Bullying 101 - What is it, and how common is it?


Experts describe bullying as intentional aggressive or unwelcome behaviour that is typically repeated over time and makes others feel uncomfortable, frightened, hurt, or humiliated. It is very common, but that doesn't make it okay. Nobody should have to tolerate bullying of any kind. Bullying doesn't just happen to children and teens. Unfortunately not everyone "grows out of bullying." It happens to adults as well. 

Bullying occurs where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between those involved. Bullies behave this way to enhance their own sense of importance, security, or popularity. They use different tactics to dominate other people. Whether direct or indirect, the behaviour and its effects are often intensified by the passive or active encouragement of by standers. 

There are different types of bullying. Some types are obvious to spot, others might be hidden, harder to identify, or disguised as something else. Bullying can happen anywhere, such as on the way to school, at home, at extracurricular activities, or online. 

Exclusion. Leaving people out of activities and making them feel alone. 

Verbal bullying. Name-calling, tontine, and making verbal threats. 

Body shaming. Using hurtful and upsetting words regarding a person's appearance, body size, or shape.

Sexual bullying. Making sexual jokes, gestures, or comments, and spreading rumours about someone. 

Physical bullying. Harming a person using a violence or force, or making mean or rude gestures. 

Cyber bullying. Bullying or trolling someone online by texts or messages. (See more on cyber bullying) 

Standing by. Seeing someone being bullied and not saying anything at the time, or afterward.

*A person doesn't have to initiate the act in order to participate in bullying. 
**Bullying may require police involvement depending on the nature and extent of the activity. 

Criminal offenses such as harassment, intimidation, mischief, identity fraud, and distribution of intimate images maybe tie two instances of bullying or cyber bullying. 

Bullying is deeply damaging and can affect every aspect of the victims life. It can disrupt their ability to sleep, enjoy activities, their learning environment, and have an impact on their physical health. Their mental health might suffer as bullying can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, feelings of anger or aggression, and depression. 

Reality of bullying among students in statistics: 

  • 58% are victims of bullying
  • 30% bully others
  • 78% have witnessed bullying, but fewer than half of those have intervened
  • 25% are bullied and bully others
  • 12% report being bullied once or more per week
  • 20% of students in grades 7 to 12 report being cyber believe at least once in the past year 

Unfortunately, only 21% of bullied students disclose the bullying to a teacher or a trusted adult.

A student may not escape The effects of bullying or find respite or relief until the cycle is broken. 

Bullies may have been victims of bullying themselves. There are also bullies who fluctuate between both roles. As a parent, you are essential in disrupting the cycle.