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November 2013 Newsletter

TEENAGE BULLYING

Unfortunately teen age intimidation is prevalent in society today and can lead to undesirable outcomes such as drug and alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, social /family withdrawal, anxiety, insecurity, loneliness, depression, difficulty sleeping, thoughts of suicide and suicide.

Kids who bully usually pick on someone who is weaker or more alone.  Bullying starts in elementary school, becomes more common in middle school and is less common but still occurs in high school.

Girls who bully are more likely to do so in emotional ways while boys who bully often do so in both emotional and physical ways.

Bullying tends to fall into four main categories:

Physical – punching, kicking, pushing, tripping and forced confinement

Relational – social exclusion, spreading rumours, gossip and sending nasty notes

Verbal – name-calling, verbal intimidation, mocking and insulting

Electronic (Cyber Bullying) – similar to Relational and Verbal abuse but occurs online, sending false e-mails using the victim’s name and forwarding private e-mails, pictures or information

Bullying occurs repeatedly, is intended to do physical or emotional harm and creates a power difference between the aggressor and the victim.

Homophobic bullying (intimidation based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity) is three times higher than heterosexual bullying.  Reportedly 24% of victims receive lower grades, 27% miss school frequently, 55% suffer depression and 35% consider suicide.​

Canadian statistics on bullying are:

Canada has the 9th highest rate of bullying in 13 year olds (out of 35 countries).

At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied.

38% of males and 30% of females report having experienced some form of bullying during their school years.

47% of Canadian parents  report having a child the victim of bullying.

Girls are more likely to be bullied on the internet versus boys.

Teens in grades 6 to 10 are the most likely victims.

Governments across North America have implemented so called ‘safe schools’ legislation in recognition of the need for schools to be free of violence and fear so that students can focus on learning.  Canada has attempted to put practices in place in schools with mixed results.  While it appears there is a reduction in the frequency with which bullying is witnessed and reported, it is believed that the aggressors are changing their tactics to avoid detection.

To sum up, no one deserves to be bullied.  Schools, communities, families and teenagers need to take a stand against bullying.  Bullying should never be accepted as normal behavior and should be reported immediately.

More tips on protecting teenagers from bullying can be found online from the Canadian Council on Learning and also through Employee Family Assistance Programs which may be available through work.