A kid is bullied every 20 seconds in Canada. Thousands of children, miss school every day because they are afraid.
So….What is Bullying?
Bullying is a form of repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause or should be known to cause fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.
When a spouse hits another spouse, we call it spousal abuse. When a bully targets a victim, another way to think of it, is peer abuse. The Hamilton Police Service, and the School Boards take bullying very seriously.
Bullying may include the following, but is not limited to this list:
- Unwanted teasing
- Social exclusion
- Physical violence
- Public humiliation
- Sexual, religious, or racial/ethnic harassment
- Damaging or destruction of property
- Placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or property
Types of Bullying
You may remember the days where bullying typically meant physical contact: school yard fighting.
Today, there are many forms of bullying that are defined to victimize a person.
Usually involves name calling, incessant mocking, and laughing at a person’s expense
Pushing, kicking, punching, and throwing
When technology is used such as: E-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms and cell phones to target victims
Silent treatment, rumour spreading, social isolation, exclusion, manipulation of friendships.
Sexually abusive or inappropriate comment, unwanted physical contact.
Racial slurs, offensive gestures, or making jokes about cultural tradition
- Target people different from themselves, seek to exploit differences
- Choose victims unlikely to retaliate
- Target physical differences (acne, obesity, facial features)
- Target children who behave differently or learn at different pace
- Children often insecure, socially isolated, anxious, low self-esteem
- Males tend to bully those they perceive weaker
- Females tend to bully those who threaten their social status
- Parents of children who are bullied are often overprotective or enmeshed with their children
- Children who are bullied perceive parent or teacher intervention to be ineffective and are unlikely to report the problem
The Four Markers of Bullying
- An imbalance of power
- Intent to harm
- Threat to further aggression
- When the bulling escalates, unabated terror
Bulling it not about anger, or even about conflict.
It is about contempt – a powerful feeling of dislike toward someone considered to be worthless, inferior or undeserving of respect. Contempt comes with three apparent psychological advantages that allow kids to hurt others without feeling empathy, compassion or shame:
- A sense of entitlement – the right to control, dominate, overpower and abuse another person
- An intolerance toward others
- A liberty to exclude – to bar, isolate, and segregate a person deemed not worth of respect or care.
Is Your Child Being Bullied?
Bullying can lead to serious consequences and victims may suffer physical or mental harm. Parents in particular, should pay attention to signs or hints that their child is being victimized.
Signs of Bullying
- Unhappy or frightened
- Feeling unsafe
- Loss of confidence
- Reluctance to go to school
- Declining grades
- Stomach aches
- Exhaustion/trouble sleeping
- Sleeping too much
- Feeling lonely
- Panic attacks
- Thoughts of suicide or violent behaviour
Children who are bullied often experience low-self esteem and depression even into adulthood.
Children who are bullied perceive school as an unsafe place and are likely to miss more days of school than their peers. As a result, their education is negatively affected.
Those who are bullied online feel many of the same effects as those who are bullied elsewhere.
The list is not exhaustive of all signs and symptoms, and though a child may demonstrate one of more of these symptoms does not mean they are victims of bullying. The symptoms may relate to another medical issue and should be canvassed with a doctor.
What to Tell Your Child - “STOP, TALK and WALK”
- Tell the bully to STOP; be confident
- WALK away
- Never get physical or bully back
- Seek HELP from a trusted school adult
- Develop friendships
- Avoid locations where a bully loiters
What a Parent Should Do
- If it is repeated, make a report with principal/administration immediately
- Ask for and accept school help whether your child is a target, bully, or bystander
- Contact the police at your discretion for help or advice
- Know the school rules, expected behaviours and consequences of bullying/harassment
- Participate at school, offer services and attend school-sponsored activities
- Communicate regularly with teachers
Please note that every school is assigned a School Liaison Officer by the Hamilton Police Service.
Bullying Fact Sheet (282 KB)
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