Though it is painful to admit, bullying is now far more common and readily accessible than ever before. Bullies are no longer confined to the physical realm of school or social interactions but are now able to bully from afar. With the number of cyber bullying related deaths in Canada and other countries skyrocketing, it does present ample cause for concern. There are plenty of factors to consider when thinking about bullying in any context and having the right information is the first step to stopping this atrocious occurrence. Bullying in Canada is just as common as bullying in other countries.
Bullying in the simplest of terms is any physical, emotional, or verbal attack or suggestion that makes another person feel undue stress, pain, or anxiety. Name calling, teasing, and actually beating others up all fall under this blanket category. There are several different types of bullying that are common and knowing a bit about each can help make any time when you may have to address bullying a bit easier. Though any simple bullying definition is far from simple, having a relatable place to start is very helpful.
This is perhaps the oldest and most violent form of bullying. Rather than calling someone a name, a physical bully seeks to cause physical and emotional pain. Often, this type of bullying is paired with emotional bullying and offers the bully a sense of power and control that they may lack in their own lives. Those that seek to inflict physical harm generally have a type of person that they target. They will often go for someone that is smaller, younger, weaker, and more timid than themselves. They will likely never go for someone that is older or stronger as it may result in humiliation for them. A study done by the University of British Columbia fount that one in seven children is the victim of either physical or verbal bullying.
In most cases the physical bully will start with purely emotional bullying in the form of verbal taunts and jeers and eventually graduate to physical violence. In some cases, parents and teachers can catch this behavior before it results in physical violence or bodily harm. In other cases however a bully may seek to cause physical harm to someone they have never met, never teased, and have no previous relationship to. In these cases, this type of bullying generally used to assert dominance in a school or other hierarchy. The same study mentioned above found that 25% of children in Canada aged 4th to 6th grade have been a victim of bullying.
Verbal Bullying or Emotional Bullying
This is far more common and has not died down with zero tolerance policies in schools like physical bullying may have over the years. This is a terrifying type of bullying as anyone can partake and may not even realize that they are doing it. Also, this is far more common in younger children that may not fully understand the lasting damage and issues that they are causing by doing it. In Canada, as in many areas, it is common for children and adults alike to gang up on people and harass them. Many children that partake in verbal and emotional bullying are following the lead of another person that they have seen do the same.
Much like violent video games are thought to cause violence in children, seeing one parent call another names may lead a child to think that it is ok to call other people hurtful things. This is more common than you might imagine and can cause serious mental anguish and harm if it continues over a long period of time. In most cases of emotional or verbal bullying, one child will single out someone that is more timid and has a quieter personality. These bullies hardly ever single out someone that is outgoing or that seems as if they may fight back if pushed. In cases of verbal or emotional bullying there is really very little that a teacher or disciplinarian can do to stop the behavior save for detention and other in school punishments. The study done by the University of British Columbia also found that students that were bullied are more likely to experience depression in adulthood.
This is by far the type of bullying that has the longest lasting effects. Though physical bullying can leave scars and physical pain, this pain often fades with time as you get further away from the abuse. Unlike physical bullying however, many people that have been called names or that have been verbally bullied will remember the taunts and jeers for years to come which can cause serious issue in later adolescent life and even into adult hood. What may seem like a harmless taunt may in fact lead to a life time fear or issue that a person has with themselves that ultimately leads them to hold back.
As children, our lives are just beginning and the way we are treated and treat others during this crucial time in our lives shapes the adults that we become. In many cases, those children that decide they are going to bully another person are children of people that are or were bullies themselves.
There are a million theories as to why people decide to belittle others and harm them both physically and mentally. There are also a million reasons that are based in fact as to why they do these things. In reality, there is no one blanket thing that causes someone to become a bully but rather a large network of factors that all come together in a perfect storm to create a bully.
One widely accepted and commonly cited reason that people believe others bully is a feeling of personal inadequacy and lack of power and control in their own lives. Many therapists and psychologist alike agree that someone that bullies another individual is seeking to gain control and power in their own lives. In a recent study done by the University of British Columbia in Canada it was found that 64% of students have been or are being bullied. The same study that we have been looking at found that 90% of Canadian parents are familiar with cyberbullying and 73% are concerned about it.
This means that over half of the student population that was surveyed had been bullied at some time or other. As shocking as this statistic is, it does show us a bit more about bullies and how they function. In most cases a victim of bullying is not chosen randomly. In most cases, a bully chooses their victim on a few different factors. Often they will choose someone that is opposite of them. Someone that has opposing views, better clothes, or someone that no one would ever mistake them for.
Another factor that helps a bully determine who they are going to victimize is the overall way that a person handles themselves. If they are headstrong and sure of themselves, they are not likely to be bullied. If they are timid and likely to be cowed down easily they are a target. More often than not a bully is going to pick someone that they do not think is going to do anything about their bullying. This will likely not be the weakest kid or someone that has a good relationship with their peers or parents but someone that is likely to take the abuse without a fight.
The last factor that helps a bully choose the person they want to victimize is often anyone that possesses characteristics that they see in themselves that they do not like or if they see characteristics that they wish to possess but do not. Bullies almost always target those that are the people they want to be or that are the people they hate. In the same study 64% of people thought that bullying was just a part of being in school, this does not have to be the case.
How to Stop Bullying In Canada, Bullying Facts
Though it may seem like bullying is an inevitable part of life that everyone is going to have to deal with sooner or later, there are ways to stop this behavior. First and foremost, though 20-50% of Canadian students surveyed thought that bullying could make you tougher, it is necessary to stamp out this practice once and for all. One way you can successfully stop bullying is to stand up when you see it. If you are for instance at school and you see someone getting bullied, stand up for them. It may lead to you also being bullied but bullies are a very unsocial people. If they see that there are more than one people that are going to stand against them, they are likely to back down.
In the same study that found that over 50% of students have been bullied, the study also found that 61-80% of students surveyed said that bullies are popular and that they can attain a high social status. If those that are being bullied band together and make it more of a social no no than it is today, we are likely going to be able to reduce the number of bullies.
More schools are now enacting the zero tolerance policies that make it not only wrong but also punishable to be a bully. With zero tolerance policies in practice in many schools across Canada and other countries, it is now more possible than ever to punish those that are bullying rather than reward them with high social status.
Bullying Quotes, Anti Bullying Quotes
There are also other ways we can help stop bullying. For anyone that has been bullied it may be helpful to look at a few quotes that have been published over the years to help those that have been victimized deal with the pain. Here are five quotes that may help.
- “When people hurt you over and over, think of them like sand paper; they may scratch and hurt you a bit, but in the end, you end up polished and they end up useless.” –Chris Colfer
- “Life is a fight, but not everyone’s a fighter. Otherwise, bullies would be an endangered species.” – Andrew Vachss
- “The common mistake that bullies make is assuming that because someone is nice that he or she is weak. Those traits have nothing to do with each other. In fact, it takes considerable strength and character to be a good person.” – Mary Elizabeth Williams
- “Bullying consists of the least competent most aggressive employee projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most competent employee and winning.” Tim Field
- “Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland
In one notable case of suicide linked to bullying, Rehtaeh Parsons attempted suicide by hanging but failed. She was then placed on life support that was later removed.
If you are still struggling with bullying and need a bit more inspiration you can always hunt down some bullying stories for more help. Odds are, no matter how bad you are having it, there is someone else that was in your shoes that can help you figure out how to deal with the pain and come out on top as the better person. Bullying does not have to break you, it does not have to change the person that you are or will become, but it does change you in a way that you must confront. If you are strong and have a support group to help you through anyone can overcome bullying and come out a better person for it.