Anti-Bullying Week: The Best Advice From YouTubers
They're just so wise.
Who do you go to to get advice – a parent, a teacher, a friend? The truth is that loads of people feel too scared to seek face-to-face help about being bullied, as it can be super-daunting telling someone else that you are being victimised. It's really hard to feel positive about getting help, ESPECIALLY if you don’t believe anyone will really be able to help or understand.
So it may not come as a surprise that a LOT of people turn to their fave YouTubers for advice instead, because YouTube is not just home to bloopers, fail mash-ups and cinnamon challenges. A lot of YouTubers really go above and beyond by talking about their own private experiences and offering their subscribers life advice.
Some YouTubers were bullied at school, but absolutely EVERY YouTuber knows about one type of bullying in particular: cyber-bullying. And, perhaps because they understand what it feels like to be victimised in the comment section of their videos, some of them have given some pretty great advice to viewers who are being bullied. Here are our faves, check it out!
1. Marcus Butler (> 4.6 million subscribers)
In a 2014 video called “How To Deal With Bullying”, Marcus gave some solid advice on what to do if you are ever victimised. In it, he talks about how he has been picked on at various points in his life, whether that was for loving gymnastics when he was younger (which unfortunately made him stop in his teens), or even for making YouTube videos (which is dumb because he’s deffo had the last laugh there).
His main point is this: there will always be people trying to tear you down for anything you do that’s a bit unusual and you should NEVER listen. It’s all about self-belief, because at the end of the day it’s your life and if you are talented at something you should pursue it and never let the haters get you down.
He also advised people who are being bullied to not react and instead to TELL someone. Because the more you keep it bottled up the more it will affect you, and getting help is the only way to change things. Reacting to bullies gives them what they want, so just try and nip it in the bud by getting someone with authority involved.
2. Oli White (>2.5 million subscribers)
In April 2014, Oli White got involved with Google’s ‘Well Versed’ project, which was working to encourage teens to share advice about the spread of online hate, and posted a video called “Internet Hate”, sharing his own insight into bullying.
Although Oli is one of YouTube’s biggest names now, back at school he was bullied because of his ears. In fact, the bullying affected him so much that he later had his ears pinned back. He’s also been cyber-bullied, and in "Internet Hate" he described how when he first started posting YouTube videos, and even now, he receives a lot of negative backlash for his channel. But he’s gotten over it. How?
Firstly, he says you need to realise that bullies bully for 3 reasons: to get a reaction, because they’re bored, or because they want attention. Basically, a lot of bullying goes on for no real reason at all, and it’s actually more about the bully than the victim. Oli says it’s best not to get angry and argue back, because it’s what they want. If you react, they win.
Instead, he advises people to come back with something funny or witty as a response – to make a joke about yourself or about what they said in a totally non-aggressive way… because they will have nothing to say back. Even though he said a year ago he would have read the comments and deleted bad ones, or even have deleted the whole video, he brushes it off now. We love it!
3. Shane Dawson (>16 million subscribers over two channels)
Shane Dawson made a video in 2010 that gets serious very quickly. It is titled “I LOVE YOU!!! (Suicide & Bullying)”, and in it Shane describes all the horrible things he went through growing up and how he almost committed suicide. But he never did, and afterwards gained huge acclaim on YouTube that enabled him to help MILLIONS of viewers with their problems.
Basically, Shane describes how he experienced pretty much all of the horrible things you could go through in life while growing up – alcoholism, abuse, drug abuse, obesity, self-harm and even homelessness. He described how while all this was going on at home, getting bullied in middle school and high school meant both home and school were his own personal hells, so that he felt he had nothing left to live for.
THEN he “found an outlet”, in the form of acting, writing skits and making videos, and suddenly he had a purpose. “That’s my advice: find what makes you feel like is your purpose... whatever you’re good at, really go with it and use that as your outlet,” he says.
So Shane advises people who are being bullied to find an outlet to pour passion and meaning into, and he also reasons, “you never know where life is going to take you”, so there is always hope that things will turn around!
4. Tyler Oakley
Tyler Oakley is probably the happiest-seeming YouTuber out there and, with more than 8 million subscribers, he probably has a reason to be pretty happy.
BUT Tyler knows what it feels like to feel unaccepted. Tyler is gay, and was bullied for it, and he’s very passionate about helping other young people who are closeted or who are being bullied because of their sexuality. He gave some brilliant advice in a Q&A in June 2015 when a viewer asked him the question “what can we do to put an end to bullying?”
His advice is ACTION. “If it’s happening in person I would say reach out for help, that’s the bravest thing you can do, and if it’s happening online mute it, block it, don’t respond, that’s what they want, report it, be done with it.”
He also posted a really moving video after the Orlando shootings in June describing how much the anti-LGBTQ+ massacre affected him. He said to his LGBTQ+ viewers, “I don’t want you to see this and feel like you live in a world where you can’t be yourself”. He also aimed it very much at any straight people who wanted to get involved in LGBTQ+ rights and wanted to DO something active about it, “if you wanna get involved, I think you should”.
Basically, Tyler is about ACTING in the face of discrimination, so if you are seeing bullying happening, Tyler would want you to step up and do something about it (see "It Gets Better", a video he made way back in 2010). God, he’s brilliant.
5. Zoella (>11.2 million subscribers)
Zoella AKA Zoe Elizabeth Sugg is one of the most successful YouTubers in Britain, and has over 11 million subscribers.
But even Zoella, actual queen of the interweb, has experienced cyber-bullying. Though she gets loads of positive comments, she says she has received every type of mean comment there is, from being called, “too skinny to be a role model” to being accused of lying about her anxiety.
“It knocks your confidence a bit,” she told Newsround in a 2014 cyber-bullying special, describing how sometimes comments would make her reluctant to post another video. She said she thinks that cyber-bullies troll comment sections because it’s really easy and, because the person they’re victimising isn’t actually there in front of them, they think they can write whatever they want and not give it a second thought.
But now Zoella only focuses on the good stuff. She concluded, “the people that care… and give you positivity are the people that really matter.”
So what can we take away from all of this YouTuber wisdom? The fact that so many massive YouTubers (who are all EXTREMELY likeable) have been on the receiving end of cyber-bullying proves that it is just NOT PERSONAL. It’s not you, it’s them – loads of internet trolls hit out at random to try and make people feel bad about themselves.
And YouTubers say the worst thing you can do is retaliate or let it affect you. So if you're being bullied in person? That's also about the bullies themselves being unhappy in some way, though it might be hard to believe.
We love our YouTubers, and think they are full of worldy knowledge, but if you are getting bullied there are loads of other great places on the internet you can turn to (told you the internet is a good place!) Check out Bullying UK’s site, or call their helpline on 0808 800 2222 if you feel you need to talk to someone about it. Childline and the NSPCC's are also great for bullying advice, so check them out or give Childline a ring on 0800 1111.