A person thinking, sat on the sofa.


What is bullying?

If somebody repeatedly hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying.

Specific types of bullying include:

  • homophobic bullying based on your sexual orientation
  • racist bullying because of your skin colour or ethnicity
  • religious bullying because of your beliefs or faith.
  • sizeist bullying referring to your body size
  • sexist bullying focusing on you being of the opposite sex
  • cyberbullying targeting you online, often anonymously
  • bullying because you are different

Bullying can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time. And bullying can happen to anyone.

No matter how alone you might feel, there is always someone you can talk to and someone who can help.

Talking to someone about being bullied

Ignoring bullying won’t make it go away. You need to tell someone about what is happening.

Talk to your parents or carers and your teacher. Your teacher may have no idea that you are being bullied, and the school will have an anti-bullying policy to tackle it.

If you feel you can’t speak to your teacher, maybe a friend can do it for you. You can also speak to a school counsellor, welfare officer or nurse.

In extreme cases, if bullying is interfering with your education it may be possible for you to change schools if it doesn’t stop once you have reported it.

Talk to your parents or carers, close relatives such as grandparents, aunties and uncles, or even your friends’ parents. Youth workers and leaders may be able to help too.

Tell a trusted adult – your parents or carers, or a teacher. You can report abusive posts on social media platforms. Find out how to do this with Childline's instructions. You can also report abuse to CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).

Keep reporting the bullying until it stops. It may not stop the first time you tell your parents or teacher and they try to stop it. If the bullying continues, tell them again. Don’t put up with it. No one deserves to be bullied.

Tips on bullying from young people like you

  • Your worth and who you are as a person is not defined by other people. Be yourself and you will flourish! I know it's so hard right now and everything feels like it's against you but please speak out and tell someone. Letting it out will make you feel so much better.
  • You are worth so much more than you think. Being bullied is scary, painful and really hard - but you don’t have to suffer in silence. Speak to someone you trust to let them know what is happening and together, you can work to make it better.
  • Bullying is not your fault, and things can get better.
Two young people sitting in the grass together.
When I spoke out, I realised that it wasn’t just me that had gone through this, there were thousands of people who had felt the way I did and were in the same position as me. This made me realise I needed to do something about it. I never wanted anyone to feel the way I had.


A girls listening to music sat on a wall in the park.

Cyberbullying is when someone bullies you online. This could look like them posting mean content about you on social media, commenting nasty things on your posts, or them sending you upsetting content. Online bullying can be just as upsetting as bullying in person and it is never okay.

If you're being upset in any way online, speak to an adult you trust, like a teacher, a parent or a faith leader. Even if it seems like a small thing, it can really help to talk things through with someone else. They can also help you take steps to make the bullying stop.

Below are some more tips that can help you to have a better time online.

  • Block or mute someone

    If you’re finding someone’s posts upsetting, you can block them so that you don’t see them anymore. Or, if you don’t feel able to block someone, try muting them instead. They won’t know you’ve muted them and you won’t have to see their posts or messages.

  • Report posts and messages

    If someone’s harassing or bullying you online, you can report their posts.

    Read Childline’s instructions on how to report posts and messages on different social media platforms.

  • Change your privacy settings

    Try changing your privacy settings on your social networks to limit what others can see on your profile.

    Read Childline's instructions on changing your privacy settings.

For more information about keeping safe online, take a look at our guide to social media and mental health.

Social media and mental health

Get help now

Whatever you're going through, you don't have to go through it alone. Here are some organisations who can support you. 

You might also find helpful...

Bullying can affect us in lots of ways. Here's some more advice and information you might find helpful. 

If you're a parent or carer

A lady speaking on her mobile phone at a picnic table

If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person who is being bullied, we can support you through our Parents Helpline. We are here to listen to you, and give you free, confidential advice and information.

Parents Helpline and Webchat

Whether you love the page or think something is missing, we appreciate your feedback. It all helps us to support more young people with their mental health.

Please be aware that this form isn’t a mental health support service. If you are in crisis right now and want to talk to someone urgently, find out who to contact on our urgent help page.

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This form is not a mental health support service. We cannot reply to this. If you are at risk of immediate harm, call 999 and ask for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E. If you are worried about your mental health, call: Childline (for under 19s) on 0800 11 11; or Samaritans on 116 123.

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