Bullying: What’s the Score?
Canadian teachers ranked cyberbullying as their highest concern out of six listed options – bullying and violence are serious problems in public schools.
What exactly is bullying?
Bullying occurs when there is an imbalance of power – someone purposely and repeatedly does or says hurtful things to someone else. Bullying can occur between two individuals or in a group. Here are the different forms of bullying:
*Physical – using one’s body or objects to cause harm; includes punching, hitting, spitting, kicking or breaking someone else’s belongings
*Verbal – using words to hurt someone; includes putdowns, threats, name-calling and teasing
*Social – using friends and other relationships to hurt others; includes gossiping, spreading rumours, excluding others from a group and making others look unintelligent or foolish
This bullying involves the use of technology – the Internet, websites, social networking sites, emails, instant messaging and text messaging to intimidate or harass others repeatedly. This includes:
*Posting embarrassing photos of someone online.
*Sending threatening or mean emails or instant/text messages.
*Creating a website to ridicule others.
*Pretending to be someone else by using his or her name.
*Tricking someone into revealing embarrassing or personal information and sending it to others.
Cyberbullying affects its victims in different ways than traditional bullying. It can follow a victim anywhere, anytime.
The Impacts of Bullying
Over time, those who bully or are bullied find their own ways of dealing with it. Some victims or bullies may become depressed and may also begin to withdraw socially, while some react aggressively and turn to violence.
Here are the dangers for children and adolescents who are being bullied:
*Social anxiety – isolation/loneliness
*Stress-related health problems – stomach/headaches
*School absenteeism/academic problems
*Suicide – contemplating, attempting or committing
Here are the dangers for children and adolescents who bully others:
*Delinquency and substance use
*Academic problems/increased school dropout rate
*Not knowing the difference between what’s right and wrong
*Dating aggression/sexual harassment
*Gang involvement/criminal adulthood
*Difficulties in building relationships with others
*Being bullied by others
Bullying and the Law
Bullying can be a traumatic experience. Some forms can even be considered illegal such as:
*Criminal Harassment – repeated tormenting online (with texts, emails and/or phone calls) causing others to fear for their safety
*Threats of serious bodily harm or death – this can be done face-to-face, over the phone or online
*Assaults – includes pushing, slapping, tripping, spitting or hitting
*Distribution of private images without consent – sharing sexual or naked photos of another person without their consent
All criminal offences should be reported to your local police or you may report it to CYBERTIP.CA. The police will then decide if an investigation is warranted and whether charges may be laid. You can also contact us at 1.855.905.9222 if you need representation for assault.