- Recognise that bullying matters – because it hurts in the short and long term. It’s everybody’s responsibility.
- Be clear about what bullying is. It is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated aggressive verbal, physical and/or social behaviour online or offline, which intends to cause physical and/or psychological harm, distress or fear. Bullying almost always occurs alongside cyber bullying.
- Bullying is not mutual conflict between equals, single acts of nastiness or aggression or social rejection or dislike unless it is deliberate, repeated and intended to cause distress.
- Watch for the following signs because many children will rarely say what is happening to them (trouble at school, drop in academic performance, sleep and/or eating disorders, withdrawal from social activities).
- Never ignore a bullying or cyber bullying situation. Respond to it as a parent or teacher with respectful listening, noting down the particulars of the situation and how the young person wants it resolved. Usually they are not interested in punishing the person who is bullying them; they just want it to stop.
- Encourage young people to tell someone who can help and not to ignore bullying; it will not go away on its own.
- Explain to young people that retaliating physically or aggressively will usually make things worse.
- Strategies young people can practise to cope with bullying include walking away, acting unimpressed, or pretending not to notice. Online strategies can include blocking, strategic ignoring of the behaviour and saving evidence via screenshots.
- Encourage young people to have diverse friendship groups. It’s too easy to be excluded or sidelined if you only have a couple of friends.
- If bullying or cyber bullying is particularly serious (physical or deeply personal), the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner or the police can be contacted. Before then, you might want to contact the Dolly’s Dream Support Line on 0488 881 033, Kids Helpline on 1800 551800 or Lifeline on 131114.
- We have a variety of resources for parents, carers, and young people readily available on Parent Hub.
- Dolly’s Dream offers a 24/7 helpline that can be reached by call or text at 0488 881 033.
- Your child’s teacher may be able to point you towards suitable resources to help you explain things.
- You could also seek advice from a counsellor or Parentline.
- If your child says that they have been abused or assaulted, help is available from a professional counselling service, like Kids Helpline. The Australian Institute of Family Studies also has some advice on this.
- Click here for more information about how to report bullying or abusive content via the eSafety Commissioners website.
If you are concerned about a child or young person, please seek help.
Speak to a trusted GP, school wellbeing staff, or a helpline such as:
Dolly’s Dream Support Line 0488 881 033
Parentline in your state or territory
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
headspace 1800 650 890
Lifeline 13 11 14