The Royal Canadian Mounted Police define bullying as a situation in which “someone purposely and repeatedly says or does hurtful things to someone else.” All types of bullying show an imbalance of power between the bully, who thinks he is superior, and the victim who begins to feel inferior even if that isn’t true. Most likely the bully suffers from low self-esteem and attempts to make himself feel better by putting down everyone else. Discover the latest cyber bullying statistics in Canada Today.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police identify cyber bullying as using “communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.” A cyber bully hides behind a computer, gaming or telephone screen as he threatens his victims. Often, he can remain anonymous or falsely identify himself. Unfortunately with advanced technology, you can never be 100 percent certain of the person on the other end of a text message, social media post or e-mail. A cyber bully may even identify himself as you when he bullies someone else.
One of the main concerns with cyber bullying is that it doesn’t stop when you are out of sight of the bully. The bullies reach their victims at work, school and at home. Unlike in years past when bullies had to be in the presence of their victims, the home is no longer a safety zone from the bully. However, with electronic advancements, the cyber bully has access to his victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A bully’s goal is to harm, intimidate and possibly endanger his victims. He uses one of the easiest forms of bullying as often people are harsher when they are not face to face with someone. The bullying may simply be telling you how awful you look, dress or smell to the extremes of threatening to meet you after school or work to harm you or steal from you.
Examples of cyber bullying include:
- Sending mean, threatening or hurtful text messages or e-mails
- Excluding victims from social gatherings or social media web-sites
- Posting unflattering or ugly photographs without permission
- Creating false personas using the victims information
- Spreading rumors or gossip through text messages
- Posting personal or private information on social media or other web-sites
- Inappropriately tagging victims in photographs
- Circulating harmful texts to keep the victim out of social circles
- Tricking victims into giving out personal information
Canadian bullying victims, who are bullied at least once a week, have a greater chance of experiencing dizziness, headaches, stomach aches, back aches and anxiety. Unfortunately, these issues can follow people into their adult lives unless treated by a mental health professional.
Statistics on cyber bullying show that bullies and their victims are more likely to use alcohol and drugs. Bullies are also more likely to participate in criminal activity. 60 percent of elementary school bullies have criminal records by the time they are 24 years old.
Other cyber bullying statistics in Canada show that victims are between 1.7 and 7.5 times more likely to feel alone, nervous, sad, sleeplessness, fatigue and helplessness. Plus, cyber bullying victims are likely to attempt or succeed at suicide. Bullying also leaves victims with low self-esteem, academic challenges, aggressive behaviors and social withdrawal.
Surprisingly, Canadian 13-year-olds have the ninth highest rate of bullying compared to 35 other countries. One in three Canadian students report being bullied recently. These students are at a risk for suicidal thoughts, regardless of the frequency of the bullying incidents. This and other cyber bullying statistics Canada-specific are alarming and need to be addressed.
These 13-year-olds are not alone. For Canadian middle-school and high-school students, between grades six and ten, 2 to 8 percent said they were bullied at least once a week with 4 to 10 percent of this group claiming to be the bullies.
The bullies should be concerned about how their behavior affects their future. Research shows that bullies are:
- Do not know the difference between right and wrong behavior
- Suffer from delinquency
- Are more apt to have a substance abuse disorder
- Have an increased school drop-out number
- Experience academic difficulties
- Feel extreme aggression
- Have difficulties when dating or in relationships
- Are often victims of bullying
Other Canadian bullying statistics include:
- 47 percent of Canadian parents have a child who has been bullied.
- 16 percent of Canadian parents report their child experiences frequent bullying.
- Girls are more likely than boys to experience cyber bullying.
- 73 percent of cyber bullying victims report receiving threatening or aggressive texts, e-mails or instant messages.
- Cyber bullying is the number one type of low-level violence that occurs in schools.
- Between 6 and 8 percent of victims avoid school due to bullying.
- Canadians aged 18 and over show 7 percent of these adults to have been cyber bullying victims.
- Victims who are not heterosexual are three times as likely to be bullied than their heterosexual counterparts.
- Victims have difficulties concentrating on school work and are more likely to drop out of school.
- Kids Help Phone’s 2007 survey of 2,474 students aged 13 to 15, in which 70 percent of those surveyed said they were cyber bullied. 44 percent said they had been a cyber bully.
- The results from a 2010 research project focused on Toronto Junior High and High Schools, “Cyber Bullying Behaviors Among Middle and High School Students,” in which 49 ½ percent said they were cyber bullied and most did not report the bullying.
- In 2008, the Canadian Teachers Federation reported that 34 percent of Canadians knew a student who had been the victim of cyber bullying.
- One in five Canadians acknowledged that teachers were being cyber bullied.
- Approximately one in ten Canadians knows someone who has been the victim of a cyber bully.
Unfortunately, as cyber bullying statistics grow, so does human nature’s protective response. According to research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for Canada, those who have access to the internet and electronic communications are often unable to tell the difference between cyber bullying, harassment and harmless jokes or teasing. Many teens do not think that cyber bullying is a big deal.
The cyber bullying statistics do not only apply to school-aged children, although that is where a lot of law enforcement concentration exists. Canadian schools are designed to be safe learning environments and when that safety is jeopardized, laws against cyber bullying are enforced. Regardless of school policies, laws and social customs, the cyber bullying statistics are not reducing, which indicates that bullies are efficient at hiding their behavior and/or their identities.
When adult males and females were asked about their school years, a report released in 2007 show that 38 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported being the victims of bullying. The bullying did not stop when these people left the school yard. Workplace cyber bullying continues to occur and in the Canadian workplace, 40 percent of employees report being bullied on a weekly basis.
Cyber bullying can be considered an illegal act. Especially if the bullying involves threats, physical harm, repeated tormenting or harassment, distributing sexual or nude photographs, and bullying that involves a hate crime such as those based on faith, race or ethnicity. All bullying needs to be reported to local law enforcement immediately, especially if you’re experiencing a life-threatening situation.
If you suspect your child is the victim of cyber bullying, pay attention to any warning signs such as:
- Social withdrawal
- Academic failings
- Lack of interest in previously engaging activities
- Avoidance of electronic communication- this is a key and is a huge sign of cyber bullying
Stop the Bullying
According to the Canadian Red Cross, 85 percent of bullying occurs in the presence of others. This may not be the same for cyber bullying, but most people receive texts and e-mails on their smart phones and are typically around friends, family or co-workers.
If you are in the presence of someone being cyber bullied step in to stop the bullying. 60 percent of the time, bullies will stop their behavior in 10 seconds if someone calls them out on it.
If you or someone you know is the victim of cyber bullying, collect the facts. Save or screen shot any and all communication from the bully. Do not respond to any texts or e-mails. Most of the time when a bully does not get a response, he stops the behavior. Do not forward or repeat any of the bully’s messages. Keep a record of all communication and contact your internet or phone service provider to stop contact from the bully. If the situation escalates or the bully does not stop his intimidating and harassing behavior, seek the advice from your local law enforcement. Contact web-site authorities for removal of harmful videos or photographs. Review your school’s bullying policy if the bully is a classmate. Talk with your human resource department if you are being cyber bullied by a co-worker.
While you cannot tell if a friend or acquaintance will turn into a cyber bully, you can avoid giving out your personal information to strangers or anonymous, online acquaintances. Do not friend anyone on social media sites who make you feel uncomfortable, or insecure. Also, teach your children to avoid posting their personal information such as their phone number or address.
The easiest way to avoid cyber bullying is to avoid contact with the bully. If he contacts you through text message, ask your carrier to block his number. If he reaches you through e-mails, block his contact information. If he reaches out through microphones on gaming systems, avoid using the microphone and delete him from your contacts. If he continues to seek you out, go to a law enforcement officer with your facts and let the officer deal with the situation.
Cyber bullying is not something to deal with on your own. It is illegal and harmful and results in punishments. Hopefully, with stricter punishments, Canadians can avoid situations like that of Amanda Todd, who was the victim of a two-year cyber-bullying attack. The young girl suffered years of torment, which led to drug and alcohol use and eventually the taking of her own life.