Respond to Bullying
We are given the opportunity every day to make a difference in the lives of our students. When we band together to fight bullying, we build stronger, safer, and more empathetic communities where everyone is valued for who they are.
Love yourself and know you have the ability to put an end to bullying.
If you see someone being bullied, be an Ally! Support the targets, whether you know them or not, tell aggressors to stop, and inform a trusted adult.
Embrace your differences. Realize that every person is different, and every person in the audience is valuable in not just some way, but in every way.
Bullying stops with each of us.
Don’t give up!
Be an Upstander!
An Upstander is someone who takes action when they witness bullying. Even one person’s support can make a big difference for someone who is being bullied. When youth who are bullied are defended and supported by their peers, they are less anxious and depressed than those who are not. There are many things that bystanders to bullying can do to become upstanders:
1. Question Bullying
Question the bullying behavior. Simple things like changing the subject or questioning the behavior can shift the focus.
2. Use Humor
Use humor to say something funny and redirect the conversation.
3. Strength in Numbers
There is strength in numbers too! Bystanders can intervene as a group to show there are several people who don’t agree with the bullying.
4. Diffuse Bullying Interactions
Walk with the person who is the target of bullying to help diffuse potential bullying interactions.
5. Reach Out
Reach out privately to check in with the person who was bullied to let them know you do not agree with it and that you care. It makes a difference.
How to be an Ally
Treat Everyone with Respect
- Nobody should be mean to others
- Stop and think before you say or do something that could hurt someone
- If you feel like being mean to someone, find something else to do. Play a game, watch TV, or talk to a friend
- Talk to an adult you trust. They can help you find ways to be nicer to others
- Keep in mind that everyone if different. Not better or worse. Just different.
- If you think you have bullied someone in the past, apologize. Everyone feels better.
Stand Up for Others
- When you see bullying, there are safe things you can do to make it stop
- Talk to a parent, teacher, or another trusted adult.
- Be kind and inclusive
- Not saying anything could make it worse.
- You can be a leader in preventing bullying in your community
- Find out more about where and when bullying happens at your school. Think about what could help and share your ideas. There is a good chance that adults don't know all of what happens.
- Talk to the principal about getting involved at school. Schools sometimes give students a voice in programs to stop bullying. Be a role model for others.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
- Social Media
- Text messaging and mobile apps
- Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting
- Online message boards
- Online gaming communities
Protect Yourself from Cyberbullying:
- Always think about what you post. You never know what someone will forward. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone.
- Don't share your passwords with other students. Even students that seem like your friends could give your passwords away or use it in ways you don't want. Let your parents have your passwords.
- Keep your parents in the loop. Tell them what you are doing online and who you are doing it with. They care about you and want you to be safe.
- Talk to an adult you trust about any messages you get or things you see online that make you sad or scared. If it is cyberbullying, report it.
How to Deal with Haters
What is a Hater?
"Hater" is a label used to refer to people who use negative and critical comments and behavior to bring another person down by making them look or feel bad. These hurtful and negative comments can be delivered in person, online, or in texts and apps. Often, the comments and behavior are repeated over time. Haters are often anonymous (especially online) but they can also be acquaintances, peers, or people who were once considered friends. Hateful, critical behavior is another form of bullying or cyberbullying. Like bullying, hater behavior is something that a person does – it is not who they are, and it can be changed.
Often, haters pick on people whom they perceive as being diffexent from themselves. Being the focus of negative and critical comments can be upsetting and trigger feelings of anger, hurt, and confusion, and cause the person being criticized to question their self-worth and behavior. If the negative comments are posted online, it can also make someone afraid to use their social media accounts or feel ashamed of what is happening there.
Many children and teens don’t want to be a part of negative behavior like name calling, criticizing, bullying, and cyberbullying. Dealing with haters isn’t that different from dealing with bullying and cyberbullying. Teens who feel overwhelmed by all the drama on social media will often unfriend or unfollow people online to disengage.
How to Deal with Haters:
- Ignore it. Walk away. Don’t react or respond to negative comments. If it continues or if someone threatens you, report it to a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult.
- Block online haters. If someone if making negative or hateful comments on your posts or account, or is cyberbullying, block them. If they are threatening you, tell your parents, report it, and take screenshots.
- Be kind and respectful, even to haters. It shows that you are in control of your emotions and that you are not letting negativity bring you down.
- Stick with supporters. Having a friend nearby if you think you might encounter a hater not only makes it less likely that an incident might happen, but also means you’ll have positive reinforcements just in case.
- Remind yourself that comments from haters are reflections of them and aren’t really about you. People who feel good about themselves don't need to put others down.
- Understand criticism can be a sign of pain. People sometimes lash out because they have other life struggles. Negative comments may have nothing to do with you. -
- Acknowledge your feelings. Talk to a trusted adult or friend to get encouragement and support.
- Keep being you. Keep moving forward, pursuing your interests, and being who your are.