With school starting, one thing that parents should always have on their radar is the subject of bullying and whether or not their child is a victim of it.
Bullying takes on many forms. It's far more than occasional teasing or kids excluding other kids from playing games with them on the playground. Instead, bullying includes recurring incidents of harm or humiliation.
For years, schools and parents have tried to push the importance of choosing kindness over harassment - either verbal or physical - and celebrate our differences instead. Unfortunately, bullying can be motivated by many different things. For example, some kids feel the need to bully others to feel superior to others that are different, weird, or "weaker" than them. Bullying can also be motivated by racism, homophobia or transphobia, disability, etc.
As reported by a study by CBC, more than half of young people that identified as visible minorities say they've been subjected to racist names or comments. In 2019, one in four students who attended high schools in the Greater Toronto Area, say they have been called hateful names or have been subjected to comments that are homophobic or transphobic.
Other types of physical harassment include:
Bullying doesn't stop once school is over. For some students, it follows them home when they log in on social media. Cyberbullying has been increasing as a way to taunt their peers through social media platforms. Students now call out and tease their peers in video game live streams, Instagram, and TikTok videos for other classmates to see and comment on. They'll even go as far as to post humiliating videos without their consent.
37% of Canadian students stated that they had been the victims of cyberbullying - where someone has said or done mean or cruel things to them online.
Bullying can often lead to emotional, social, and academic problems, low self-esteem, anxiety, and some people may even turn to self-harm in some cases.
Here are some things to do and resources to help you and your child in case they are being bullied.
Windsor-Essex Branch Violence, Bullying and Abuse Prevention - Ontario - Canadian Red Cross
Get Support - Kids Help Phone