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What Teens Can Do

Bullying stops us from being who we want to be, and prevents us from expressing ourselves freely, and might even make us feel unsafe. If you are bullied, say something! If you are bullying, it’s not cool!

I might be being bullied

  • SPEAK UP: If you feel uncomfortable with the comments or actions of someone… tell someone! It is better to let a trusted adult know, than to let the problem continue.
  • Get familiar with what bullying is and what it is not. If you recognize any of the descriptions, you should stay calm, stay respectful, and tell an adult as soon as possible.
  • If you feel like you are at risk of harming yourself or others get help now!

Someone is bullying me online or via text message

  • Remember, bullying does not only happen at school. It can happen anywhere, including through texting, the internet and social media.
  • Learn more about cyberbullying and how to respond if it is happening to you.

I don’t get bullied, but my friend does

I want to contribute to anti-bullying initiatives in my school or community

The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention invite you to take action to make a difference in your community! By following the steps in this youth engagement toolkit, you can join other youth leaders across the country and the Federal Partners to organize a bullying prevention social and educational event.

People Make Mistakes

People make mistakes. They may say or do things without understanding the impact on others. Children and teens are in a process of developing social and emotional skills and can make mistakes sometimes. It is normal and ok to disagree with other people’s ideas or actions, but bullying people you disagree with is not ok.

“Cancel Culture”

In our culture, some people have decided to “cancel” someone when they don’t like what that person did or said. “Canceling” might simply mean blocking and unfollowing someone on social media, or include “calling out” someone by publicly shaming them. Children and teens may “cancel” peers by excluding them from activities, giving them the “silent treatment”, or publicly shaming or humiliating them in front of others or online.

Excluding or publicly shaming someone are forms of bullying. Posting negative comments about someone or humiliating them online are forms of cyberbullying. “Canceling” people you disagree with does not help the person doing the “canceling” and the person who is being “cancelled.”  There are other more positive ways to interact with someone who has done something that upsets or impacts you.

I did something I regret and my friends cancelled me and won’t talk to me anymore. What can I do?

  • If possible, try to speak privately with each of them to offer an apology.
  • Acknowledge that what you said or did offended or hurt them.
  • Explain that you are trying to learn from your mistake and ask if they will help you understand how it made them feel.

Someone I know said something that really offended me and my friends. I want to cancel that person and call them out. What should I do?

  • If someone you know said something that hurt you, talk to them privately. Tell them how their words or actions made you feel.
  • Try to learn more about what was behind their words before judging or blaming them. Talk it out. Listen.
  • Agree together to have an open conversation and learn from each other so you can both move on from the incident without causing more harm.
  • If the person continues to be offensive, walk away and don’t engage with their behavior.

My friends want to cancel another student because of something they said, and they want me to join in. What should I do?

  • Don’t participate in public or online shaming. You don’t need to make a public comment about it.
  • Speak to your friends and explain why you don’t want to do it. For example, you could say, “I disagree with them, but I don’t want to bully anyone.” You can also encourage your friends not to do it.
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