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Research in Canada has shown that up to 30% of children are bullied at school and 10 % of children are bullied on an ongoing basis. In addition, 15% of Canadian children in grades 1 to 8 report they have been bullied and 85% of bullying happens in front of others. Adults experience forms of bullying as well, yet they have a greater ability to identify and counter act bullying behaviour. It is important that children learn how to build healthy relationships and to deal with bullying before they become bullies or victims themselves.

Bullying is a deliberate and aggressive action that is done on purpose to harm another person. In most cases of bullying there are three people involved: the bully, the one being bullied and the individuals who stand by and watch. By bullying, one person has more power or strength over another. It is done more than once and it is not wanted by the child being bullied.

Bullying can include behaviours such as threatening, spreading rumours, name calling, excluding others, rude gestures, punching, kicking and hitting.

Types of Bullying:

  • Physical-hitting or punching.
  • Verbal-teasing or name calling.
  • Emotional-rumours or using the threatening gestures.
  • Social-excluding a person on purpose, purposely embarrassing a person.
  • Cyber-sending threats or insults by e-mail or text messaging.

Verbal bullying is the most common form of bullying for both boys and girls. Boys are more likely to be involved in physical bullying. Girls are more likely to be involved in emotional and/or social bullying.

Some of the results that bullying can have on a child:

  • Low self-esteem and feeling bad about themselves.
  • Sadness or depression.
  • Shyness.
  • Physical complaints like headaches, stomach aches, and trouble sleeping.
  • Academic problems/difficulties.
  • Social isolation.
  • Becoming aggressive and unreasonable.
  • Threatening or attempting suicide.

The first line of defence against bullying is making everyone aware of the problem. Schools need to take a comprehensive approach to dealing with this problem. The community needs to increase awareness of this issue to help deal with it. See for a community wide anti-bullying initiative.

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