Childhood Bullying

In Canada, studies suggest that roughly 6% of students aged 12 to 19 years, report bullying others on a weekly basis, 8% report that they are victims of bullying weekly, and 1% report that they are both victimized and bully others on a weekly basis.

Bullying in all forms (emotional, physical, cyber) occurs across the age span and often goes undetected due to the subtle nature in which it is done, and due to threats of ongoing harassment should the child disclose the perpetrator or type of assault.

Bullying statistics and surveys indicate that many more boys than girls report being victims of bullying and almost all boys named male peers as the aggressors.

In one Canadian study, 41% of all students in grades 4 to 7 reported that they were victims of bullying and/or bullied others monthly. 7% of these students said they were victims of social bullying on a weekly basis, and 2% reported that they bullied other students socially on a weekly basis. Girls are more likely than boys to bully socially and to be victims of this form of bullying.

Possible effects of bullying on children and adolescents:

  • Anxiety
  • Emotional Lability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Depression (including suicidal ideation and self-harm)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Increased aggressiveness
  • Suicide
  • Poor school performance

Intervention for Victims of Bullying:

Ensure a team approach to dealing with bullying and childhood victimization by enrolling support of caregivers and teachers/principals who can help facilitate changes.

  • Do not minimize bullying experiences reported by children. Listen to their stories and validate what they are saying. DO NOT tell children to ignore the bully and/or normalize the bullying behaviour.
  • Teach children appropriate methods for dealing with bullies and encourage assertive and safe responses to bullying.
  • Help children and adolescents to build self-esteem by encouraging them to explore hobbies or activities that interest them. Activities that involve interactions with peers with similar interests should be encouraged.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy to address symptoms of depression and/or anxiety associated with trauma of bullying.