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Bullying - Are You A Bully?

Think you might be a bully? If you are, you're probably making someone feel pretty awful and you need to stop.

How you behave online is an extension of normal life

The signs

Do you pick on anyone or push them around? Do you tease someone regularly - in person or online? Or are you part of a group where this happens? Is it possible that someone has felt bullied by you or your friends?

But it's just harmless teasing...

It's not. Bullying ruins people's lives. Nearly half of suicides of young people are the result of bullying. Many others miss out on education because they can't concentrate or they bunk off to keep away from the bullies. Even for those who survive bullying, the effects on their self-esteem, confidence and relationships with others can last for years.

And don't think that taking the mick of someone online makes it any better - virtual violence on social networking sites is just as harmful. How you behave online is an extension of how you behave in normal life. There is no excuse for picking on someone on social media cos it's not 'real life'. It is.

What to do

People can change. You are in control of who you want to be. Ask yourself why you feel the need to pick on people? Is it because someone does it to you, or has done in the past and you're angry about that? Do you make someone else look small so you can feel better about yourself? Or are you scared you'll be the one getting bullied if you're not the one dishing it out?

Have a good think to try and work out what makes you behave like this - then work to solve that problem. You'll feel much better if you deal with your issues rather than taking it out on other people and will ultimately be a much nicer person to be around.

Don't let it happen

Watching and doing nothing while someone gets bullied supports bullying. Have the courage to speak out and get help if you see it happening - it needs to be stopped. Call Childline on 0800 11 11 anonymously if you're worried and they will be able to give you more advice.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

This page was last updated on 9 Oct 2017.