Summary of Policy
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Coping with Bullying Cyberbullying Why Me Bystanders Cliques
1. Tell a friend what is happening.Ask him or her to help you. It will be harder for the bully to pick on you if you have a friend with you for support.
2. Try not to show that you are upset or angry.Bullies love to get a reaction -
3. Speaking Up for Inclusion
Being left out is a major form of bullying. Exclusion should be clearly against the rules at school. A child can practice persisting in asking to join a game.Pretend to be a bully who wants to exclude.Have your child walk up and say, “I want to play.” Coach your child to sound and look positive and friendly, not whiny or aggressive.
For example, your child is excluded and if the reason is, “You’re not good enough,” your child can practice saying “I’ll get better if I practice!” If the reason is, “There are too many already,” your child might practice saying, “There’s always room for one more.” If the reason is, “You cheated last time,” your child might practice saying, “I did not understand the rules. Let’s make sure we agree on the rules this time.”
4. Don't fight back if you can help it.Most bullies are bigger or stronger than you. If you fight back you could make the situation worse, get hurt or be blamed for starting the trouble.
5. Try to think up funny or clever replies in advance.Make a joke of it. Replies don't have to be wonderfully brilliant or clever but it helps to have an answer ready. Practice saying them in the mirror at home. Using prepared replies works best if the bully is not too threatening and just needs to be put off. The bully might just decide that you are too clever to pick on.
6. Walking with Awareness, Calm, Respect, and Confidence
People are less likely to be picked on if they walk and sit with awareness, calm, respect, and confidence. Projecting a positive, assertive attitude means keeping one’s head up, back straight, walking briskly, looking around, having a peaceful face and body, and moving away from people who might cause trouble.
Show your child the difference between being passive, aggressive, and assertive in body language, tone of voice and choice of words. Have your child walk across the floor, coaching her or him to be successful, by saying for example; “That’s great!” “Now take bigger steps”, “Look around you” “Straighten your back.” etc.
7. Leaving in a Powerful, Positive Way
The best self-
8. Setting a Boundary
If a bully is following or threatening your child in a situation where she or he cannot just leave, your child needs to be able to set a clear boundary. Coach your child to turn, stand up tall, put his or her hands up in front of the body like a fence, palms out and open, and say “Stop!”. Coach your child to have a calm but clear voice and polite firm words-
9. Using Your Voice
Coach him or her to say “STOP! I don’t like that!” Coach your child to look the bully in the eyes and speak in a firm voice with both hands up and in front like a fence. Teach your child to leave and go to an adult for help.
10. Being Persistent in Getting Help
Children who are being bullied need to be able to tell teachers, parents, and other adults in charge what is happening in the moment clearly and calmly and persistently even if these adults are very distracted or rude – and even if asking for help has not worked before. Learning how to have polite firm words, body language and tone of voice even under pressure and to not give up when asking for help is a life-
This is when instant messages, emails, text messages or webpages are used to spread rumours, make threats or harass. It can include written messages, photographs, videos or voice messages.
The people who are bullying may choose to set up 'groups' in an online social network. These 'groups' may be used to jeer at or target someone in a cruel way. The people who are organising this may remain anonymous.
Sometimes, people who use the internet may not be aware of its potential dangers. Someone may make a light-
People who use technology to bully may say things online or by text that they would never say face to face. They need to know that they are responsible for their words and actions in cyberspace as well as in the real world. If it comes down to it, the source of the abuse, the computer or phone being used, can be identified by the Gardaí.
This type of bullying is just as harmful and upsetting as face to face bullying.
Be careful online and remember that words have power.
Think about what you write or photos you add.
Ask yourself, could these words be picked up the wrong way or cause upset? Is this photo suitable for lots of people to see?
If you post something online and 'comments' or 'chat' becomes cruel, remove your posts so you are not part of a negative situation.
Help turn things around by pointing out if someone is being cruel. Apologise to the person if your own comments have led to harassment.
I've been getting mean emails from some girls in my class. Sometimes I get abusive text messages from numbers I don't recognise.
What should I do?
Tell someone. Talk to a parent, teacher, friend or someone you can trust.
Keep a log. While messages may be cruel, you will need to have some proof of what has been happening. This will be helpful if the guards or someone in authority need to help. If you don't want to keep seeing the messages you could put texts in 'saved messages'.
Forward emails onto the adult you have talked to.
If you are receiving abusive texts, give your phone to an adult to monitor for an evening or over a weekend.
Keep your details private and block people. Get a new phone sim and make your new number private.
If you are on a social network, change your 'privacy settings' so that your web pages are secure and only accessed by people you know. Check the privacy settings regularly as sometimes the network may change settings without notifying you.
Be careful about the passwords you use online. Keep this private. You could change your password every month or so to be extra safe.
If you know the user name of the person bullying, you can block them from your profile.
Start fresh by setting up a new email address, user name or profile. Ask someone for help if you're not sure how.
If you have been getting nasty IMs (instant messages), change your online status to 'hidden' so other internet users will not know you're online.
Don't reply to abusive emails or texts. Giving a response may make the situation worse.
Don't add people you don't know to your list of online friends. Be wary of strangers online.
If you're messaging a friend and something seems odd, it could be someone else who has hacked their details so just end the conversation.
Log off. You can choose to walk away by logging off or switching off. By doing this, you will feel in control of the situation.
Report it. If you are being bullied online, the service provider or network can give you information about what to do. Look for 'Help Centre' or 'Report Abuse'. There will be advice about what you can do and how to report to the network provider.
I'm worried that if I tell my parents they will stop me from going online. What should I do?
Be prepared. It's likely that your parents will be concerned and will want to take precautions.
Depending on your age and what's been happening for you, taking a break from the mobile/PC may be the safest option for now.
If you are older, explain to your parents why it is important that you can use your phone and go online.
Talk with your parents and explain that you don't want to be punished because of what is happening.
Suggest that you come to an agreement about being safe and what you should do when the bullying is happening (talk through 'What should I do' as above).
If your parents don't know much about the internet or social networks show them how it works.
Explain about 'Privacy Settings', 'Reporting Abuse' and 'Blocking' people from your profile.
My friend is cyberbullying a girl in our class. What should I do?
Talk to your friend. Explain that what they are doing is wrong. Let them know that what they are doing is bullying (they may not realise this).
Explain how serious this is and the effects it could have on the person they are bullying.
Let them know that there could be serious consequences for everyone involved.
Point out that bullying over the internet is just as serious as face to face bullying.
Whatever the reason, bullying is not fair and it's NOT your fault.
You probably ask yourself this question often. Why are they picking on me?
Some teenagers bully others because they are jealous, they have problems with anger, they are being bullied themselves or they have low self esteem and want to feel in control or that they have some kind of power.
Some young people are bullied for no particular reason, simply because they may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone who wants to bully will pick out something to be critical about. They may make cruel comments about:
Who you fancy
If you're popular
If you're smart and doing well at school
If you have a disability e.g. Aspergers, ADHD
If you're a different religion, culture or colour to the person bullying
If you wear glasses or have a hearing aid
If you have health problems
Your sexual orientation or gender identity
Whatever it is, the person bullying will pick out something to try and 'push your buttons'. It's probably something that most other people don't even notice or think about but for some reason, the person bullying uses it to target you.
For some people, the things they do or say can attract someone who bullies. Someone who brags or boasts about things may draw the attention of someone else who is jealous. Boasting can sometimes rub people up the wrong way. If you are proud of an achievement, remember to be modest about it. You can take pride in what you have done without making a big deal about it. Celebrate your achievements with people who are important to you -
'In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends'.
Martin Luther King Jnr
What does it mean to be a bystander? Some people stand by and watch bullying and people who bully love to have an audience. Those who laugh when someone is being harassed or picked on may as well be doing the bullying themselves as their laughter supports the bully. Others may see the bullying and disapprove of it but do nothing about it.
Ask yourself, have you ever thought some of these things…
It's none of my business.
They won't listen to me anyway.
It's only a bit of fun.
I don't want to get involved.
I don't know any of those kids so it's not my problem.
If I get involved maybe they'll turn on ME.
Why should I help? No one else is.
Everyone's laughing, I don't want to say anything or they'll laugh at me.
Why can't he/she (the victim) just stand up for themselves?
Being a bystander is giving the message that bullying is ok and allows it to continue.
If you see bullying, it's important that you help out. It's not just up to parents and teachers to sort out.
One of the best ways of ending and preventing bullying is when young people stand up for each other and say NO to bullying.
Refuse to join in.
Stand up to the person bullying and tell them it's wrong or to back off.
Support the person being bullied. Help them if they've been hurt.
Report it. Tell a teacher or another adult as soon as possible.
A friend of mine is being bullied. What should I do?
If a friend is being bullied they will need your help.
Suggest that you can help when they make the report. You can help describe what's happening.
If your friend doesn't want to make a report, you should. Be sure to explain that your friend is fearful.
Be supportive. Listen to your friend and tell them the bullying is wrong and needs to stop.
Encourage your friend to stay in a group wherever possible.
Encourage your friend to talk about it with a trusted adult.
Breaking the silence is the best way of putting a stop to bullying.
'Once, when I was being bullied, this older girl I hardly knew came over and told the bully to back off and cop on. There were a few other kids around and they heard. I think the bully just got really embarrassed. She never came near me after that. The girl who helped just walked off and that was that. It was kinda cool the way it happened.' Sarah, 13 from Dublin.
What's the difference between a group of friends and a clique?
Being part of a group is an important part of growing up and helps you develop your relationship and communication skills. It helps you feel like you belong and gives you opportunities to learn about yourself and others. In some friendship circles there may be one thing in common, for example an interest in a type of sport, fashion or music. People feel relaxed and welcome in the group.
Some young people may be part of several different types of groups as their interests grow or change.
Other groups or 'cliques' can have a strict membership code and may restrict people from joining. They may be more about being popular and the group itself may decide they are 'cooler' or better than others.
When people are in a clique, they tend to do everything together and may refuse to let other or 'new' people be part of their circle. There may be one person who seems to be the 'leader' and what he or she says goes.
People in cliques may jeer at others, humiliate people or choose to exclude. The 'rules' of the clique may be kept hidden from outsiders.
Do all people in cliques bully?
Not everyone in a clique bullies but there may be one ring leader who will choose to exclude others, spread rumours or target someone.
The others, who are the 'followers', may not be directly involved but instead they are a bystander to bullying and feel they have to follow the strict rules of the clique.
People in a clique may spread rumours about others or refuse to let someone be part of their circle. The clique may gang up on or target someone. They may be unfriendly to people outside of their circle and exclude others, giving the message that they are 'not good enough'.
There may be some peer pressure within the clique with everyone having to follow the rules. An individual in a clique may feel under pressure to do things so they get the approval of the rest of 'the gang'.
Someone with low confidence who knows that the clique is wrong may feel that they have to stay
Is your group based around a common interest, such as a hobby, activity or type of music?
Is it an open group where anyone with similar interests can join in?
Do you like being with the people in your group? Do you look on them as friends? Are they people who accept you for who you are? Do they openly accept others?
Can you speak your mind in the group and say what you really feel? Are the things that you say accepted and respected by others?
Are the people in your group fair? Are they treating people outside of the group in a fair way?
Do you feel good or bad about being part of this group?
Is it acceptable or okay for people to have mixed opinions, to change their mind and to act like an individual? Or do you feel under pressure to say what you think is the right thing (even if deep down you know it's not)?
Is it okay for you to be part of other groups also?
Do people in the group come and go between different interest or hobby groups or does everyone HAVE to stay in just one group?
In a 'healthy' friendship group:
You feel accepted for who you are.
You can have your own opinion.
You can enjoy different types of activities together and have a laugh.
There aren't strict 'rules'.
People are fair and respectful of others.
If you think you have become part of a clique, maybe its time to leave it and find a group that has less rules and which is more fun to be part of. By leaving a clique, you will have opportunities to meet new friends and try out new things.
What's the difference between teasing and taunting?
We are only having a laugh! So what is the difference between 'joking' and 'jeering'?
There is a big difference between having a laugh with someone and taunting someone.
Is not meant in a hurtful way but instead is clever, witty or light-
Is joking among friends in equal measures. All people within the group take part and switch between making the joke or being joked about.
Stops if someone is upset or offended.
If teasing gets a bit over the top, the person teasing apologises for any hurt feelings.
Is one sided, with one person always being the butt of jokes or insults.
Is putting someone down in a hurtful, disrespectful way and trying to disguise it as a joke.
Means laughing at someone instead of with someone.
Causes fear and anxiety for the person being taunted.
Continues even when the person asks for it to stop or seems upset.
A bit of teasing, slagging or joking between people is fine but only if it is not meant to be hurtful and all people involved are laughing. If teasing turns into taunting then it needs to stop.
For all teenagers, feeling accepted and part of a group is important. Your peers (people the same age / school year / group) can influence you in many ways and you may have similar tastes in music, fashion or pastimes.
Your peers can be positive role models in your life, a friend who has goals and dreams may inspire you to have your own goals. Sometimes, however, within a group people can feel pressure to 'fit in'. You may be pressured to break the rules or try something out, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
Your friends should accept you for who you are and respect the positive choices you make.
With peer pressure, people will say things like 'Come on, everyone's doing it' or 'What are you afraid of? No one will find out.' While you may feel the 'pressure', your peers should be able to accept it when you say no.
If you feel forced into something or threatened if you don't join in then this is bullying. If you are excluded from a group because you won't join in this is also a type of bullying