Expert chat: Bullying

Our expert on dealing with bullying, LaurenHow do you cope with bullying when it's happening to you? Lauren from the Anti-Bullying Alliance offers her advice.

Sam: I've been a victim of cyberbullying in the past and recently someone I know told me the bully is still making horrible comments about me. How do I cope with the feelings it's brought back?

Lauren: Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly uses the internet to say or do things which make you feel bad. It sounds as though this person might be up to their old tricks, and like there are more people involved. It's good to have people around you who can give you support, so it might be worth having a purge of anyone online who is bringing you down and keep your networks to people that love and respect you. We've all been there at some point. Best to block the haters and keep it positive.

Briony: After your self-confidence has been lowered by bullies saying horrible things about you, how do you get back to being yourself again?

Lauren: This can take time. You need to believe that you deserve a better life and surround yourself with positive people, both face-to-face and online. It might also help to have some formal counselling, so see your GP if it's really bringing you down.

Harriet: I've found it helps to try and find things which make you happy, like taking up a hobby.

Lauren: Bullying can impact your confidence in so many ways. I know this amazing girl who has started taking up exercise and it's made a huge difference to how she feels about herself, along with having a supportive group of friends.

Jo: We've got an article on The Mix about building self-esteem which might be useful.

Vicky: How do you deal with being bullied by a family member?

Lauren: Bullying in families is actually really common but it's not something that is talked about often. As with all bullying, it's really important to get help and talk to someone about what's going on. You might not resolve things directly with the people involved, but it's important to look for outside help. Unfortunately, some people you just can't change. If it's safe for you to do this, let the person know how you feel and set boundaries with them.

Jo: Here's a link about assertiveness. It's not always easy to stand up to family but focusing on your own needs is important.

Geri: It says online that you can report cyberbullying to the police, but when would you actually do that? Surely they can't help unless it's something physical?

Lauren: Threats of violence online are a criminal offence, along with language that incites hate. This means that cyberbullying can often be reported to the police, but it doesn't necessarily mean they will get involved. If you are scared or the messages are very offensive, contact the police. Even if they can't immediately act, you could be helping them to build up a bigger picture about someone. It's also worth using the reporting tools for the social network you are using.

Jo: Taking action can also feel empowering in itself.

Kaye: You can also call the non-emergency police service on 101 to talk about a problem and receive advice.

Daryl: Something doesn't have to be physical to harm you, Geri. You still have the right to report it and the police can point you in the right direction towards helping you get support.

Lauren: It may also be worth contacting the UK Safer Internet Centre.

Pete: How do you cope with having anonymous hate messages sent to you?

Lauren: That sounds hard. The good news is that it's more difficult to be anonymous than people think. I would report the messages to the service providers, even if you don't know who it is.

Jo: That's true. Here on The Mix, we're able to check IPs if we feel someone is bullying and ban them if we need to. Other sites should be able to do the same and reporting it is the first step.

Daryl: Who should you turn to when you're being bullied?

Lauren: It can depend on who you feel more comfortable talking to. Start with a friend or a family member you really trust. They can help you make sense of what's been going on and work out how to approach the problem. If you're worried about how your parents might react, think of another adult you can trust.

Jo: Once you've found someone you trust, you could take them with you to talk to someone else, like your parents or a teacher.

Nikki: I'm new to a job which is extremely difficult and one of my colleagues seems to have a problem with me. He makes personal comments about me all the time. I've reported it to my manager and it's being investigated but it seems to be getting worse and worse. What can I do?

Lauren: It might be a good idea to contact ACAS. They can give advice to employers and employees in this situation. It can be really tough if you've just started a new job. It's worth over time finding out if other colleagues feel the same as well.

Daryl: You could also note down each comment that's made and the time and date in order to build more evidence for the manager.

Jo: We've got an article here about bullying at work which might be helpful.

Next Steps

  • Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
  • BullyingUK offers advice and support to victims of bullying. Call on 0808 800 2222.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.



Updated on 20-Nov-2015