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gossip; harassment; rumours; hurt; feelings;


What is gossip?

  • Gossip is a way of talking about someone that can lead to that person feeling unhappy or angry.
  • It's fine to talk about people and say positive stuff, but gossiping is something different.
  • Gossip is when a simple story gets passed around and changes so that someone's feelings can be hurt, or someone could get into trouble when she hasn't done anything wrong.
  • It is also when someone deliberately starts a rumour about someone to hurt that person in some way. That is called malicious gossip. Malicious [say mal-ish-us] means that someone intends to hurt.
  • It is a sly way of bullying someone.

What gossip can do

Suppose your friend told you something that was very personal and asked you not to tell anyone else. Maybe it was something about his mum and dad having words about something. Then…

  • you tell someone else
  • they tell someone else and the story starts going round
  • while the story is going round, it is changing as each person adds a bit more that may have happened
  • when the story gets back to him, it could be that everyone now thinks that your friends' parents are fighting, or even splitting up!
    • how upset and worried would your friend be if he heard that particular bit of gossip about his parents and himself?
    • how would his parents feel?
    • how would their friends and family feel?

Can you see how gossip can hurt people?

How to deal with gossip

The best way is not to gossip yourself. Think about what you are hearing.

If it is something that would embarrass or hurt the person who is being talked about, then: 

  • gossip is baaaad!say, "I don't listen to gossip," and walk away
  • don't pass on what you have heard
  • tell the person who is being gossiped about - he has a right to know
  • don't join in nasty gossip or make comments on social media
  • tell the teacher if it is happening in school.

Don't tell anyone if someone has told you something private.

The only time you would tell a secret is if it is an 'unsafe' secret, and then you would tell one of your trusted adults to help keep your friend safe.

What if the gossip is about you?

  • If someone is gossiping about you, tell that person calmly and quietly how you feel about it (it's a good idea to think about what you will say and choose a time when she is by herself).
  • Ask her how she would feel if people were gossiping about her.
  • Tell her it is an unkind thing to do.
  • Tell her that if it happens again, you will tell the teacher or your mum and dad about it.
  • Make it clear that gossipping is not OK.
  • Say you appreciate her listening to what you had to say, and that you hope she understands how you feel about gossip.

If she is the kind of person who always likes to be talking about someone else, then you may have to tell the teacher, so that she understands that you really do mean what you say.

If someone is using social media to spread gossip about you, block them and report them.

Talk to mum, or some other trusted adult - maybe your teacher or the school counsellor - if the gossip continues and you need some help dealing with it.

Gossip can be dangerous

Gossip is often a form of bullying.

  • spreading rumours about someone
  • sending texts or pictures on mobile phones
  • posting on social network sites
  • telling lies about someone to get them into trouble.

It is sad but gossip nowadays can be much easier to spread and can lead to some very sad outcomes. Many young people are being affected by nasty gossip being spread about them.

How would you feel if this was happening to you?

Some young people have been so affected by gossip that they have tried to harm themselves or even end their lives - and some have done that.

Say no to gossip!

What some kids say

  • "Gossip can be really hurtful. When you see people gossiping and they look at you it makes you feel sick." - Dimity
  • "I think gossip is not nice and it hurts. You'd have to be really selfish to spread something mean about someone else." - Ellie
  • "Gossip is not nice. 'Celebs' have to put up with us all looking at their weddings, break-ups and everything else they do. Why do we do it? How do you think they feel about it? Once most of them were everyday people. Why do we treat them differently? They should have privacy when they want it." - Megan
  • "Saying mean things about someone and spreading rumours then saying it was a joke is despicable." Kylie
  • "If you are a gossip then you will end up having no friends. Who would want to be friends with such a nasty person?" James

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim"My old primary teacher told a story about a General who sent a message, "send reinforcements we are going to advance." The message was passed from soldier to soldier until the Commander of the army got this message, "Send 44 cents, we're going to a dance!"

How different was the message that finally arrived and how would the General feel about getting money rather than the troops he needed!!

Of course, this story was only a way of showing us how gossip can change the story until it becomes nothing like what was said in the beginning. But it is something that every kid in the class remembered. Gossip is hurtful and dangerous. Don't be a gossip and don't listen to it".

Some other people who can help if you are a victim of gossip.

Did you hear?
Emily's in trouble,
She had to see the Head.
I think she hurt someone
And they may be even dead!

Someone told me…
When she is in a rage,
They have to keep her
Locked up in a cage!!

And just the other day
I saw…

What's that you say?
You're Emily??!
I've really got to go now.


As the sadness engulfs me
I feel the thought of the word sickens me.
GOSSIP has ruined my life,
Left me in strife.
I want to die
Yet I feel no pain.
In this world there is nothing left for me to gain.
The word I remember when all else is gone.
I am borne to this word again and again.
Rocking my head,
Leaving me dead.
I join my family in the grave,
I am a slave
To this.
This putrid, hatred, slyness

By Ryan
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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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