From the hallways of the school to social media networks and cell phones — anywhere young people communicate is a potential gateway for bullying.

Bullying is defined as any behaviour that focuses on harassing another person repeatedly to make the other person feel belittled, powerless, or demeaned. It can take many forms like a physical kick or punch, verbal abuse like teasing or cyberbullying, which happens through technology like the internet or cell phones. Children or teens who are being bullied may show signs of depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, and aggressive behaviour.

Identifying Teen Bullying

Data cited by suggests that physical bullying is more common in young teens and especially with boys. It is fairly easy to identify if it happens in school or a public place. Girls are more likely to use verbal or emotional abuse, which is harder to see occurring. No matter the type of abuse that’s happening, it’s a hard subject to address with teens.

There are a few tips for teens that may help:

  • Seek friends, bullies may single out people who are alone.
  • Seek a supportive and kind person, either in person or online, to talk about bullying with.
  • Talk to a teacher or another adult about bullying you see or experience.

Parents of victims should stay involved with their teens’ life and let them know they’re not alone. Teens should be encouraged to speak up about bullying behaviour.

When Bullying Happens in School

Many times, bullying happens inside a school building or nearby on a playground, bus, or sporting area. There are usually other people present in many of these areas. In fact, the Canadian Red Cross estimates that 85% of bullying cases happen in front of other people.

It’s important for children and teens to be able to identify bullying and report it. When someone steps in to help, bullying usually stops in less than 10 seconds.

Tips for students who see bullying at school:

  • Tell the bully to stop only if you feel it’s safe to do so
  • Find a teacher or adult to help
  • Write an anonymous note and give it to an adult or teacher you trust

bullying comic

Bullying Moves Online

Cyberbullying is the use of technology like the Internet, social networking sites, instant messaging, and text messaging to harass or intimidate others repeatedly.

Cyberbullying can include sending mean texts or emails, creating a website to make fun of someone, social media bullying, or posting embarrassing photos. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying can be very intense because victims can be accessed by the computer and cell phone constantly, not just at school or on the bus.

Parents can help prevent cyberbullying by knowing what sites your children use and what they usually do there. Encourage children and teens to talk about any problems they encounter online. Parents can report cyberbullying to schools and, in many cases, schools are required to address it in some way.

Create a Dialogue

One of the most important things parents or teachers can do it is to talk to children and teens about what bullying is and what to do if they or someone they know is bullied. There are several bullying resources that may help including and