Crime Prevention & Safety for Individuals : Safety for Children & Teens: Bullying - Age 8-10 | Bullying - Age 11-18 | Bullying - Advice for Parents
BULLYING – AGE 11 to 18
Getting picked on seems to be part of growing up. But some people cross the line between harmless teasing and joking with friends, to hurtful, repeated harassment and worse.
By the time you reach high school, you have certainly seen bullying and may have even experienced it yourself. Maybe you were excluded from certain groups or activities, maybe someone tried to shove you in a locker, maybe a boy read your private love note to all of his friends.
People who are considered "different" are often targets of bullies, ranging from a boy who may be small for his age, to a girl with a different skin colour, to a student who may choose not to do drugs, to someone who is, or is believed to be, homosexual.
But, who gets to decide what is "different" and why is "different" a bad thing? You may not be bullied today, but what if someone decides you’re "different" tomorrow?
Types of Bullying
Social bullying is very common, especially with girls. Gossiping, spreading rumours, excluding people and trying to make others look laughable are all examples.
Hitting, slapping, kicking, shoving, spitting and punching would all be considered physical bullying, but so would stealing or destroying someone else’s belongings.
Verbal bullying includes insults, name-calling, threats and sexist, racist or homophobic comments.
The most common form of bullying these days is cyber bullying, and includes cruel emails and texts, posting embarrassing and sometimes altered photos online, creating websites to mock others and pretending to be someone you are not to get them in trouble or ruin their reputation.
Relationship bullying is making fun of or insulting your boyfriend / girlfriend, forcing them to do things they don’t want to do and sharing private or personal information with others.
Sexual harassment makes you feel uncomfortable about your body or sexuality and can include uninvited and/or unwanted touching, sexual comments, homophobia, spreading rumours about someone’s sexual reputation or forcing someone into an intimate act, like kissing or touching.
What can I do if I’m being bullied?
- walk away and get to a safe place
- tell a trusted adult – your parent, teacher, principal, school liaison officer or counsellor
- keep track of the bullying – write down dates and any witnesses
- if you are being bullied online, don’t delete anything – take a screenshot if it is on someone else’s Facebook page or other social media that you have no control over
- if you’re being bullied via text messaging, don’t reply or respond to the messages and report the abusive text to the service provider for your phone or electronic device; if the text messages are threatening in any way, save the message and contact your local police agency to report them
- report online bullying to the social media site - block the person responsible
YouTube - Safety Centre
Instagram – block a user or report something
Tumblr – how to “ignore” (block) someone
There are three important things to remember if you are a victim of bullying:
- you are not alone
- it is not your fault
- it can be stopped
What can I do if I witness someone being bullied?
If you are the one feeling sick to your stomach when you see a group of boys picking on another boy or when someone is the victim of a cruel prank, chances are you are not the only one. Often, it takes just one person to step in and say something. Not only are the people standing by and watching giving the bully the attention he desires, but they are adding to the victim’s humiliation and, in effect, contributing to the bullying.
It can be difficult to step up and say something. If you feel you may be in danger if you speak up, you should leave and get help. If you are concerned the bully may target you, you can ask to remain anonymous. You can now report bullying online anonymously.
Talk to the victim and encourage them to seek help – let them know you will back them up.
No one deserves to be bullied. You can do something about it.
Bullying and the Law
Even though bullying can be a traumatic experience for the victim, it isn’t always a crime. But some kinds of bullying should definitely be reported to police.
- If someone threatens you, it is a crime. Whether it’s done face to face, over the phone or through text messaging, call the police.
- If someone assaults you – including pushing, tripping, slapping, hitting or spitting – you need to call the police.
- If your things, like your backpack, books, electronic devices, etc., are being taken, it is a crime. Call the police.
- Harassment is also a crime. If someone is repeatedly tormenting you with texts, phone calls and/or email, call the police.
- If someone shares video or photos of crimes being committed, such as assault, they can be charged. Sharing video or photos with nudity of people under 18 can also result in charges. Call the police.
- If someone is bullying you because of your ethnicity or your sexuality, it is considered a hate crime. Call the police.