Around 16 pupils in the UK kill themselves every year due to distress over bullying.
Their schools often say they had no idea what was going on. But the bullies know exactly what they've been doing - and so do their friends. It's too late to have regrets when someone has died, or been made so ill they need medical treatment.
Bullying can make people feel really upset and depressed
Here is what some pupils told us in just one week:
"She has taken all my friends away and I go home at night and I'm depressed and cry" - girl aged 13
"One time I wouldn't eat because of people calling me 'fat'" - boy aged 14
"Mondays were worst because I had to face the bully again and I soon got so worried it made me ill" - teenage girl
"I feel lonely and I want some advice about how to feel better about myself, going to school" - girl aged 15
"I feel like killing myself, it's that bad. I will probably end up in hospital, I have no friends and if I don't get help now I will end up a mess." - girl aged 14
"Other kids trip me up and call me names. It got so bad once that I ran away from school" - boy aged 12
"They stir things up so people don't want to be my friend. I'm depressed, annoyed, stressed and keep breaking down in tears. I feel like I'm about to fall apart" - boy aged 13
"I pray to make the bullies better people but it really upsets me because none of my friends stick up for me. They just sit there and laugh - teenage girl
You're a bully if you do any of these things to someone else:
- You call them names
- You make up stories to get them into trouble
- You tell other people not to be friends with them
- You make remarks about their culture, religion or colour
- You make remarks about their disability or medical condition
- You leave them out when you're choosing a games team
- You take away their possessions or demand money from them
- You hide their books or bag
- You send them nasty text messages or make silent calls to their phone
- You make threats about nasty things that will happen to them
- You make remarks about them liking other boys or other girls. This is called homophobic bullying
- You spread rumours about them
- You take their friends away leaving them on their own
- You hit them, kick them, trip them up or push them around
- You make remarks about their looks or weight
- You don't choose them to be your partner in class
- You tell them you're busy and then go off to enjoy yourself with other people
- You damage their property
- You make jokes about them when you can see they're upset
- You indulge in horseplay when you know they are not enjoying it
- You're going along with the crowd who are doing any of these thing
Risks you run if you bully someone else.
You run quite a few risks if you bully someone else. You could get a warning, detention, temporary or permanent exclusion (expulsion). A violent, one-off incident harming another pupil could be grounds for expulsion.
If an incident involves violence, text phone, internet abuse or demands for money then the victim and their parents should, and probably will, make a complaint to the police.
If you are over the age of criminal responsibility, which is 10 in England and Wales, you could be charged with assault or harassment. Even if the case doesn't go to court but results in a caution that could still have a serious effect on your future.
If you bully someone out of school the council or police could apply for an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO).
Bullies think that if they use false names on the internet they can get away with it but they can't. See our internet section for information about that.
Some young people have been so upset they've killed themselvesThere have been many cases where teenagers have killed themselves due to bullying and no doubt the bullies never thought this would be the consequence.
Bullying UK gets hundreds of emails a month and a surprising proportion are from secondary school pupils who say they are suicidal now or have been in the past. Some have been cutting themselves due to their distress. Others are receiving psychiatric and psychological help. Many of them are too frightened to go to school and some have been removed from school by their parents.
We also get emails from pupils suffering from eating disorders because they have been called fat when they are perfectly normal, and others from pupils with Aspergers syndrome who are teased because their condition makes it difficult to relate to other people.
Bullies also target those who are more clever, more popular and better looking than they are as well as those who stand out in any way perhaps because they wear spectacles, have red hair, dyslexia, diabetes or are just quiet and pleasant.
If you're bullying someone else do you really want to be responsible for another person having a mental breakdown and suffering unhappiness that can last a lifetime.