What can I do if I'm being bullied during the holidays?
The holidays are meant to be a time when you get to relax and have fun outside of school, when you get away from it all and are able to do all the stuff you’ve been dreaming about during term time. Sometimes though, the holidays can present their own challenges and if you’re being bullied it can be difficult to know who to turn to when the teachers aren’t around. Below are our top tips:
TOP TIPS FOR DEALING WITH THE ISSUE
- Speak out - It’s really important to tell someone what’s going on. Try and make it an adult you trust, like a parent, guardian, family member or support service such as Childline (0800 11 11 UK) (1800 66 66 66 Ireland). If you’re part of a youth group you could also speak to someone there. What a support service is: A support service is a way of getting expert advice when you don’t want to turn to someone you know. Many of them can be accessed anonymously so that people will not know that it is you who is contacting them and will keep your conversations confidential. They are normally a phone line, but some, like Childline, also allow you to chat via instant messenger. Contact details for support services can be found below.
Don’t retaliate – We’re not saying that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself, but don’t lower yourself to bullying someone back. This can create a negative spiral and make the situation worse.
Keep a log of the incidents – This is really important during the holidays, even though teachers aren’t going to be able to take action straight away, they will definitely want to as soon as school starts again. Make sure you record: What happened, who was there, where it happened, when it happened. If you have evidence like screenshots of conversations then you can also use these when you tell a teacher.
Online – If you’re being cyberbullied (bullied on the internet/by phone), then there are other steps you can take:
Report - You can report the person doing the bullying to the social network or phone network and they will take action.
Block - You should also block the person who is bullying and stop them from getting in contact with you, social networks and mobile phone networks will have information about how to do this on their websites. Blocking is often anonymous and it’s not permanent, so if you want to you can use it to get a bit of space, even for an hour or two.
Take it up a level – If you feel that the bullying has gone too far and has become a crime (either harassment or a hate crime) then you could get in contact with the police. This is a last-resort, but it’s there if you need it. We recommend talking to your trusted adult before taking this step. You can get in contact with the police by calling 101 in the UK or visiting your local Gardaí station in Ireland.
When you get back, tell a teacher – When you get back to school make sure that you let a teacher know what happened. They might be able to provide you with ongoing support and take action against those who bullied you.
Use the time – spend it with your closest friends or doing projects that make you feel excited and good about yourself, if these can help the local community, even better. One idea might be to do something about anti-bullying and share it with us!
Don’t blame yourself – You don’t deserve to be bullied and it’s never your fault. It can be difficult to remember this whilst bullying is going on but you don’t need to feel ashamed. You’re amazing just as you are.
What can I do if my child is being bullied during the holidays?
It’s unfortunate but sometimes when school ends, bullying continues. When your child is on holiday it can cause many concerns for parents, particularly when the support structures of school are not immediately available.
If your child has told you that they’re being bullied over summer holiday here’s our advice:
- Affirm them – a child who has been bullied often feels out of control, let them know that they did exactly the right thing in telling you and together you’re going to find a way of making things better
- Record the incidents – Urge your child to let you know when something has happened and make sure that you record what happened, who was involved, where it occurred and when it occurred. This makes it easier to let teachers know what can be done when school restarts
- Show them how to stay safe online – If your child is being bullied online it can be tempting to tell them to turn off their devices, we don’t advise this. It isn’t a long term solution and can prevent young people accessing other support services and getting help from their friends. Instead make sure that your child knows how to report, block and adjust their privacy settings. There is more information on how to do this here
- Call the police – In some cases bullying can constitute a crime, normally when it involves harassment and intimidation over a period of time or is a hate crime.
If you need more support you can get in contact with Family Lives free confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222.
Need someone to talk to?