Bullying Statistics in Canada and What Parents Can Do to Help Their Children
Bullying is bullying, no matter where it takes place. The words, deliberate exclusion, taunts, gossip, innuendo and outright physical abuse hurt the child who is the victim of a bully. Parents, educators and other professionals need to learn just how high Canadian statistics are and what they can do to stop the harassment.
The statistics are high and only going higher. This will only have a negative effect on Canadian children and teens if they become the victims of bullies. Among children who question their sexuality, bullying statistics are three times higher than experienced by heterosexual teens, according to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
A Few Statistics on Bullying in Canada
In Canada, bullying numbers are high, according to the CIHR. Nearly 40 percent of adult males and 30 percent of adult females report bullying experiences while they were school children. Other statistics CIHR revealed in a 2012 website update:
º Among 35 countries worldwide, Canada ranks ninth for 13-year-old children who have reported being bullied.
º Seventy-three percent of bullying victims received threatening instant messages (IMs) or emails in instances of cyber bullying – one of the most common forms of bullying.
º Forty-seven percent of parents in Canada report that they were bullied as children.
º Nearly half of all adolescent Canadian students reported they have experienced recent bullying.
º In other statistics of bullying, youth who are questioning their sexuality or who identify as either two-spirited, bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans-identified or queer are bullied three times as much as heterosexual teens.
º Suicidal thinking increases in youth who have been bullied.
º Girls are much more likely to be bullied online than are boys.
º In the working world, 40 percent of Canadians report being bullied weekly.
These statistics are telling. Clearly, bullies believe they have the freedom to do or say as they please to others, regardless of how it can affect them. Because bullying of any stripe can have such a negative impact on its victims, Canada bullying statistics point up that parents, teachers, mental health specialists and government officials must come together to fight the issue.
Bullying and how it affects Canadian Youth
Bullying affects more than just the mental outlook for its victims and survivors. Healthy relationships rely on respectful interactions between participants. With children and teens, this is especially important. Yet, given the statistics on bullying, the numbers of children who experience mainly respectful, high-quality interactions is steadily going down, according to the Promoting Relationships & Eliminating Violence Network (Prevnet). Canadian youth who experience bullying find their physical and mental health affected in eight areas of their lives:
º Children who experience respectful and loving relationships are 15 to 20 percent less likely to be victimized by a bully.
º Teens who are not bullied are less likely to abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes or smoke marijuana. Looking at the numbers, teens who are not bullied are 10 percent less likely to abuse hard substances or smoke. They are 15 percent less likely to drink underage. The largest reduction is seen in marijuana usage: here, teens who are not bullied are 20 percent less likely to use cannabis.
º Children who enjoy healthy relationships with others experience injuries at a rate that is nearly 20 percent lower than that experienced by bullied youth.
º Twenty-five percent more teens say they are happy with their quality of life, especially when they have a loving relationship with their parents.
º Fighting decreases as a teens high-quality relationships with their parents and schools increases.
º Eating habits are also affected by a teen’s relationships with their peers. If the teen perceives their relationships with peers, neighbors and school friends to be beneficial, they are much more likely to make healthy food choices.
º Children and teens who experience healthy relationships with their parents have a higher level of physical health – their physical complaints are lower because they are under less emotional and mental stress.
º Finally, in the mental health arena, 38 percent more youth who say they have healthy relationships with their parents are more likely to say they are in good mental health than youth who have poor relationships with their parents. These numbers point out that the statistics about bullying can be brought down when parents and professionals act to end this behavior.
This report was made public in 2014, with findings gathered by Drs. Wendy Craig and Debra Pepler. While the study was ongoing, healthy relationships were declining, which means fewer and fewer Canadian youth and teens are experiencing healthy relationships.
Parents and teachers need to know just when a teen is being bullied. Before seeing and recognizing specific indicators, however, they need to understand just what bullying is: The bully holds – or is perceived to hold – more power than their target, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This allows them to feel free to say or do things hurtful to their victim. In addition, bullying can be one-on-one or it can be a group against one person.
º Social. Here, the bully or bullies harm their target by using the target’s friends and relatives to spread rumors. They can also convince the target’s relatives and friends to shut the target out.
º Physical. This is the most common form of bullying. The bully acts out physically against their target, shoving, hitting or punching them. The bully may also destroy the target’s belongings.
º Verbal. The bully calls their target names, puts them down and may also make threats.
º Cyberbullying. In this form of bullying, bullies attack their targets through electronic media, such as social media, email and texts. They may also attempt to destroy their target’s reputation by posting photos that depict the target doing something they find humiliating. Cyberbullying also involves using electronic forms of communication to fool the target into giving up their personal information. This information is then spread to others. With the proliferation of website creation sites online, bullies can easily create a website that is intended to embarrass or harm their target.
Facts on Bullying, Harassment and Cyberbullying
Bullying and cyberbullying are prevalent and becoming even more of an issue to victims, parents and teachers. According to the Canadian Red Cross, teachers in Canada have said that cyberbullying is the biggest issue they deal with in their classrooms. An overwhelming 89 percent view both bullying and violence as “serious” in their schools.
The bullying doesn’t develop in a vacuum. Those who bully are more likely to have low self-esteem and poor academic achievement in school. This may contribute to their decisions to single out and bully their victims. In turn, those who are bullied see their grades and academic performance drop. They lose interest in school and academic activities. To avoid the bullying and bully, the victim may also begin skipping their classes. One of the bullying statistics in Canada shows that more than 50 percent of bullying victims fail to report their experiences to their teachers – which leads to other bullying statistics: 71 percent of teachers say they have taken an active role in stepping in between a bully and victim – but only 25 percent of the students in their classrooms report that their teachers have tried to stop bullying behaviors.
How Quickly Bullying Can be Stopped
Deep down, bullies don’t like themselves. They pick on others they perceive to be weaker in an attempt to make themselves feel better. When someone they see as stronger or more authoritative, such as a teacher, steps in and tells a bully to stop, they stop almost immediately. Key in Canadian bullying statistics: The behavior stops within 10 seconds, according to The Family Resource Facilitation Program. This happens almost 60 percent of the time. Even though 85 percent of bullying incidents are carried out in front of other students and even teachers, only half of these incidents are reported to teachers or school principals.
Risks for Bullies and Bullied
Bullying has real consequences for its victims. They begin to feel as though they have no power or “voice” to speak up and protect themselves. Even if they aren’t friends with their bully, the student may feel as if they cannot get away from the relationship or bully.
A bullying victim may begin to develop emotional and physical symptoms, according to Prevnet. These include stomach problems, social anxiety, headaches and lowered self-esteem. One of the more problematic statistics on bullying points out that, mentally, bullying victims may become depressed. Bullying victims are more prone to consider killing themselves, especially when they feel they don’t have anywhere to turn to stop the bullying.
Academically, the consequences of bullying are just as high: The victim may begin to skip school and suffer from falling grades.
Another Canadian bullying statistic shows that teenagers and children who bully others fail to develop an understanding between right and wrong. Regarding matters of bullying Canada is no different from other developed countries: Bullies are at increased risk of abusing alcohol and illicit drugs. They also have problems with relationships with their peers. Interestingly, bullies may also wind up being bullied themselves.
What Steps Canadian Parents Can Take to Help Their Children
Parents can take steps to prevent their children from becoming a statistic. Prevnet points out that children whose parents help their children also help to lower an unfortunate bullying statistic Canada doesn’t want. These parents do the following:
º They listen to their children, especially when the child reports being bullied. The parents also speak up for their child to authorities.
º Parents also teach their child to speak up in their own defense, telling the bully to stop. The parents also help their child rehearse certain responses intended to make the bully stop.
º Parents who are aware of bullying and the dynamics in their child’s relationships take steps to make sure that everyone is on equal footing. The parents don’t allow anyone to be excluded. In addition, they create relationships with other parents.
º Attentive parents help their children figure out what their skills and strengths are. When a child is confident in their abilities, they are less likely to become a bullying victim.
º When a parent sees (catches) their child behaving appropriately, they point this out to the child. When the child knows their parents approve of what they are doing, they are more likely to repeat that behavior.
º These parents aren’t afraid to establish boundaries or guidelines. If their child treats another child inappropriately, they are not afraid to carry out consequences for the behavior. Every consequence chosen should teach the child that bullying is wrong. Once the discipline is over, the parents should discuss their child’s behavior with them, explaining positive interactions and encouraging their child to behave more positively with their friends.