Bullying takes many forms. It is non-denominational and is not concerned with race, money or gender. It does not choose its victims by nationality. For as many types of bullying that can be identified, there are again as many causes. Certain people, like athletes are considered “bullying types” either because of their competitive nature or their game persona. Needless to say, awareness concerning bullying and the effects it has on its victims is causing countries across the globe to take action.
The Definition of Bullying
The basic definition of bullying is any unwanted or unsolicited attention paid in the form of physical contact, verbal expression or written form sent via a physical medium or via the internet through social media, texts or emails. The definition put forth by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police describes bullying as an imbalance of power in which one person tries to control or manipulate another person into conforming to their wishes. A bully can attack their victim in any number of ways from physical confrontation to cyber attacks that occur through the use of the internet or other electronic communication devices.
Different Types of Bullying
There are several different types of bullying. Some are more severe than others but, in any case, the results can still be long lasting and hard to overcome if the victim does not have a sufficient support system to rely on.
- Physical attacks – Physical attacks constitute of touching, hitting, slapping, kicking, shoving or pulling a person in such a way as to scare, threaten or terrorize them.
- Verbal attacks – Verbal taunts, threats, insults or attempts at humor at the expense of another person.
- Stalking – Following or stalking someone from place to place in an attempt to threaten or terrorize them at places where they would normally feel comfortable and safe.
- Cyber attacks – Cyber attacks are any type of assault or attack that is sent via the internet or through the use of a cell phone, laptop, tablet or any other electronic device in which a person can communicate with another individual.
- Social attacks – Social attacks made in front of peers in an attempt to turn other people against the victim.
No matter what form bullying takes, the results are nearly the same. Victims begin by being fearful and, without sufficient support and guidance can begin to spiral downward experiencing loss of self esteem and severe depression. The sad fact remains that the longer a person is bullied, the more likely they are to try and end their life through suicide.
Different Types of Cyber Bullying
Cyberbullying is one of the worst types of bullying. Unlike other forms of bullying where the perpetrator is somewhat visible. Cyber attacks allow the bully to remain completely anonymous. The can take on a fake identity and create fictitious accounts, hiding behind these identities for as long as they choose. Some predators have gone so far as to create an entire persona, complete with social media accounts, professional organization memberships and a host of other reputable identifiers that would make them seem perfectly real to the untrained eye.
- Emails that are sent repeatedly over a specific period of time that contain threats, offensive images or text and hate speech
- Personal attacks via social media in an attempt to slander a victim or turn others against them
- Posting false or demeaning images of another person in an attempt to humiliate them
- Creating an account in another persons’ name and then using that account to turn people against them
- Using information gained through social media accounts such as Facebook to stalk or harass someone
One of the main problems with cyberbullying is that it is much more difficult to find the predator. Law enforcement agencies will normally have to trace emails and other electronic transmissions to IP addresses or locations where public internet connections were established. Even if the police find the location the messages or posts were sent from, proving exactly who sent them can be a difficult task.
Discrimination by Gender, Sexual Preference, Race or Disability
Canada is well known for its diverse cultural population. It is often considered one of the most peaceful nations in the world. Even though that is often how people think of the Canadians, hate crimes still exist in the country. People are bullied or attacked due to their gender, sexual preference, race or disability on a regular basis. While this kind of attack is often referred to as a “hate crime”, it still fits the definition of bullying on many levels. The majority of conflicts in this area persist between Native Americans who are trying to protect vital natural resources. The expansion of the petroleum industry into untouched, natural wilderness has caused much of the conflict. The larger Canadian cities find higher instances of gay bashing and other attacks against homosexuals than the smaller, more rural areas.
Types of Bullying in Schools
Canadian school officials are well aware of the numbers concerning bullying, especially when it occurs on school grounds. Reports claim that one out of every three Canadian youth have experienced some type of bullying either in a school setting or at home. Close to 48 percent of parents with school age children have reported that their child has, at some point, been victimized by a bully. With these numbers, it is apparent to Canadian school administrators as well as law enforcement agencies that recognizing the types of bullying that occurs in school and finding ways to prevent them are both equally important to resolving the problem.
- Student to student – Student to student bullying is one of the most common forms of attacks found in any school. From competition on the athletic field to competing for grades within the classroom, bullying can be an effective tool to scare a more timid student into backing down from an educational opportunity if the perpetrator wants it badly enough.
- Student to faculty – Bullying situations that involve a student attacking a faculty member is less likely to occur with the newer, stricter guidelines that have been implemented in Canadian schools. With more people watching out for bullying behaviors, teachers have a much stronger support system than ever before.
- Faculty to student – Faculty to student bullying is often found on the playing field. Coaches who try to push their students to excel will sometimes use bullying techniques to achieve their ultimate goal. While this may result in a win or higher level of achievement, it can also create resentment between the coach and the athlete.
- Faculty to faculty – As in any workplace environment, the competition over promotions and advancement within the school system can lead to abusive behaviors. Rumors, threatening notes and attempts to discredit their competition are just a few ways faculty to faculty bullying can occur. It is estimated that 40 percent of Canadian employees are bullied in some fashion or another on a weekly basis, this includes school systems.
Raising awareness of what types of bullying are present within a school setting helps both students and teachers recognize specific behaviors. It is hoped that by focusing on the behaviors that present themselves, the cause for the bullying will be uncovered and the situation rectified helping both bully and victim to find a middle ground. In situations where violent behaviors are repeatedly the norm, removing the bully from the school until they can get the help they need is a step that is taken as a last resort.
Programs to Prevent Bullying
Schools and government agencies alike are taking a stand against bullying. In Canada, school administrators are urged to implement bullying prevention plans as well as form an in-school support system where kids who are bullied can go to report the incidents as well as get the help they need to properly address the issue. These school programs often involve parents and members of the community in an attempt to control bullying on every level. Most anti-bullying groups have found ways to support one another and present themselves on a unified front.
Canada ranks 9th out of 35 countries when it comes to the number of 13 year olds who have reported a bullying incident. The fact that these numbers are so high proves that much more needs to be done when it comes to bullying in a school environment. Many of the programs that are in place look at how both boys and girls are bullied and have attempted to address the issue from that point of view.
While boys and girls both experience varying degrees of bullying, they are attacked in different ways. Girls draw emotional attacks, sexual harassment and cyberbullying, while boys tend to be attacked physically either through fighting or physical shows of strength. This information gives educators, parents and policymakers an edge on how better to handle some of the attacks.
Canada’s www.prevnet.ca is a website that works with over one hundred combined scientific researchers and national organizations in an attempt to compile and utilize bullying statistics. While many groups tend to look at negative numbers, www.prevnet.ca adds numbers that are relative to family relationships and how they affect children. A few of the more positive statistics follows:
- Students who have positive relationship with both family and friends have decreased rates of victimization: 15 percent with parents and 20 percent with friends
- Almost 40 percent of all students who have positive relationships with their parents are much more mentally focused and are less likely to be bullied or picked on by their peers.
- 73 percent of cyberbullying victims claimed their experience involved threatening instant messages or emails where they felt they were being stalked or put at risk.
- Reports suggest that if a person steps up when menacing behavior is noticed, the attack stops in just a few seconds.
- Almost 60 percent of young Canadian men who had criminal records by the age of 24 started out by bullying other children when they were younger.
Statistics vary from country to country but there have been enough reports on a global level to cause the United Nations to take a stand on the issue. The UN along with 65 countries to help find ways to prevent bullying from becoming any more prevalent.