read on to find out what to do if you’ve got a problem with bullying, and where to go for help.

You’ll meet many people from different places and backgrounds at college or university, and most people make many friends for life. However, not everyone always finds it easy to fit in, or to grow up. This means that, unfortunately, a few people might become the targets of bullying, and a few more immature people might become bullies themselves.

Bullying can take many different forms and in different places. Some people might be insulted because of their race, religion or sexuality; sometimes a flatmate might pick on someone else they’re sharing with and sometimes certain members of sports teams might deliberately exclude someone else. ‘Cyberbullying’ can also happen online or on mobile ‘phones when people send abusive texts or set up fake social media profiles and post offensive messages.

If anything like this is happening to you, the first thing to remember is that it’s not your fault. Nor are you being ‘over-sensitive’ because if someone or something is upsetting you then there is a problem. But the most important thing to know is that you’re not helpless, and that there are people you can turn to who can sort the situation out.

What can I do if I’m being bullied?

  • Speak to whoever is bullying you. Don’t get upset or angry as this might be the reaction they want. Keep calm and ask why they are acting that way, and whether you can have a discussion to sort things out.
  • Try and speak to some other people who know the bullies. You’re not trying to ‘gang up’ on the bully, but discussing the situation with others who might be having a similar experience will remind you that you’re not alone, and you could come up with a solution that will help change their behaviour. However, if you feel worried or embarrassed about speaking to others, call The Samaritans on 08457 909090 for more advice.
  • If the bullying continues go and see a teacher at college or a welfare officer in your student services department or Students Union at university. Colleges and universities have a duty to deal with bullying and they will take your case seriously. It will help if you have a list of events, abusive messages and possibly witnesses to back you up. Go with the welfare officer when they meet the bully and be reasonable throughout. This meeting will serve as a strong warning to the bully, who could be kicked out of university if they carry on.
  • If you’re being bullied online or by text, you may not always know who’s responsible. But don’t send aggressive messages back and it is worth keeping a record of any offensive messages, even if you feel like deleting them. You can then report this abuse to your internet service provider or the administrators of social media sites, who can take steps to track the culprit. Mobile phone providers will also be able to block certain numbers from your phone. If the bullying gets particularly bad in the meantime, think about changing your mobile number or the privacy settings on your social media profiles. 

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