In order to best protect ourselves and others, we need to be aware of what constitutes appropriate behaviour, signs to look for, ways to protect ourselves and ways to take action.
Below are some tips to help us stay safe!
What is Bullying?
Bullying is any intentional aggressive behaviour that is harmful or negative. This can include gossiping, spreading rumours, shunning or exclusion. This negative behaviour creates an imbalance of power between the person who bullies and the person being victimized. The damage that can be done to the victim can be physical or internal, direct or indirect. The victim in the interaction has difficulty defending him or herself.
There are three categories of persons that can be involved in any bullying situation. These categories are: children who bully, children who are victimized and bystanders.
Depending on the context, any one child may play any of the roles that play out in a bullying situation.
Bullying is about relationships and power.
Children who bully acquire power through:
- Size, age, intelligence
- Social status
- Knowledge of another’s vulnerability (ie. Learning, family, sexual orientation, ethnicity)
What makes someone bully in the first place?
There are many factors that may cause a person to bully. These can include:
- Showing off
- Feeling of Power
- They are unhappy
Long Term Bullies
Sometimes we think that bullying only happens at school or while we are young, but it is something that can translate into our adult lives as well.
It has been shown that 60% of boys who were identified as bullies in Grades 6-9, had at least one court conviction by the age of 24.
35-40% had three or more convictions by the age of 24, compared to 10% for the control group of non-bullies.
Types of Bullying
So what is classified as bullying? Bullying can first be broken down into two categories: Direct and Indirect
Direct: This includes more physical forms of bullying and actions or words that are sent directly to the person being bullied. Boys are more prone to direct forms of bullying as it includes such forms as punching, shoving or pushing.
Indirect: When the bullying is not targeted directly to the person being bullied. An example of this would be gossiping. It has been shown that girls are more prone to this type of behaviour. This can be seen in the following statistics:
38% of girls are perpetrators, while 41% are targets
26% of boys are perpetrators, while 29% are targets
Once it has been determined whether the bullying is direct or indirect, we can look further into what exact form of bullying it is. There are four main types of bullying: physical, verbal, social, and cyber,
Physical: This is often the first image that comes to mind when we think of bullying. Physical bullying includes punching, shoving, pushing or any other behaviour where there is a physical interaction.
Verbal: Verbal bullying occurs through the use of making fun of someone, insults, derogatory remarks and threats.
Social: Includes any form of mobbing, scapegoating, excluding someone from a group or humiliating someone with public gestures.
Cyber: This is a fairly new trend, but one that is growing substantially and is just as damaging, if not more than some of the others. It is not just big bullies who cyber bully. People who are timid can hide behind their electronic devices. Through being able to perform their bullying through these devices, it makes it harder to identify the person doing them and their feelings of accountability are much less.
Cyber bullying can also mean that the person who performing the aggressive behaviour, can do so anonymously. This can lead to students being less likely to report because they feel that there is a lack of proof of the aggressor’s identity, but there is always something that can be done!
Below is a video that depicts seven examples of cyberbullying. Do you recognize any of them?
Types of Cyber Bullying:
- Identity Spoofing
- Suggestive Photos
- Sexual Solicitation
- Making a Private Photo Public
Methods of Cyber Bullying:
- Instant Messaging
- Game Sites
- Social Networking
Responding to Cyber Bullying:
STOP: Don’t try to reason or talk to someone who is bullying you
BLOCK: Use block sender to prevent the person from contacting you again
TALK: Tell a trusted adult, inform your school, use a help-line, report it to police
SAVE: Save all messages or comments posted online through a screen shot.
Signs to Look For If You Think That Someone Is Being Bullied
- Below is a list of common signs to look for:
- Increasingly withdrawn or wanting to be alone
- Significant drop in grades or eating habits
- Suddenly does not like school or makes excuses not to go
- Unexplained injuries, bruises or cuts
- Comes home from school with torn, damaged or missing clothing or books
- Uncomfortable with peers or may have no to few friends
- Has a difficult time defending himself/herself
- Constant complaint of headaches or nausea
- School work problems
- Not participating in extra-curricular activities
- Missing possessions
- Quiet, sullen, lack of concentration
- Temper tantrums
- Gets frustrated easily
- Being difficult or argumentative
- Low self-esteem
How to Protect Ourselves and Others
What you can do:
Don’t ignore it!
Any cycle of negative behaviour will not end unless someone does something to stop it. This may mean reaching out for help from people who are trained to deal with this sort of behaviour, people like your teachers, counsellors and principals.
Take a stand!
Tell bullies to stop. Do not fight back as this can create more violence and does not solve anything. You do not want to fight back, as then you may have to face consequences as well.
Leave and report to an adult!
You may think that bullies may threaten further harm if you tell someone; however, they are likely to bully you again regardless, so there is nothing to loose.
Think ahead about how to stay safe!
Understanding the ways that you can help to keep yourself safe is the first step.
Travel in numbers when playing or going to or from school!
Travelling in numbers makes you less vulnerable than travelling by yourself.
Walk, talk and look confident!
Be confident with you are and others will see that confidence!
Know that you are not alone! There are many people that care about your safety and well-being. By reporting any wrong behaviour to the appropriate people, parents, teachers, counsellors, they can make sure that children who bully are handed the consequences that match their behaviour.
District Wide Consequences
- In-school suspensions
- Under five suspensions
- Over five suspensions
- District suspensions
- If over the age of 16, students may be refused an educational program if they cannot adhere to the school rules or codes of conduct.
It Gets Better
The video below, "It Gets Better", was championed by the Surrey RCMP Youth Unit. It shares the stories of 20 adults, their stuggles and fears and how it got better for them.
To visit the YouTube page for this video, click here.
You are NOT alone. Bullying.org is dedicated to increasing the awareness of, and the problems associated with, bullying and to preventing, resolving and eliminating bullying in society.
Find materials, tips, strategies, and workshops on taking action against bullying.
Information, facts, and resources on cyberbullies.
Pink Shirt Day
Helping to provide the tools needed to stand up against bullies and step in when we see it happening.
If you (or a friend, peer or sibling) have been involved in a self/peer exploitation incident (otherwise known as “sexting”), we are here to help. This site provides you with guidance on steps you can take to get through this.
SOS Safety Magazine
Check out SOS Safety Magazine for information about bullying and the things you can do to help if you or someone you know is experiencing bullying
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