What to do if you witness the Bullybug in action

We hope that the information on this page might offer you some ideas as to how you can respond to bullying behaviour.

Three reactions to bullying behaviour

  • Upstander

    Being an upstander means taking positive action when we see someone using bullying behaviour.

    It is important to think carefully about your own safety before trying to stop any bullying behaviour. If you have others with you it is much easier. If you can't do this safely you can still help, by reporting the behaviour to an adult you trust.

  • Bystander

    When we see others being bullied it can be very challenging to watch and often hard to know what to do . Our reaction can be to stand by and do nothing. This is called being a bystander.

  • Join in

    When we witness bullying it can sometimes be tempting to join in. For example by laughing or 'liking' or sharing hurtful photos or posts online. We do this for many reasons, such as wanting to fit in or because we are afraid we will be bullied ourselves if we don't.

    It is never a good idea and doesn't really help anyone. Joining in can make the person being bullied feel even worse and we feel guilty for using the behaviour too.

How to be an UPSTANDER

Being an upstander takes courage and compassion. You need to be able to recognise when someone is hurt and have the courage to do something to help.

Every bullying situation is different and will require a unique Upstander approach. It is important to keep yourself safe while still doing SOMETHING to help. It may be as small and as simple as walking away but it can make a massive difference to the person being bullied.

Below are some ideas of what you can do to be an Upstander.

  • Ask for help

    Find an adult that can help and tell them about the behaviour you have seen or that is going on. Remember reporting bullying behaviour is not the same as "snitching". Snitching is about getting someone in trouble, whereas REPORTING is about helping someone, by stopping bullying behaviour.

    You can also support the person being bullied to ask for help themselves, by offering to be there with them when they do.

  • Be a friend

    Reach out to the person who is being bullied. Some ways that you can be a friend are:

    Listen to them and let them know that it isn't their fault and they don't deserve it. Let them know you are there for them.

    Encourage and support them to get help from an adult.

    Spend time with them and invite them to play with you.

    Tell them why you like them.

  • Interrupt and distract from the bullying behaviour

    Sometimes you may be able to help by interrupting the bullying behaviour.

    For example, you could ask the person being bullied for their help with something important or simply invite them to join you in an activity that physically takes them away from the situation or person using the bullying behaviour.

    Or if you are friends with the person using the bullying behaviour you could distract them from what they are doing by asking them for help with something or inviting them to do an activity that means they have to stop what they are doing.

  • Call out the bullying behaviour

    If you feel safe, you could speak up while the bullying is happening and let the person using the behaviour know that it is not ok.

    If you don't feel safe to step in and stop the bullying while it is happening, it is better to walk away and get help.

    Telling a friend how their behaviour makes you feel and how it affects others takes courage. Telling a friend to stop using bullying behaviour is hard. However, you will be helping both person being bullied and your friend by helping them to stop hurting others and themselves with the bullying behaviour.

  • Don't give bullying behaviour an audience

    It is best to remove yourself from the situation and get help if you can. You can then offer support to the person being bullied later on or even talk to the person using the bullying behaviour when you feel safe to do so.

We believe that one of the best ways we can all stop the spread of the Bullybug is with kindness. When we start with being kind to ourselves then we can spread this to others. Kindness truly is contagious.

Learn more

Bullying is complex and different for everyone so please note that these are our ideas and should not replace professional support. Follow the link below for information about other websites and professional services that may also be useful to you.

Additional websites and services that can help