What is bullying?
Bullying is when someone is being picked on, continuously and on purpose, by a person or group because they think they are more important, stronger or better than them . This can leave the person being bullied feeling hurt, scared, sad, embarrassed and left out .
Types of bullying
Physical bullying involves hurting someone’s body or possessions, and could include:
- Hitting, kicking, tripping or pushing
- Stealing or breaking someone’s belongings on purpose
- Making rude hand gestures to someone [3,4]
Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things, and could include:
- Teasing or laughing at someone
- Calling someone names
- Threatening or saying other inappropriate things [3,4]
Social bullying can involve:
- Leaving someone out and/or telling other kids to do the same
- Lying or spreading rumours about someone
- Embarrassing someone when people are watching [3,4]
Cyber bullying involves the use of technology such as computers or phones to harass, threaten or make fun of someone online via social media, texting or other online platforms . This could involve:
- Mean text messages, statuses, tweets, photos or videos
- Excluding people online on purpose
- Spreading nasty rumours
- Pretending to be someone else online or using their log-in 
Healthy at every size / Self-love
Everyone is different, and nobody is perfect – we all look different, act different, and have different interests – that is what makes us special! It is important to remember that good friends will like you just the way you are .
What can I do to feel better about myself? [6,7,8,9]
- Write down a list of things that you’re good at and things that make you happy – Practice these things every day!
- Spend time with people who are kind to you and also to themselves.
- Do and say nice things to other people – when you are kind to others, you feel good about yourself!
- Focus on what your body CAN do – If you can run, swim, dance, climb, carry things, and hug people – be thankful, not everybody can!
- Look after your body – eat healthy food, be active every day, and get enough sleep
- Remember that people on social media or in magazines are often edited to look perfect – try not to compare yourself to them!
- Show other kids that it’s okay to be different – give them a smile, or ask them if they want to play with you. This will make both of you feel happy, and you might even make a new friend!
What to do if YOU are being bullied [10,11]
- Avoid the bully – If If you know the bully is nearby, try to walk a different way to class, go to a different bathroom, and play in a different part of the playground.
- Find a buddy – Buddy up with a friend so you are never alone with the bully.
- Tell the bully to stop – There might be a chance the person bullying you does not realise how they are making you feel. Once they know, they may stop.
- Ignore the bully – This might be hard, but bullies thrive on your response. If you act brave, act like you do not care, and walk away, the bully might eventually get bored of being mean to you.
- Tell an adult – Your parents, a teacher, or your principal
- Talk about it with someone you trust – This might be your parent, a friend, a teacher, a sibling, or a guidance counsellor. They may be able to stop the bullying, and help you feel less alone.
What to do if you see another kid being bullied
- Stand up to the bully – Do not watch or join in. Tell the bully that what they are doing is not cool, and invite the bullied kid to walk away with you by saying “C’mon, let’s go.” Ask some of your friends to help you stick up for the kid being bullied the next time you see it happen .
- Tell a teacher – Tell them everything you know, and keep them updated. This way, the teacher can help stop the bully, and give support to the person being bullied. Encourage the person being bullied to talk to a teacher as well .
- Be friendly to the kid that is getting bullied – Ask them if they are okay, say “hi” and smile at them when you see them, and invite them to play with you at lunchtime. This will make them feel less alone, and bullies are less likely to pick on someone when they are with friends .
- Stop any rumours – If someone tells you something mean or embarrassing about someone else, do not pass it on .
Videos about bullying
- https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/Resources/Videos/Pages/VideoPlayer.aspx?VideoID=183 (kids)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mrE5zgEvt4 (kids)
Encouraging a positive body image
Classroom activities which involve :
- Building resilience and learning coping skills
- Writing a list of things that they are good at, and a list of their positive characteristics.
- Encouraging your students to analyse things they see in the media, and the messages behind advertising.
- Educating your students about the importance of healthy eating and the positive impacts it will have on their body.
- Talking about what it feels like to be healthy, rather than what it looks like.
- Doing physical activities with them and teaching them that it should be about having fun and staying healthy, not about weight.
Self-esteem and Body Image lesson plan (9 to 14-year-olds): http://healthpoweredkids.org/lessons/self-esteem-and-body-image/
How to react to bullying amongst students
- Learn what bullying is, how to recognise the warning signs, and which children might be at a higher risk of getting bullied.
- Teach your students about bullying – have class discussions, lessons and other activities focused around bullying, and the best ways to respond to bullies (as both the victim and as a bystander).
- Classroom = Safe place for all – Make sure everyone in your classroom is aware of what is and what is not respectful behaviour.
- Stay acquainted with your school’s bullying policy, and the actions taken to report and investigate bullying. It is also important to be familiar with your obligations under the state and national laws related to bullying.
- Respond accordingly to bullying – Stop it, find out what happened, and support everyone involved .
Encouraging a positive body image
As they grow, children often compare how they look, and what they can do, to the people around them . The beliefs of parents around body image, and how they express it in the home has the ability to affect the way their children see themselves .
Ways to help your children build a positive body image:
- Educate them about their body and how to look after it with healthy eating, exercise and adequate sleep .
- Lead by example – Eat healthily, avoid dieting, be active, and avoid negative body talk about yourself or others .
- Don’t put a lot of emphasis on physical appearances – compliment your child when they look nice, but teach them that it is what is on the inside that counts [16,17].
- Place value on their achievements – let them know that you are proud of them [16,17].
- Don’t tease them about the way they look – even if it is a seemingly friendly nickname, it might impact them more than you realise, damaging their self-esteem and body image .
What to do if your child is being bullied
- Find out what is happening – Explain to your child that it is okay to dob on bullies, and that this is NOT their fault. Encourage them to tell you everything about their experiences. Remaining calm and positive will help your child to do the same .
- Discuss coping strategies – Suggest ignoring the bully, confidently telling them to stop, pretending you don’t care, walking away from the bully, and telling a teacher. Practice these scenarios at home with your child, so they can feel more confident if they are faced with it again. Do not suggest to your child to fight the bully. Tell them that the best way to respond to cyberbullying is to save the evidence, and block their account .
- Speak to the school – Encourage your child to tell their teacher what is happening, so they can keep an eye on the situation. If the bullying persists, organise a meeting to speak with the teacher/principal to discuss the school’s bullying policy. Leave it to the school to help bullies change their ways. Contact the school immediately if your child is in danger [18,19].
Kids Helpline (https://kidshelpline.com.au/)
Free and confidential online and phone counselling for young people (5 to 25-year-olds), parents, teachers and beyond. Helpline: 1800 55 1800.
Bullying NoWay! (https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/)
Resources for kids, teens, parents, teachers and the wider community on bullying and how to respond.
The Butterfly Foundation (https://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/)
Support for Eating Disorders and body image issues. National helpline: 1800 33 4673
KidsHealth from Nemours (https://kidshealth.org/)
Physician-reviewed information on children’s health for parents, kids, teens and teachers.
The national youth mental health foundation for 12 to 25-year-olds. Information and support is provided online, on the phone and at headspace centres Australia-wide. Helpline: 1800 650 890. Online support can be found here.
Youth Beyond Blue (https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/)
Information, resources and support for young people dealing with depression and/or anxiety. Helpline: 1300 22 4636.
Reach Out (https://au.reachout.com/)
A website designed to help young people, ranging from everyday questions through to tough times. There is also a parent section and a school section.
Parentline NSW (www.parentline.org.au/)
Phone counselling, information and referral service for parents who live in NSW. Phone: 1300 1300 52.
National Eating Disorders Collaboration (https://www.nedc.com.au/)
Focuses on the prevention, intervention & treatment of Eating Disorders.
“Bullying. So Not Ok.” (https://headspace.org.au/assets/Uploads/Bullying-So-not-Ok-Booklet.pdf)
A bullying education and prevention booklet for teenage girls.