THOSE of us who have experienced bullying know how isolating it can be, and how it can have a profound impact on our lives.

We want our children to be happy and carefree for as long as possible but, sadly, sometimes it can be difficult to protect them from online and in-person bullying.

Anti-Bullying Week, co-ordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, is a reminder that preventing and responding to bullying is vital. This year’s theme, Make A Noise About Bullying, encourages us to come together to discuss what bullying means to us, how banter can turn into something hurtful and what we can do to stop bullying.

One 13-year-old girl told Childline counsellors: “My bully has been threatening to beat me up. She cornered me today and shoved my head into a wall. It gave me a nosebleed. I’m scared it’s going to get worse.”

This is from just one of more than 8,000 Childline counselling sessions from April 2022 to March 2023.

Of the incidents discussed, over 7,000 took place in-person, more than 900 online, and children mentioned both verbal and physical bullying, being bullied about being different and being left out by peers.

We must do all we can to prevent and stop bullying that may be happening to our children. Spotting signs that a child is being bullied can be difficult, but we have tips to help. If your child is being bullied, they may stop wanting to go to school or take part in normal activities, they may become withdrawn, upset or angry, suffer eating problems or outbursts that seem out of character. You may notice their belongings are lost or damaged or they have unexplained physical injuries, their schoolwork may suffer. They may even start bullying other children. With online bullying you may notice your child is spending more or less time online compared to how often they normally would.

If you think your child is being bullied, talk to your child, remind them to come to you with anything that makes them anxious. If they tell you about bullying try to be calm, don’t overwhelm them with questions and reassure them that you’re there for them.

If it’s online bullying show them how to report or block a message from someone who upsets them. It’s advisable not to take away their device as this may make them feel like it’s their fault. Instead suggest they take time away from the app and do another online activity like playing a game.

Adults can call us on 0808 800 5000. Children who are being bullied can find help at