The following excerpt is taken from session 8 of the Training manual for children, We can work it out, by Clare Heaton and Maureen Lynch. The full manual is available as a free download at this link:
Defining bully behaviour
Bullying is repeated incidents involving:
a bigger, stronger or more powerful child on a smaller or weaker child, or
a group of children on a single child.
using social media to make another child unhappy or afraid.
These might be:
Verbal: the child is called names, put down, threatened.
Physical: the child is hit, tripped, poked or kicked, or belongings are stolen or damaged.
Social: the child is left out or ignored, or rumours are spread in person or online.
Psychological: the child is stalked or given dirty looks or bullied on line.
Bullying is different from ordinary teasing, rough-and-tumble or schoolyard fights. What makes it different is that the incidents are ongoing, and there is usually an imbalance of size, strength and power between the children involved.
The bully might have power not only because he or she is bigger and stronger, but also because other children side with the bully often to protect themselves.
Bullying is where one person is having fun but the other one is not.
Boys are more often bullied by a single individual; girls more often by groups. There is not much difference between the number of boys and girls who suffer from bullying.
The size of the school, or whether the school is single-sex or co-educational or government or non-government, makes no significant difference to the amount of bullying that goes on.
Children are most often bullied when they are in their first few years of primary school and again in their first few years of secondary school.
Bullying among children at school is a serious matter.
Twenty-two ways to deal with bully behaviour
Tell them they are bullying.
Make other friends.
Tell them how you feel.
Use assertive body language.
Be prepared with something to say.
Believe in yourself, no matter what they say or do.
Laugh it off.
Change your situation.
Change how you think about it.
Don’t do things you don’t want to.
Use your invisible shield.
Act like a fog.
Don’t purposely annoy them.
Dealing with cyberbullying
What can police do?
If someone is threatening bullying or harassing you on-line, police want to know about it. You don’t have to put up with it and police can take action.
On-line bullies think they can be anonymous but police can track them down. That’s why it is important to inform police about what’s happening.
While there is no specific legislation in Australia that is specifically for cyber-bullying, there are existing laws police can use to arrest and charge perpetrators.
If someone is threatening bullying or harassing you on-line, police want to know about it.
What laws can help police punish cyber-bullies? There is no specific offence for Cyber Bullying in NSW, however the person may commit offences under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1955. Division 474, subdivision C. Telecommunications Offences.
Discussion Looking back at the activities we have completed on how to deal with a bully – which of these strategies could you use to deal with a cyberbully?
What can students do?
Know that this happens to lots of people and they have learned ways to deal with it. It is not your fault. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with you. People get bullied about anything. The bully may start cyberbullying you to see if it works on you. If you don’t bite back or respond they may get bored because you are not rewarding them with your unhappiness – which is what they want.
It is very sad that there are people online who may want to hurt you or use you, so you have to look out for yourself when you are on social media.
You are the best person to save yourself – with the help of others – maybe even the police. Watch out for yourself and be your own superhero.
Make sure you know a website is safe before you use it.
Keep a record of the cyberbullying. Save the messages straight away. This can be evidence when you are reporting the cyberbullying to an adult or even to the police in the future.
Contact police about any threatening or intimidating messages.
Don’t keep cyberbullying a secret, as it will never go away unless you do something about it – just like facing up to a bully who is physically in front of you.
If you are being bullied tell a responsible adult such as a parent, relation, teacher or school psychologist.
Report the bully to the social media platform.
Do not respond to cyberbullying and try to resist cyberbullying back.
Block people who are bullying you or who are not a positive force in your life
Delete pages where the bully has found you or anything that you know will lead to a bad situation.
Deleting and leaving sites may be very hard but tell yourself it is only temporary. Try very hard to take an interest in anything that is positive in your life rather than dwelling on the bullying. The bully wants to make you miserable. Don’t give them that satisfaction.
Maybe only have limited communication with people you know like you, or are interested in the same things as you. You don’t have to cut yourself off completely.
Do not share with people you do not know, your personal details such as your name, address, school and what you look like. Do not let friends and relatives post personal details about you.
Never share your passwords or username. Change them frequently if you are having problems with bullying.
Change your phone number if you are being bullied.
Never post anything online that you wouldn’t want everyone to see. Once something is on the internet it may be impossible to remove it ever again.
Plan ahead for what you are going to do if it happens again. That way you will feel less like a victim
Try not to be on social media all the time if that is where the danger lies. Find other things to do, with people who do not bully you like clubs, sports, help someone out, etcetera. Do other things you are interested then the cyberbullying won’t be in your head 24/7
Don’t be pressured into doing things you don’t want to do.
People online may not really be who they say they are. Never go alone to meet someone you have met online. You may think they seem great but they may be going to hurt you. Always go with a parent or caregiver and meet in a public place.
Help someone else if you know they are being cyberbullied.
Contact a helpline: Warning: be careful about sites that promote anti-bullying as they MAY take you to places on the web that are not about anti-bullying.
Make a list of Helplines recommended by your school or Helplines such as those in New South Wales, Australia: