Hot Topic: Bullying

Bullying has been in the news a lot in the past few years, and books, articles and movies have tried to help us better understand what happens when kids bully or are the victims of bullying. There has also been a lot of material developed for parents, teachers and other adults to help stop bullying. The Canadian organization – Promoting Relationships and Elimination Violence, or PREVNet for short – is constantly gathering and producing resources to help Canadians understand the impact of bullying on society.


PREVNet provides a number of statistics and facts about bullying in Canada. Here are few important ones:

  • The World Health Organization conducted a survey of boys and girls age 13 from around the world. Results in Canada showed that 17.8 % of boys and 11.6 % of girls bullied others 2 or more times in previous months
  • 17.8% of boys and 15.1 % of girls reported being a victim of bullying 2 or more times in previous months in the same study
  • Bullying is associated with several negative health outcomes, including headache and stomach pain, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, suicide, and poor school performance
  • One study reported that 60% of boys who bully others in elementary school had a criminal record by the age of 24 (Olweus, 1991)
  • Bullying happens at school, but it also happens in the community – anywhere that children and adolescents play, learn and live.

PREVNet highlights a number of signs and symptoms that parents, educators and other adults can watch for when a child is exhibiting bullying behaviour, or a victim of bullying. For example, children who bully others may be quick to anger, show little concern for others’ feelings, or not understand how their behaviour affects others. Children who are the victims of bullying may not want to go to school, become anxious or withdrawn, or may have trouble sleeping or nightmares.

Cyber-bullying has become a new way to bully others, and has gained attention in recent months due to a number of publicized victimizations that have led to serious consequences (e.g., 15 year-old Nova Scotia girl commits suicide, Supreme Court Facebook case). Here is a brief video about cyberbullying, featuring Dr. Debra Pepler, a psychologist and researcher at York University:

There are a number of resources available on the PREVNet website for kids, teens, and parents. In addition, other websites across Canada and internationally provide further research and resources for you to explore. See a list of some of these below:

Bully Beware – a website developed by 3 B.C. educators, providing resources, strategies and materials to help children understand and reduce bullying behaviour. – a Canadian website dedicated to bullying prevention through educational programs and resources for individuals, families and communities. This website has been called one of the best websites in the world for children. – a cyberbullying prevention website to help people better understand the internet, what cyberbullying is, and how to stop it. Digital Citizenship in Action – Microsoft provides a number of free guides and materials to help you and your family stay safe online and protect your information. This is not about bullying per se, but about keeping your information safe while on the internet.

The Bully Project – This website is by the people who made the documentary ‘Bully’ that was released on April 13th, 2011. They have a number of resources located on their website about bullying and prevention.