Are you being bullied?

“Just ignore it”, is what most people are told when they’re being bullied, or maybe “they’re only jealous” – but what use is that when you’re hurting and it’s making you feel bad about yourself? “Tell a teacher” is sometimes good advice but what happens when your teachers don’t do anything? What if you’ve already told a teacher and it just got worse?

If you’re being bullied then you’re not the only one. In fact, almost half of us, have at some point been bullied. As a leading global youth charity, we’re here to help you overcome bullying once and for all.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back…

Top 10 tips for dealing with bullying

1. Understand the bullying

Bullying is a learnt behaviour. There are several reasons why people bully others; more often than not, bullying can be a coping mechanism for people who are going through a stressful or traumatic situation and it may also be learnt from abuse or prejudice-based attitudes at home. Often people who bully others have at some point been bullied themselves or are currently being bullied.

Other reasons for bullying can include issues such as jealousy and insecurity – we know this because we work directly with people who bully so we can help them understand and overcome their negative behaviours. If you are being bullied, please know that you are NOT the problem.

If you are bullying somebody else, please speak up about it – get help on our Community here.

2. If you feel safe enough: speak to the person who is bullying you

Have you ever said something to a friend and upset them by accident? Chances are, it has probably happened loads of times. It’s a similar thing with bullying as the definition, by default is subjective – meaning that everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you.

Equally, they are probably going through a difficult time themselves and will relate to how you’re feeling. This is why we have found that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective. If this is something you’d consider, read this first.

3. Never go through it in silence

When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can clog your mind and fog your vision. This leads to people becoming distracted, stressed and unproductive. Bullying is something that affects so many people’s lives, but many people will never report it through embarrassment, fear or a lack of faith in support systems.

It is incredibly important that you go through the appropriate reporting channels by firstly telling a teacher/parent/guardian/learning mentor or another responsible adult. You can also contact us for advice and support. Even if you don’t want to report it, speak to somebody and don’t feel like you have to go through it alone because you don’t.

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4. Is it a crime?

Bullying is a behaviour but some forms of bullying may also be a criminal offence. If somebody physically or sexually attacks you, steals from you or uses prejudice language or hate speech towards you (such as homophobia and racism) or shares your private information or intimate images online – these are all key signs that you should probably report it to the Police.

5. Don’t see yourself as the problem

The reason people experience bullying is not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes. The person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you.

6. Deal with stress

When you are going through a stressful situation, it can be difficult to deal with it objectively if you keep it all to yourself. The stress navigates towards the front of your mind and builds up into a completely avoidable chain of negative emotions. It is therefore incredibly important to tell somebody that you trust; it doesn’t even have to be an adult, it could be a friend or somebody at Ditch the Label. You deserve the help and support to get through this.

We have a really simple exercise available on our website called Stress Reprogramming which you can do either alone or with somebody else in around 30 minutes. The exercise will help you see stress differently and come up with a way forward.

7. Even though you may want to, don’t isolate yourself

Depriving yourself of any sort of support certainly isn’t going to resolve the issue or help you handle the bullying. We know it may feel like the best thing to do at the time, but it will only make things worse by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Often people who are bullied will understandably see themselves as victims, but it’s important that you look beyond that and don’t let the bullying dictate who you are. Talk about it to somebody at Ditch the Label.

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8. Look after your health

We’re not going to go into the whole endorphin thing because you’ve probably heard it before – but seriously, eating a good, clean diet and exercising can really improve your physical and mental health and reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity, helping you break down difficult situations, making them much easier to deal with. Other things you can try include meditation, yoga, cooking, long walks, running and swimming.

We ALL have mental health, but why is it that everybody focuses more heavily on physical than mental? The fact of the matter is: we all have ups and downs and statistically, 1 in 4 of us will experience some sort of mental health complication such as depression or anxiety. It is completely okay to speak up about these issues and it is important that you seek emotional and mental health support from your GP, a therapist or counsellor. We have more advice on issues you may be facing available here.

9. Seek role models

When you’re going through your teen years, sometimes it can all seem like a bit of a black hole. It’s made even worse if you’re struggling with your identity or being bullied.

This is why it is important to seek out positive role models to show you that plenty of people have been where you are right now and have managed to overcome it. Read more stories and inspiring blogs here.

10. Lean on us

We are a leading global youth charity and we are here for you when you need us the most. If you need any help or guidance, join the community to chat anonymously with a digital mentor, or discuss what’s on your mind with others who’ve been there before!

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Are you dealing with cyberbullying?

If you are being cyberbullied, read our top 9 tips on overcoming cyberbullying for advice on what to do and how to deal with it.

Do you feel low on confidence and self-esteem today? There are simple ways to help you increase your self-esteem and build confidence in yourself.

  • Challenge bad thoughts about yourself
  • Take care of yourself
  • Be sure to relax
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Help somebody else out
  • Take a different perspective
  • Try new things
  • Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
  • Accept yourself
  • Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

What is the meaning of self-esteem?

Each and every one of us have self-esteem. Self-esteem is made up of the thoughts we have about ourselves and plays a role in almost everything we do.

Having healthy self-esteem is really important as it helps you make positive choices in your everyday life, gives you the courage to be your own person, have good relationships and helps you deal with difficult situations.

Did you know that 87% of those who have been bullied felt it had a negative effect on their self-esteem…

Low self-esteem can have harmful effects on your mental health, your decisions about your appearance and ultimately, your future.

It’s not easy to like every part of the way you look, but getting stuck on negatives can really bring down your self-esteem.

Other effects of low self-esteem include:

  • You avoid difficult situations
  • Sensitive to criticism
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • You are reluctant to trust yourself

It’s important to believe, deep down that you can change. Change doesn’t necessarily happen easily or quickly, but it can happen.

lion king, gif, change is good, not easy

Here are our top tips and the best ways to build and improve your self-esteem.

1. Challenge bad thoughts about yourself

Replace them with more positive thoughts which celebrate things you’re good at. You can do this by writing down a list of at least three things you do well.

Remember this list when you start feeling low, this will help bring yourself back to reality.

2. Take care of yourself

Eating well and exercising boosts endorphins, the body’s natural opiates, which make you feel good on the inside and stimulates a more positive mood.

When you exercise, you’ll ease stress and feel better about yourself. Having a cheesy dance in your bedroom, or going for a jog around the block are great ways to boost your self-esteem.

3. Relax

The constant feeling of stress can play a huge role in low self-esteem. It makes you feel negative thoughts more often, it reduces your confidence and you’ll probably feel too tired to exercise, be social or do a lot of the things you love.

Reducing your stress by taking time out to do something you find relaxing is a great starting point to making yourself feel better.

This can be anything from taking a bath, meditation, gaming, indoor dancing, singing… you name it; if it works for you, it works!

4. Set goals

Take the time every day to think about what you’d like to achieve. Then set yourself realistic goals for each day and keep track of your progress by writing down all your accomplishments.

This can be as simple as finishing off a piece of work or tidying up (and we all know how challenging this can be!)

You’ll feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when you’ve ticked off everything on your list for the day.

The trick is to not get bogged down by the list; some days you won’t manage to get it all done and that’s OK too! We all have off days, maybe make a shorter list for the next day and see how you get on?

5. Help someone out

This can be a friend, family member or even a classmate who is struggling with their work or having a tough time at school. You could give them some advice or just be there to listen to a problem.

It’s amazing how much our confidence is boosted when we do selfless things – do one thing a week to help someone else without expecting anything in return.

6. Take a different perspective

Look at tricky situations from alternative angles. Try to replace thoughts like ‘why should I bother?’ with ‘I won’t know unless I try’.

By looking at a situation through a more realistic lens you’ll realise that you actually can do what you want – you just need to apply a bit more positivity!

By doing this every time you have a negative thought, you’ll eventually default to this kind of positivity on the regular, and who doesn’t love a go-getter? Sometimes we just need to think and try different things to overcome having low self-esteem.

7. Try new things

Our brains are really good at learning new stuff and the more new stuff you learn, the better you get at learning it and the more likely you find things you can be passionate about.

Everyone needs a creative outlet; music, art, dance, games, sewing, cooking, web design – all you need to do is get on YouTube and find some tutorials. All the information you need is out there – it’s just waiting for you to watch it.

DM us on Instagram the best YouTube tutorial videos and let us know you were inspired by this article!


8. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good

Sometimes our friends don’t make us feel good, and that’s okay. You just need to spend your time with other people who appreciate and care about you more. This doesn’t even need to be your friends, but they could be family members, online friends or neighbours.

And those friends who aren’t helping your mood? Learn whether they are a toxic friend and think about trying to distance yourself from those people who make you feel bad about yourself.

It can be a little tricky at first, but even if they’re the most popular kid in school or the coolest person you know, it’s really not worth hanging out with them if they make you feel rubbish!

If you need help, we’ve written an article with 8 steps to help you break up with a toxic friend.

Strengthen friendships and relationships and you’ll most certainly feel better about things in the long run!

9. Accept yourself

Nobody is perfect. We all have issues and we all have flaws. Learn to accept your ‘flaws’ or imperfections and love them, because they are what make you unique. So, work it honey!

Self-acceptance is the key to feeling confident. When people pay you compliments, simply say ‘thanks’ rather than brushing them aside or countering them with a negative.

10. Keep visual reminders of things that make you feel good

Mementoes are a great way to see all the cool things you’ve been doing. How about making a ‘wall of fame’ in your bedroom with snaps of you and your friends?

We are living in an age where we have a camera in our pocket at all times…take more pictures!

Capture those memorable moments and when you look back at them, you’ll realise how many awesome things you’ve done this year!

Still not sure if you have low self-esteem?

It is completely normal to feel negative about yourself from time to time but if this feeling is long-lasting, then you may have low self-esteem.

Picking up on the signs is important so you can build your confidence back up to where it should be.

Take this easy to finish quiz to find out if you need a bit of a boost:

The link doesn’t work? Try the quiz here: https://www.qzzr.com/c/quiz/410901/hows-your-self-esteem


Need a lil’ boost to your confidence?

Join our community for anonymous answers from our digital mentors or other people going through similar issues as you. Let’s overcoming low self-esteem together!

Or hit us up in the Brag Box on Community and tell us one thing you’re proud of!


Self-Esteem & Confidence FAQs

What are three tips for improving your self-esteem?

Make sure to look after yourself, and find people who make you feel good and happy. Challenge any bad thoughts that come into your head. Understand the things triggering these bad thoughts and make changes to deal with them.

How do I build my confidence?

One of the ways to do this is to stop comparing yourself to other people, especially on social media apps like Instagram. Challenge your internal negative thoughts and try new things. Confidence will build from doing things just as much as learning about them.

What are the signs of low self-esteem?

You avoid difficult situations, you are more sensitive to criticism that normal, you feel more anxiety than normal, you are withdrawing from social situations and you feel reluctant to trust yourself.

It’s Anti-Bullying Week, but do we still need it?

Did you know that bullying is one of the biggest challenges facing people below the age of 18 right now? Yet there’s still a few myths that suggest it’s ‘just part of growing up’ or the rhetoric that tells those who experience bullying to ‘just ignore it’. This week, in commendation of Anti-Bullying Week, we’re asking – do we still need it? Here are 9 reasons why the answer is a mahoosive yes.

1. Going through bullying can feel lonely, crappy and isolating

Anti-Bullying Week sends a clear and much needed message to anyone who is currently suffering at the hands of bullying: you are most certainly not alone. Whilst it feels lonely and dark sometimes, help is available. You can talk to us here.

2. Bullying is one of, if not, the biggest issue facing young people today

The latest Ditch the Label research finds that half of all teens in the UK have at some point experienced bullying, with a third being subjected to online abuse.

3. Because the impacts can’t be ignored

You think bullying is ‘just part of growing up’? How about depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm and eating disorders? Are those things part of growing up too — because these are all very real impacts of bullying.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/yes.jpg”]

4. It’s literally impossible to ‘ignore it’

Telling people to ignore the abuse they receive sends a very clear message – withdraw from your emotions and allow the abuse to continue. It is literally impossible to not be impacted by persistent bullying.

5. The internet makes it easier than ever to be abusive

It’s no secret that the internet dehumanises us all and researchers have known for a long time that people find it easier to be abusive towards something that they consider to be less than human. Throw anonymity into the mix and there’s a perfect storm for online abuse.

6. Bullying isn’t old news

Contrary to popular belief, Bullying is not an outdated thing but in fact, it is a very current issue that loads of people are going through right now.

7. Anti-Bullying Week raises crucial awareness

By raising awareness of the catastrophic effects that bullying can have, we can help those most affected by it.

8. … and provides a forum for those who need it

Talking about bullying can be tough and may feel embarrassing and Anti-Bullying Week provides a safe forum to talk about these issues. Don’t forget that we have the largest and only dedicated online support community for anybody who is affected by bullying. You can get involved here.

9. Anti-Bullying Week opens the door to talking about the root issues

Anti-Bullying Week allows us to raise awareness to the work we do with those who bully to become better, happier and more understanding people instead of villainizing them. In doing so, we can overcome bullying all together.

If you’re currently going through bullying, please don’t suffer in silence. We can help you and we can help make it stop, so utilise us and please speak up. We’re here and we’ve got your back.

Anti Bullying Resources for Teachers

Ditch the Label are proud to offer free teaching resources for teachers to help tackle bullying and its root issues.

Our education website www.dtled.org hosts a whole programme of lessons for students aged 11-18 which focus on key areas such as bullying, gender stereotypes and digital literacy.

We’ve included some highlights below, as well as two exclusive assemblies which are only available here…

Lessons:

Here are a selection of lessons from our Education Programme that address bullying and why it happens:

Behind the Bully

This lesson explores the root causes of bullying behaviour and encourages students to reflect on why people feel the need to bully others. It pushes high ability students to consider potential methods of combating bullying through tackling the root causes.

Don’t @ Me

This lesson asks students to examine their own online behaviours and understand the consequences of some of their actions. It allows them room to explore the subjectivity of cyberbullying behaviour and reinforces their responsibilities regarding their behaviour towards others online.

What you looking at?

This lesson encourages students to explore their own behaviour when it comes to witnessing bullying and offers them guidance and encouragement to intervene in bullying situations, when appropriate.

Assemblies:

These assemblies are a great way to kickstart conversations around bullying in your school. They can be delivered by teachers or students as part of Anti-Bullying Week or at any time of the year.

Challenging Attitudes

A fully scripted assembly which challenges current attitudes and approaches to bullying, through analysis of current data.

Debunking the Myths

A fully scripted assembly which explores the myths which surround bullying, and what people can do to deal with some of the issues they might face.

Visit The Education Website

For more resources on bullying and much more, check out our education website dtled.org. Our lessons on bullying, digital literacy and gender stereotypes include everything from how to destress, to the impact of social media on self-esteem, and how gender stereotypes affect careers.

The resources are all completely free, digital and available for teachers across the country to download.


Anti-Bullying Week 2019

Anti-Bullying Week 2019 runs between Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November 2019.

Our research shows that 1 in 2 young people will, at some point, experience bullying. As a result, 1 in 3 will self-harm, grades will drop and 14% will develop eating disorders. Getting students engaged in activities, assemblies and lessons can be a really effective way to start conversations about bullying and the impact it can have.

We recommend a whole week of activities to generate school engagement around bullying.

  • Monday: Anti-Bullying Week Assembly
  • Tuesday: All students participate in The Annual Bullying Survey
  • Wednesday: Lunch-time fundraising activities
  • Thursday: PSHE lesson on Bullying
  • Friday: Tutor-time anti-bullying activity

The Annual Bullying Survey

Taking part in The Annual Bullying Survey makes for an ideal activity during Anti-Bullying Week.

It is the largest annual benchmark of bullying in the UK and each year, secondary schools, high schools and colleges from across the country take part, enabling us to better understand the dynamics and nature of bullying.

Students will need approximately 30 minutes to participate in the online survey, and we highly recommend that ALL your students take part.

Click here to register your interest

Fundraising Activities

As part of Anti-Bullying Week, many schools choose to run fundraising activities to fund vital support for those who are experiencing bullying. Or learn more about our flagship Anti-Bullying Week Fundraiser – Give It Up for Ditch the Label.

Here are 5 ways your school could get involved and raise money for Ditch the Label or download a printable version to use in your classroom this Anti-Bullying Week.

  • Go silent – give up your voice for the day in return for sponsorship. We know nearly 50% of young people who are bullied never tell anyone, not a teacher, not a parent, not a friend – everything you raise will help us reach more young people affected by bullying and give them back their voice.
  • Get active – organise a sports match & charge an entry fee. Football, netball, rugby, volleyball, whatever you like playing. You could even go for a staff v student match to for the ultimate grudge match! If everyone pays an entry fee it’s a really simple way to raise funds for Ditch the Label.
  • Go on a (digital) holiday – give up technology to raise sponsorship. At Ditch the Label, we’re all about the digital, but we know that a digital detox can sometimes give people a much-needed break from social media. Whether it’s for a day, or for a whole week, it’s a great way to raise money.
  • Hold a pop-up shop – refresh your wardrobe and raise money. Ask everyone to have a clear-out and donate their once loved items to a pop-up clothes shop. Give your favourite old clothes the chance to be loved again – and raise money for us in the process.
  • Keep it classic – the most common fundraisers can be the most successful. For example, a non-uniform day and a cake sale are really easy and simple ways to get your school involved in fundraising.

(Not enough ideas? Check out another 96 on our 101 fundraising ideas here: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/101-fundraising-ideas/)


More Anti-Bullying Week Activities

If you’re not looking for full lesson plans or assemblies, here are a selection of other activities which you could use this week.

1. Help students understand the hidden part of bullying (30 mins)

We know from our extensive work with young people that nobody is ever born with an intent to bully others. Bullying is often a behaviour that is used to cope with a traumatic and stressful situation – it could be that the student is having a difficult time at home or is being bullied themselves elsewhere. Those who bully tend to have low self-esteem and confidence issues and just want to be accepted. We would never call anybody a ‘bully’ because it certainly isn’t their identity, it is just a behaviour that needs to change.

We’ve produced an emotional video to encourage students to think differently about bullying and to build their understanding as to some common reasons why people bully. Start the activity by showing the video and follow it with a discussion about the key themes in the video, opening up to the bigger picture: exploring key reasons why people bully others.
Click here for the video
Click here for more reasons why people bully others

2. Use Ditch the Label statistics in a quiz (30 mins)

Each year, we produce some of the most comprehensive research papers surrounding the issue of bullying and related factors. This activity is designed to help students understand the landscape of bullying and to encourage them to speak up about issues that are bothering them.

The activity should take approximately 30 minutes, which includes a discussion of the results afterwards.
Click here for the question sheet
Click here for the answer sheet

Alternatively, you can direct your students to our research area, they can pick a research paper and create their own quiz based on the statistics in their chosen report.

3. Create a poster, using less than 140 characters (30 mins)

This activity works best in conjunction with a starter activity – such as the Ditch the Label Quiz, this is because it will equip students with a better understanding of bullying and will act as an icebreaker and will fuel inspiration. Students are given the task of designing a new anti-bullying poster for your school. The catch? They are not allowed to use more than 140 characters on their poster, so they need to choose their words wisely. This can be done either in pairs or as a group task.

This activity can also be run as a school/college-wide competition with the winning entry being produced and displayed around the school.
Examples of posters

4. Teach students to reprogram their stress (50 mins)

Stress is the number 1 killer and is something that troubles us all. We know that bullying massively increases the amount of stress young people face, which can go on to impact grade performance, health and general moods. We have developed a tool to help students rationalise and reduce stress in a simple, digestible way.

This task should be done in pairs only. Each person should need approximately 15-20 minutes to talk about things that are bothering them, and with the help of their partner – better rationalise and deal with those issues. With time to complete the entire task, introduction and evaluation afterwards – this task would typically take 50 minutes.
Click here to download instructions and the packs

5. Take part in The Annual Bullying Survey (20 mins)

Each year, we work with schools and colleges across the country to help them better understand the landscape and extent of bullying within their environment. We produce The Annual Bullying Survey, which is the most comprehensive annual benchmark of bullying in the UK.

The survey is conducted online and will survey students on their experiences of bullying, whilst exploring their wider social lives, experiences and attitudes. Taking part is completely free and it takes students approximately 20 minutes to complete the survey.
Click here to find out more information

6. Use role-play (30 mins)

This activity works particularly well in conjunction with activity 1 and could be used as a tool to further explore the reasons why people bully others.

Task students to work in small groups to role-play different bullying-related scenarios and then invite the rest of the class to give their feedback and advice on how to deal with the situations. Examples include:

  • Example 1: Student A is sending Student B abuse on Instagram. Student C sees the abuse but isn’t really sure what to do. The issue continues in school when Student A encourages Student C to say nasty things to Student B.
  • Example 2: Student A is having a difficult time at home – their parents are arguing a lot and their pet just passed away. In response, Student A feels angry and has nobody to talk to. They take their anger out on Student B and is disruptive in class. Student C, who is a friend of Student A witnesses everything. What could they do to help?

7. Create a list of top tips (30 mins)

This activity works particularly well in conjunction with activities 1 and 2. Ask students to work in pairs or small groups to come up with their top 10 tips on how to overcome bullying. Ask the students to share their tips with the rest of the class.

You will find that there will be a lot of repetition and overlap, so as the facilitator, note down the top 10 most commonly used tips and then use them to produce a classroom charter.

Looking for free anti-bullying lesson plans? Click on the image to see our DTL:ED resources!

Join our Community

We have a growing online community where young people can anonymously log in and share their problems. On the Ditch the Label community there are opportunities for people to speak to and share advice amongst themselves as well as speaking directly with a trained digital mentor.

The service is absolutely free and operates as a judgement-free zone.

Why not spend the last 10 mins of your lesson encouraging your students to take a look around?

How do you overcome bullying by talking to the person bullying you?

Trust us, we know it may seem counter-intuitive to speak to somebody who is making your life a misery, but we have found that it can be a hugely successful strategy for resolving any issues with bullying and breakdowns in communication.

More often than not, somebody may not fully understand that what they are doing is genuinely having an impact on those around them and as such, talking can be the ultimate antidote.

Why do people bully? Top 4 reasons

Some of the most common reasons why people bully others include:

  • It’s used as a coping mechanism and response to something stressful going on in their lives
  • Because they are insecure and are trying to detract away from themselves by focusing on somebody else
  • They may be feeling jealous – instead of understanding this, they have become abusive
  • Because they are worried they won’t be accepted by their peers if they don’t do it

The reason you are being bullied is never because of something to do with you. Although they will often choose something about you and target that. It could be how you look, your skin colour, sexuality or a disability – the list is endless. Please try to remember that you have done nothing wrong and there is nothing you need to change.

We hope that this advice will help you to resolve your own issues; you’re almost guaranteed to resolve most conflicts and relationship breakdowns with the following steps, so even if you’re not being bullied – they are good life tips anyway.

What to say to somebody who is bullying you – 10 golden rules

1. Understand

The thing to remember about bullying is the fact that the people who are doing it are often incredibly vulnerable and it’s usually a cry for help to highlight that there is a bigger issue. It is therefore important to try and compassionately understand their reasoning and headspace.

Most of the time, it will be impossible to know without asking, what exactly is going on. There could be issues at home, or perhaps they are struggling with their own identity and confidence. They may not even tell you what the issue is, and that’s okay. Just know that people who are perfectly happy and confident will never go out of their way to bully somebody.

2. Evaluate

Sometimes it may be unsafe to speak to somebody who is bullying you, particularly if you feel it will put you or somebody else in immediate risk of harm. In this case, rule 3 is where it’s at. If you feel safe speaking to them, skip through to rule 4.

3. Mediate

Especially when the situation is more serious, it may be better to use a mediator. This is essentially when a third person (usually an adult, but not always) will facilitate a conversation between the person being bullied and the person doing the bullying to ensure that everything is managed properly and safely. Mediators are trained to ensure that both sides get to speak and will work to ensure that the issue is resolved. Mediators are available through some schools and colleges and in more serious cases, where a crime is involved, the police.

4. One-to-one

It’s always better to speak to somebody alone. Particularly if there is a ringleader in a group of people who seems to be leading the bullying. Often they will be doing it for positive reinforcement from their mates because they feel like their relationships are based on the condition that they behave in a certain way, so if you eliminate the rest of the group, you will have a very different dynamic.

5. Do it somewhere neutral

We know it may seem scary, but trust us, they will feel scared too. This is why it’s important that the conversation happens in a neutral space. I.e. somewhere where neither of you is attached, such as a public park or Starbucks. Plus, if there are other people around, it will likely make you feel safer and it will help you with rules 6 and 7…

6. Don’t shout. Ever

You’re angry and emotional, we get it, but it’s likely that they are also hurting, too. No issue is ever resolved through arguing. We each have our own individual ego and we like to think that we are always right, therefore it is only natural to defend yourself when somebody threatens your ego. If somebody is up in your face and aggressive, your natural instinct will usually be to defend yourself by shouting louder to get your point across. It doesn’t ever work. If you feel your anger levels increasing, take some time out and deep breaths. It might sound cliché but it does work.

Understand that it is normal to get angry and to want to shout, but right now it isn’t going to benefit you.

7. Don’t retaliate to shouting

This goes hand-in-hand with rule 6. It is possible that the other person will start shouting. If they do, stop talking and let them shout whatever they want to. Once they have finished, talk normally and calmly (we know how challenging this will be, but trust us). It will come as a shock because they will be expecting you to shout back at them. They will gradually start to lower their voice and you will maintain complete control over the situation.

8. Make it equal

For this to really work, both parties need to be equally involved in it. It will never work out in your favour if you lecture them on how you feel and how their behaviour is upsetting you. There’s a much better chance of resolving things if you encourage two-way conversation. Ask them how they are and ask if you have ever done anything to upset them. Listen to them as much as you talk to them, because, ultimately we all like to feel heard. This also branches out to the power balance which should always be equal. It isn’t about you telling them off and it isn’t about them intimidating you into submission.

Stand your ground when necessary, but also be prepared to step down when you have good reason to. The fact of the matter is, nobody, not even your parents/guardians (as much as they like to believe) are right 100% of the time. We all make mistakes and that’s okay.

9. Build an agenda

This will help you with rules 6-8 and it’s really easy to do. Whenever we have a meeting at Ditch the Label, we will usually write up an agenda of the things we want to talk about before we go into that meeting. This helps guide the meeting in the right direction and also means that we very rarely forget things that we were meant to talk about.

10. What is the end goal?

Are you doing it because you want an argument and want to alleviate stress, or are you doing it because you want to resolve the situation? Because they are very different things. You will, unfortunately, have to agree to disagree on things. It may even turn out that they have been annoyed at something you have done in the past but you think they are overreacting. That’s okay. If you want to add fuel to the fire and make things worse, argue it out and battle egos – but honestly, it won’t do you any justice.

Sometimes it is easier to sit back, listen and apologise for anything that you have done which may have upset them. It’s a good idea to start the conversation with something like “Thanks for meeting me today. I wanted to talk to you alone because I feel like there is a lot of tension between us and I would really love it if we could hopefully overcome any tensions together. Is that okay?”.

Never lose track of the end goal, even when things get heated. It may also be an idea to not accuse them of bullying you, instead tell them how their behaviour is having an impact on you. We all have a different definition of bullying and what it means to bully somebody and it’s likely they will become defensive if you start to call them a bully. Plus, nobody is ever a bully, it’s just a behaviour which can and does change.

In Summary

We know that it can be really scary when talking to somebody who is making your life a living hell, but the only thing worse is ignoring it and allowing yourself to feel so bad over a long period of time.

We use these rules in our own lives and can honestly say that at the end of the conversations, we usually come out feeling really positive and great. It’s a huge weight off your shoulders and you will always be surprised at what you will learn about the other person – you may have more in common than you may think.

If you’re being bullied and need to talk – join our community and speak with a digital mentor or other members of the community – together we can and will help you!

What is the definition of bullying?

Bullying is something that 1 in 2 people under 25 will experience in their lifetime.

There is no singular definition of bullying because it comes in all shapes, sizes and subtleties. Despite the varied nature of bullying, here are a few things you should know that will help you identify it, and hopefully understand it a little better.

Understanding bullying

No one is born a bully – true story. Bullying is a learnt behaviour and not an innate characteristic of anyone. According to Ditch the Label research, there are lots of reasons why people bully and these are explored further in Why People Bully, The Scientific Reasons.

The dictionary definition of bullying is “the use of strength or power to frighten or hurt weaker people.” This is not a very nice definition if you ask us and completely inaccurate. First things first, being bullied does not mean that you are weak.

What’s more, this definition doesn’t account for many facets of bullying such as online abuse, subtle bullying within friendships such as manipulation, intimidation and social exclusion, as well as indirect bullying such as the spreading of harmful rumours, be it online or elsewhere.

Persistence is key

Another important thing to note is that for something to qualify as bullying – it is persistent. A one-off comment made about your appearance is hurtful and horrible to have to go through but a common factor of bullying is that it is a regular and persistent occurrence that takes place over time.

Are you in denial?

“I’m probably overreacting?”
“I’m just being over-sensitive”
“It will probably stop soon”

Sound familiar? Well, these are all things we tell ourselves when we are in denial. We somehow coast through life thinking, “yeah bullying sucks but it can’t happen to me…” then it does and it hurts, so we ignore it or pretend that it’s nothing.

Denial is a trick to make us think that everything is fine, even when it’s not. The first step to overcoming bullying is to acknowledge the fact that you are being bullied. This can sometimes be the hardest part: no one wants to admit that their ‘friends’ are bullying them.

How bullying makes you feel

The best way to determine whether you are being bullied is to analyse how it makes you feel and if it makes you feel low, unhappy, worried, frightened or stressed on a regular basis. Take the Ditch the Label quiz if you’re still unsure about whether or not you’re being bullied:


I’m being bullied – what should I do?

The most important thing you can do when being bullied to protect yourself is to talk about it.

Start by joining the Ditch the Label Support Community to speak to a digital mentor and take the first steps to overcome bullying. You will be met by understanding and non judgemental advice and support.

Alternatively, pick a friend who you trust, a family member or teacher and tell them what’s been going on. Don’t forget to tell them how it makes you feel and how long it’s been going on.

If you don’t feel like talking right now, that’s OK – check out some of these resources that have helped thousands of people overcome bullying…


Are you bullying someone?

Statistically speaking, those who experience bullying are likely to go on and bully other people. The very best way to overcome bullying once and for all is to understand those who bully and the reasons behind why they do it.

By showing compassion towards those who bully, no matter how hard that might seem at the time, we can truly overcome bullying. Read this to find out more…

Not only do we work closely with those who are being bullied, but we are also determined to help those who are doing the bullying. If that’s you, have a browse through the resources below for information on how to stop:


We can help

The most important thing to remember if you’re being bullied or if you are bullying someone else is that you are not alone and we are here for you


Let’s destroy the stigma that comes with the word “bullied.” It can happen to anyone, by anyone, anywhere – for any reason. Bullying can be faceless and consequently, you may or may not know you are being bullied.

For this reason, being bullied by someone you consider a friend can be a real blind spot for most of us; it’s harder to detect, subtle in nature and can take a while to get our attention. After all, they’re a friend – right?

Here’s what you can do if you’re being bullied by a friend…

Don’t laugh it off.

Nobody wants to be that friend that can’t take a joke so part of the problem is we laugh along with them when a joke is made at our expense as a way of diffusing the awkwardness and tension. But the major downside is your laughter will give the impression that you’re cool with the mean jokes. You are 100% allowed to not find something funny and tell your friend. The reason it feels hard is we can’t control other people’s reactions so the fear lies behind not knowing how they will react.

We need to talk.

Try being honest with your friend and let them know how they have made you feel. Make sure you have the conversation somewhere private where you won’t be interrupted.

The best advice is to be direct, keep it short and stick with how it makes you feel instead of blaming them. If they are genuinely apologetic they will make an effort to tone it down. If not, it is likely they will get defensive and deny doing anything to hurt your feelings. Whatever the outcome, what matters is you have said something and taken action.

Stand up for yourself.

Easier said than done when it comes to our friends being the ones that are giving you a hard time. But the bottom line is that this will not be the last time you have to stand up for yourself and so you might as well start getting good at it now. One of the best things I ever did was learning how to speak up when it matters, its nobody else’s responsibility to say what’s not okay for you, but your own.

Know when to walk away.

This is rarely an easy call to make especially with old friends or if we have put all our eggs in one basket. Think twice about friendships where you feel criticized, ignored, gossiped about, judged, manipulated, made fun of or left out.

It’s not me it’s you.

It can be a scary prospect standing up for yourself or walking away from somebody who you considered a friend but your esteem and integrity are much more important than trying to keep somebody happy who doesn’t give a damn about you. If you’re unsure if they really are your friend have a read of this article.

Don’t ignore your feelings.

Don’t ignore your feelings when someone makes you feel bad about yourself. Do you have any friends that after spending time together you feel worse than you did before? Do you feel nervous around them because you don’t know what they are going to say or do? Bullying affects our overall happiness and confidence. So we must check in with ourselves and not ignore our emotions. The worse the bullying gets – the worse we begin to feel. A friend makes you feel happy, liked, appreciated and confident.

If you would prefer our easier to read version, please click here

If you are being bullied, you do not need to go through it alone. If you ever need help, Ditch the Label are here for you. You can join our community here.

What We Do

Every year at Ditch the Label, we carry out extensive research into bullying by asking students across the country about their experiences. We delve into the reasons why people bully and are bullied, as well as asking important questions about things like relationships, gender, mental health and body image.

This groundbreaking research also takes a look at the nature of different types of bullying, the long terms effects that bullying has on people’s emotional well-being and how it’s changed over time. It’s pretty eye-opening stuff if we do say so ourselves.

Bullying: The Facts…

So, here are our main findings from the last couple of years’ work in a nifty list of 21 things we bet you didn’t already know about bullying (pssst…if you did already know them, you probably heard it from us 😜). Remember, if you are being bullied or you just have something you want to talk about, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

1. More than half of people under 25 have experienced bullying at some point.

facts about bullying, cyberbullying, stats, facts

2. 20% of people surveyed, said that they often experienced verbal bullying.

3. People who are bullied, often go on to bully others.

4. People with a physical disability, are unfortunately more likely to experience bullying than a person without a physical disability. #NotCool

5. 5% of people surveyed, said that they constantly experienced physical bullying.

6. Social exclusion is a form of bullying. That means, when your mates leave you out on purpose to hurt your feelings, they are indirectly bullying you.

7. More than a third of people go on to develop Social Anxiety and Depression as a direct result of bullying.

8. Almost a quarter of those who have been bullied have had suicidal thoughts.

facts about bullying

9. Guys are more likely to bully someone than anyone else.

10.  Those who bully are far more likely to have experienced stressful and traumatic situations in recent times.

11. Of those who bullied daily, 58% had experienced the death of a relative.

12. Bullying is not an identity, it is a learnt behaviour – find out more about that here.

13. The #1 most common reason why people experience bullying is because of attitudes towards their appearance, with attitudes towards hobbies & interests and high grades coming in close at second and third place.

facts about bullying, stats, hobby bullying

14. 69% of people have admitted to doing something abusive to another person online 😲😲😲 #CutItOutPPL

15. Bullying is never, ever the fault of the person on the receiving end of it. Here’s why

16. People who identify as LGBT+ are more likely to experience bullying.

What about Online?

17. 26% of people reported experiencing cyberbullying in the past 12-months. (2019)

18. More than a quarter of people have had suicidal thoughts as a result of cyberbullying.

facts about bullying

19. 35% of people have sent a screenshot of someone’s status to laugh at in a group chat. #ShadyOnlineBehaviour 

20. Almost two-thirds of people agreed that social networks don’t do enough to combat cyberbullying.

21. 44% of people under 25 said that ‘real life’ means ‘only things that happen offline.’

And there you have it – 21 facts about bullying you probably never knew before. If you are being bullied and need someone to talk to, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here.

All statistics are taken from Ditch the Label research.

Why do People Bully?

According to our latest research, 1 in 2 people have experienced bullying in some form in the last 12-months. And trust us when we say, we know how difficult it can be to go through it, especially if you don’t fully understand the psychology of bullying. In this article, we will be exploring the reasons why people bully, using the latest research and psychology to give you a greater understanding of the motives of those who are either bullying you right now or who have done so in the past.

You may have assumed that you get bullied for whatever makes you different or unique, for example: your race, religion, culture, sexual or gender identity, line of work, fashion sense or weight. By the end of this article, you will know that this is not the case at all.

Let’s talk about it – join the community today to start a conversation about bullying and speak to our amazing digital mentors who can help you without judgement.

The Psychology of Being Bullied

We will explore the reasons why later on in this article, but most frequently, those who bully others are looking to gain a feeling of power, purpose and control over you. The easiest way of doing this is to focus on something that is unique about you – either preying on or creating a new insecurity with an intent to hurt you either physically or emotionally. What happens is, we, as the people experiencing bullying, start to internalise it and we become self-critical. We want to understand the reasons why we are being targeted and we start to blame ourselves.

As a result, we try to change or mask that unique characteristic in order to avoid the bullying. We dye our hair, bleach our skin, date people we aren’t interested in and cover up our bodies like they are something to be ashamed of. It starts to affect our behaviour and the ways in which we see ourselves, which in turn, can go on to impact both our mental and physical health.

But the way we see bullying is all wrong. It isn’t because we are different in some way.

[full-width-figure image=”https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/bullying-v5.jpg” alt=”why do people bully?”]

The Real Reasons Why People Bully Others

In a recent Ditch the Label study, we spoke to 8,850 people about bullying. We asked respondents to define bullying and then later asked if, based on their own definition, they had ever bullied anybody. 14% of our overall sample, so that’s 1,239 people, said yes. What we then did was something that had never been done on this scale before; we asked them intimate questions about their lives, exploring things like stress and trauma, home lives, relationships and how they feel about themselves.

In fact, we asked all 8,850 respondents the same questions and then compared the answers from those who had never bullied, those who had bullied at least once and those who bully others daily. This then gave us very strong and factual data to identify the real reasons why people bully others. It also scientifically proves that the reason people get bullied is never, contrary to popular belief, because of the unique characteristics of the person experiencing the bullying. So, why do people bully?

Stress and Trauma:

Our data shows that those who bully are far more likely than average to have experienced a stressful or traumatic situation in the past 5 years. Examples include their parents/guardians splitting up, the death of a relative or the gaining of a little brother or sister. It makes sense because we all respond to stress in very different ways. Some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress. Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and alcohol abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term. The research shows that some people simply do not know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.

Aggressive Behaviours:

66% of the people who had admitted to bullying somebody else were male. Take a minute to think about how guys are raised in our culture and compare that to the ways in which girls are raised. The moment a guy starts to show any sign of emotion, he’s told to man up and to stop being a girl. For girls, it’s encouraged that they speak up about issues that affect them. For guys, it’s discouraged and so they start to respond with aggressive behaviours, such as bullying, as a way of coping with issues that affect them. This is why guys are more likely than girls to physically attack somebody or to commit crimes. It isn’t something they are born with, it’s a learned behaviour that is actively taught by society using dysfunctional gender norms and roles.

Low Self-Esteem:

In order to mask how they actually feel about themselves, some people who bully focus attention on someone else. They try to avoid any negative attention directed at them by deflecting. But know they might look in the mirror at home and hate the way they look. There is so much pressure to live up to beauty and fitness standards that we are taught to compare ourselves to others, instead of embracing our own beauty.

They’ve Been Bullied:

Our research shows that those who have experienced bullying are twice as likely to go on and bully others. Maybe they were bullied as kids in the past, or maybe they are being bullied now. Often it’s used as a defence mechanism and people tend to believe that by bullying others, they will become immune to being bullied themselves. In fact, it just becomes a vicious cycle of negative behaviours.

Difficult Home Life:

1 in 3 of those who bully people daily told us that they feel like their parents/guardians don’t have enough time to spend with them. They are more likely to come from larger families and are more likely to live with people other than their biological parents. There are often feelings of rejection from the very people who should love them unconditionally. They are also much more likely to come from violent households with lots of arguments and hostility.

Low Access to Education:

Without access to education, hate-based conversation directed at others may be the norm. They may not understand what hate speech is and why speaking about people in a derogatory way is not appropriate.

Relationships:

Finally, those who bully are more likely to feel like their friendships and family relationships aren’t very secure. In order to keep friendships, they might be pressured by their peers to behave in a certain way. They are more likely to feel like those who are closest to them make them do things that they don’t feel comfortable doing and aren’t very supportive or loving.

So there you have it, some of the most common reasons why people bully others. If you are being bullied, it’s time to put the knowledge to the test. Carry on reading with our article on overcoming bullying. If you are doing the bullying, here are 7 things that you can do to overcome it.

Our community is a safe space to discuss your issues and get support from trained digital mentors who will help you without judgement.

#AntiBullyingWeek

To mark anti-bullying week in the UK, we’ve partnered up with LYNX, the UK’s leading male grooming brand on their recent ‘Ditch Labels, Ditch Bullying’ campaign. The campaign challenges guys, including some of our favourite influencers Manchester United footballer Marouane Fellaini, TV personality Ollie Locke, grime star Not3s and rapper Big Shaq to quite literally destroy the words they’ve been personally labelled with.

As part of the campaign, LYNX have launched a limited-edition ‘Unlabelled’ kit, featuring body spray and shower gel where the brand has removed its own label to promote our message, with 100% of the profits from each kit sold being donated to help fund our crucial anti-bullying support.

Scroll on to see which labels got squished 😉

 

Marouane Fellaini

 

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Not3s

 

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Ollie Locke

 

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Big Shaq / Michael Dapaah

 

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DJ Larizzle

 

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You can buy the limited-edition ‘Unlabelled’ kit here.
Read more about our global partnership with Lynx here.
If you’re currently affected by bullying, help and support is available here.