Bullying is a significant concern in our society. This behaviour is intended to harm another person, and it is conscious, deliberate, and willful. The goal of bullying is to hurt or scare another person, when that person has difficulty defending him or herself.

According to the Bullying Canada website, the four most common types of bullying are the following: Verbal Bullying (teasing, name-calling, spreading rumours, making threats, making unwanted sexual comments, and making negative comments about one’s race, culture, religion, gender, or sexual orientation); Physical Bullying (hitting, shoving, chasing, poking, destroying or stealing belongings, unwanted sexual touching); Social Bullying (scapegoating, excluding others from a group, using public gestures or graffiti to humiliate or put others down); and Cyber Bullying (using text messaging or the internet to intimidate, spread rumours, put down, or make fun of another person).

The effects of bullying are great – those who are bullied may feel upset, unsafe, lonely, unhappy, and have low self-esteem. Children and teens may not want to go to school and may even get sick from the stress (for example: not being able to eat, sleep, having headaches and panic attacks). Decreases in memory and concentration may occur, and feelings of depression and anxiety can also result.

One bullying myth is that it is just a part of growing up, which is untrue. This type of behaviour is not acceptable, and child bullies grow up to be adult bullies if they believe that they can get away with aggression and even violence. Another myth is that if the child tells someone, it will get worse. This is also untrue, as bullying will stop if adults and peers get involved and say something.

Research has found that 1 in 10 children have bullied others, and 1 in 7 Canadian children ages 11 to 16 have been victims of bullying (Bullying Canada Website). Most of the time, bullying stops within 10 seconds when peers intervene and speak up. In order to stop this type of behaviour, everyone needs to become involved and take action.

For more information on bullying, refer to the following websites: