Bully Free Alberta


What is bullying ?
What are the effects of bullying ?
Bullying can have an effect on learning
Bullying can lead to more serious concerns
Why do some kids bully ?
How common is bullying ?

What is bullying?

Many teens have a good idea of what bullying is because they see it every day! Bullying happens when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose and the person being bullied has a hard time defending themselves. So, everyone needs to get involved to help stop it.

Have you ever been bullied? Have you bullied anyone else? Bullying is wrong! It is behaviour that makes the person being bullied feel afraid or uncomfortable. There are many ways that young people bully each other, even if they don't realize it at the time. Some of these include:

  • Punching, shoving and other acts that hurt people physically

  • Spreading bad rumours about people

  • Keeping certain people out of a group

  • Teasing people in a mean way

  • Getting certain people to "gang up" on others


The four most common types of bullying are:

Verbal bullying -- name-calling, sarcasm, teasing, spreading rumours, threatening, making negative references to one's culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, unwanted sexual comments.

Social Bullying - mobbing, scapegoating, excluding others from a group, humiliating others with public gestures or graffiti intended to put others down.

Physical Bullying - hitting, poking, pinching, chasing, shoving, coercing, destroying or stealing belongings, unwanted sexual touching.

Cyber Bullying (link to cyber bullying) - using the Internet or text messaging to intimidate, put-down, spread rumours or make fun of someone.



What are the effects of bullying?

Some people think bullying is just part of growing up and a way for young people to learn to stick up for themselves. But bullying makes people upset. It can make you feel lonely, unhappy and frightened. It can make you feel unsafe and think there must be something wrong with you. You lose confidence and may not want to go to school anymore. It may even make you sick.

Bullying can have long-term physical and psychological consequences. Some of these include:

Withdrawal from family and school activities, wanting to be left alone.

  • Shyness

  • Stomachaches

  • Headaches

  • Panic Attacks

  • Not being able to sleep

  • Sleeping too much

  • Being exhausted

  • Nightmares


If bullying isn't stopped, it also hurts the bystanders, as well as the person who bullies others. Bystanders are afraid they could be the next victim so even if they feel badly for the person being bullied, they avoid getting involved in order to protect themselves.

Teens who learn they can get away with violence and aggression continue to do so in adulthood. They have a higher chance of getting involved in dating aggression, sexual harassment and criminal behaviour later in life.



Bullying can have an effect on learning.

Stress and anxiety caused by bullying and harassment can make it more difficult for teens to learn. It can cause difficulty in concentration and decrease your ability to focus, which affects your ability to remember things you have learned.



Bullying can lead to more serious concerns.

Bullying is painful and humiliating, and teens who are bullied feel embarrassed, battered and shamed. But if the pain is not relieved, bullying can even lead to considering suicide or violent behaviour.



Why do some kids bully?

Bullying is a learned behaviour, and there are lots of reasons why some people choose to bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge. Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying. Many bullies have low self-concept and seem to have a need to feel powerful and in control of others. Some bullies do it to get attention or things, or just to make other people afraid of them. Some bullies may not even understand how wrong their behaviour is and how it makes others feel. They may be being bullied themselves.



How common is bullying?

Bullying is very common. In a 2004 study, researchers found that about one in seven Canadian children aged 11 to 16 are victims of bullying. Research estimates indicate that the problem affects far more students than teachers or parents are aware of. Most students who are bullied either do not report the bullying to adults, or they wait a very long time before doing so. The reasons include feelings of shame, fear of retaliation for reporting, and fear that adults cannot or will not protect them in the settings where bullying usually takes place: the playground, the hallway of the school, or on the way to and from school.




Call the Bullying Helpline 1-888-456-2323 toll-free in Alberta, anytime.
Trained staff are available to help in more than 170 languages.

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