At The Diana Award, we understand that any form of bullying behaviour is unacceptable and can be truly damaging for whoever is experiencing it.
The Diana Award defines bullying behaviour as
‘repeated negative behaviour which is intended to make someone feel upset, uncomfortable or unsafe’.
There are three types of bullying behaviour: Verbal, Indirect and Physical; out of these three types, ‘indirect’ can sometimes be the most isolating. One example of this is exclusion.
Exclusionary bullying behaviour is when someone is repeatedly and purposely isolated and excluded; this can be both online and offline. In the online world, someone may be excluded from group chats (for example, on WhatsApp or Snapchat) or online games (for example, Fortnite or Call of Duty). In school, this could mean exclusion from social groups, sports teams, extra-curricular activities or clubs.
But what if I just don’t want someone in my group chat or friendship group?
It’s very natural to simply not get on with someone and you may not necessarily want them in your group chat or online gaming crew. So, when does this become bullying behaviour? The general rule is that if you are purposefully excluding someone because you know it will upset them – that is bullying behaviour. You must understand the impact your actions or words will have on someone else and this must form the main reason for using those words or actions. It’s not bullying behaviour if you simply don’t gel with someone and you don’t particularly want to interact with them - but it’s important that you still act in a civil and polite manner.
I think I’m being excluded. What should I do?
Firstly, don’t be afraid to address this behaviour if you feel safe to do so. Ask the person/s if they are excluding you and why. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, ask a friend to help you but make sure you do so in a calm, non-confrontational manner. Secondly, if you are being excluded, make sure to reach out to friends and surround yourself with people who care and will support you no matter what. Sometimes exclusion can turn friends against each other but remember, if your friend is excluding you, they might not be a true friend after all.
How can I prevent exclusion from happening in my school?
To tackle exclusion (and any form of bullying behaviour), it’s important to foster a culture of positivity, tolerance and togetherness. Speak to your teachers about possible campaigns around positivity and inclusion. These could include exchanging positive compliments and post-it notes for people in your class, team-building games or activities or assemblies on inclusivity and being one as a school community. Check out some of the amazing campaigns our Anti-Bullying Ambassadors have done to bring their schools together on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/antibullyingpro
Finally, if you notice anyone in your school or community being excluded, make sure you become the change you’d like to see in the world – offer them some support, ask them how they are and show them a little kindness. It can go a long way.
The Diana Award Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are a young person in crisis, you can text DA to 85258. Trained volunteers will listen to how you’re feeling and help you think the next step towards feeling better.
DO YOU HAVE ANTI-BULLYING AMBASSADORS IN YOUR SCHOOL?
Anti-Bullying Ambassador training empowers students and staff to change the attitudes, behaviours, and cultures of bullying by building skills and confidence to address different situations both on and offline. This is all delivered through The Diana Award’s renowned peer-led approach.
For more information about our free training, check out: antibullyingpro.com/training and for free resources, check out antibullyingpro.com/resources/