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Bullying toward You

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is bullying?

Bullying is a pattern of abuse designed to harm or control another person. Verbal bullying means the person is calling you names, using words to hurt you, or threatening to hurt you. Physical bullying means the person is hitting you or attacking you physically. Social abuse includes anything designed to keep you from being accepted by others. An example is starting rumors about you. Bullying that happens through e-mail, the Internet, or text messages is called cyberbullying.

What increases my risk for being bullied?

Anyone can be the target of bullying. Some children who bully will target children who are smaller. You may be quiet or not have a large amount of friends. You may still be bullied even if you are tall and friendly. The bullying is not your fault. You may think you did something to deserve being bullied, but bullying is never okay. If you are being bullied, it is important to tell someone right away.

What problems may I develop from bullying?

  • Frequent headaches or stomach problems
  • Not wanting to go to school or to a school activity
  • Not going to school, or not going to certain classes
  • Decline in grades, especially from not caring about school or not going to classes
  • Making negative comments about yourself, or feeling like negative comments about you are true
  • Becoming withdrawn, depressed, or not wanting to do things you used to enjoy
  • Bruises, cuts, or other injuries from physical bullying that you feel you must hide from adults
  • Wanting to harm yourself

What are the risks of being bullied?

You may develop poor self-esteem. You may become depressed or want to drop out of school. Bullying can increase your risk for a drug or alcohol addiction. Bullying can lead to thoughts of suicide.

What can I do to stop the bullying?

  • Talk to a parent or another adult you trust. The person can help make sure the bullying stops, and can help you feel safe. You may feel nervous or embarrassed to talk about what is happening. You may think it will make the bullying worse. Adults at home and school will help stop the bullying and prevent it from starting again. Your school may offer programs designed to stop bullying. You should never feel afraid to go to school or not feel safe at home.
  • Develop healthy ways to respond. One of the best ways to stop a bullying attack that is happening in person is to walk away. Then tell a teacher or school official what happened and who else saw or heard it. You may need to change a class or change when you have lunch. Talk to your parents about your Internet, e-mail, and text message accounts. You may need to have them changed or closed to prevent cyberbullying.
  • Keep records of the bullying. Save all e-mail, text, and similar messages you receive. Your parents will be able to contact the police or other authorities to get help if any threats are being made against you. Your parents or school officials may be able to talk to the parents of the person who is bullying you.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.