What is Bullying?

Bullying is any unwanted and mean behavior usually repeated over time. The bully is using their power – physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity – to control and harm you and make you feel bad.

Kinds of Bullying?

Physical is hurting a person or their stuff – kicking, hitting, pushing, poking, taking and destroying someone’s things, making rude or obscene gestures

Verbal is saying or writing mean things – gossiping and talking about another person behind their back, name calling, put downs, teasing, threatening, inappropriate sexual comments

Social is relational bullying and hurting someone’s relationships or reputation – spreading rumours, intentionally isolating or excluding someone, writing mean things about someone on social media sites.

Bullying can happen at any time and anywhere. It can also happen on social media including on Internet.

Cyber Bullying?

Cyber-bullying takes place using electronic devices including cell phones, computers, IPads and other tablets, as well as communication tools like Facebook and other social networking sites, websites and chat rooms. Cyber-bullying can include mean or harmful messages, starting rumours, creating fake profiles, posting embarrassing photos including naked pictures. Because it can happen 24/7 and messages and pictures can be posted anonymously, things often go viral quickly and large numbers of people can become involved.

Effects of Bullying

Whether bullying is done in person or through technology it can be traumatic and have really harmful impacts. Kids who are bullied are more likely to:

  • Be anxious or depressed
  • Feel embarrassed and isolated
  • Skip or miss school
  • Get poor grades
  • Have trouble sleeping and concentrating
  • Use alcohol or drugs
  • Self-harm or have thoughts of suicide
  • Have lower self-esteem & confidence
  • Drop out of things they used to love to do

Bullying Versus Conflict

Conflicts between children and youth are a normal part of growing up. Sometimes people mistake bullying for normal childhood conflict. Bullying often involves repeated instances, and often involves an imbalance of power.

People engage in bullying for lots of different reasons including that they:

  • Feel powerful and strong when they bully others
  • Want to be popular at school
  • Are scared or insecure and want to cover up those feelings
  • Are sad or unhappy and want to take it out on other people
  • Are victims themselves and someone is hurting them whether at home or at school

What Can You Do?

If you are being bullied you can:

  • Tell a trusted adult
  • Use a buddy system so that you’re not alone
  • Try to stop from reacting – count to ten or take some deep breaths – bullies like it when you cry or get angry
  • Act brave, walk away and ignore the bully
  • Talk about it with someone so that you’re not feeling alone
  • Being an active bystander is important too. Kids can help their friends by standing up to the bully and saying something
  • Helping their friend get away
  • Supporting their friend and being there for them
  • Setting an example by not being part of any kind of hurtful behaviour,  telling an adult about what’s going on 

Internet Safety Tips for Teens and Kids

  • Don’t give out or post any personal information like your name, school, phone number or address.
  • Provocative pictures can draw attention from people you don’t want in your life – Once you post something it’s there FOREVER. Future employers or schools might not like what they see.
  • Posting naked pictures, if you’re under 18, can be considered child porn and can get you in trouble. Sending pictures of someone underage is also illegal.
  • Pick a password that is hard to guess and never share it with anyone except your parents.
  • Don’t participate in unmonitored adult chat rooms.
  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone you met on the Internet without checking with your parents first. Meet the person in a public place and bring a friend along.
  • Don’t accept gifts from online friends.
  • Report suspicious online activity to www.cybertip.ca.
  • If someone makes you uncomfortable online, stop communicating with them and tell your parents.
  • Be careful where you put your webcam so you won’t give away any personal information about you or your family. Unplug or cover it when not in use.
  • Don’t download anything sent by an online friend – this might be used to gain control over your webcam.
  • Even if you think you can handle things, sometimes you get in over your head. Talk to a parent, friend or another trusted adult.

Safety on the Internet

Did you know…

  • The largest group looking at and downloading Internet porn are teens between 12-17
  • 38% of teens surveyed said their parents know little or nothing about the websites they visit
  • 71% of parents surveyed said they knew a great deal or a fair bit about websites their teens visited
  • The majority of youth said they are alone when they go online
  • 15% of teens said they have met, in person, someone they met on the Internet
  • 56% of young Canadian surveyed said they use unmonitored chat rooms
  • 20% of Grade 4 students access the Internet through their own personal computer
  • A majority of teens access the Internet on their mobile phones with some uploading photos taken on their cell phones
  • Teens that have their own computer with Internet access spend twice as much time online as those who share an Internet connected computer with their family
  • Almost 1/3 of the 50 favourite Web site listed by kids incorporate material that is violent (28%), and/or highly sexualized (32 %)(Young Canadians in a Wired World)

What is Sex Trafficking?

More than 25% of victims of sex trafficking in Canada are under the age of 18 & 1/3 of these youth are trafficked over international borders.

Sex trafficking happens when someone forces an adult or youth to participate in a sex act.  This could be pornography or prostitution in exchange for money, drugs, shelter, food or clothes.  Sometimes victims of sex trafficking are moved to different cities against their will, and lured by false promises of love, money or a better life.  Traffickers can make young people afraid to make sure they remain under their control. 


  • Physically restraining youth or restricting their freedom of movement (e.g., keeping youth under lock and key or constant surveillance)
  • Using debt bondage (e.g. making youth feel like they can’t leave until they pay a debt)
  • Isolating victims from their friends and family by constantly monitoring who they talk to and where they go
  • Taking away passports, visas, and other identification
  • Using or threatening to use violence toward the youth’s family or friends
  • Threatening to shame youth on social media
  • Telling youth that they will go to jail if they call police
  • Controlling youth’s money (e.g., holding their money for “safekeeping”)

Need Help?

Need help? Call 24/7  Kids Help Phone


Kids Help Phone

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline Website

Youth, Exploitation & the Internet

Here’s a great presentation about Internet Safety called “Youth, Exploitation & The Internet” Check it out.

Online Safety

Think About This…


Be smart about what you post on the Web and what you say to others. What you post you can’t get back.

Provocative names & pics can draw attention from people you don’t want in your life.

Sexy pictures can get you into trouble with the law. If you are underage, they may be considered child pornography, a serious crime.

Be careful what you download, even for a laugh. Some of the sexual content is illegal, even to view.

Sites with free music and videos may also include illegal pornography that can get you into trouble.

Adults who talk to you about sex online are committing crimes. Meeting for sex is also a crime. Even if you think it’s fun, harmless or romantic, is it worth getting the police involved?

Don’t play along with people on the Web that are acting badly, taking risks and being weird. Even if you think it’s harmless and feel like you can handle it, it only encourages them and may put other people in danger.

Report it when other people are acting weird and inappropriate or harassing you or others. It’s less trouble just to log off, but these people may be dangerous. Contact the site management, your service provider, the Cypertip line or even police.

Don’t let friends influence your better judgement. If you are surfing with other kids, don’t let them have you do things you ordinarily wouldn’t.

Be careful if you ever go and meet anyone you’ve gotten to know over the Internet. You may feel that you know them well but they could surprise you. Go with a friend. Tell your parents. Meet in a public place.

 Don’t harass others. People may retaliate in ways you don’t expect.

Taken from David Finkelhor, Crimes Against Research Center, University of New Hampshire, 2009

Dating Violence

Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence can be physical, sexual or emotional violence within an intimate relationship. This can also include stalking and harassment in person or through electronic devices. Sometimes you might think this is normal, especially if you see this in your own family. Research shows that boys who grow up in a household where they see their dads using violence are much more likely to use violence themselves. And girls who see their mothers being abused are more likely to become victims themselves.

Impact of Violence

As teens develop they are really influenced by their relationships. Healthy relationships can have a positive impact on a teen’s emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive and violent relationships can have long term negative effects including poor school marks, binge drinking or drug use, suicide attempts, self-harm and depression. And victims may carry the same patterns of violence into future relationships.

Warning Signs

You might be in an abusive relationship if your partner:
• Puts you down
• Acts jealous and possessive
• Criticizes your clothes, your friends, or the way you look
• Follows you around, phones or texts you all the time and demands to know where you are and who you’re with
• Tries to cut you off and isolate you from your friends and family
• Hits, pushes, shoves, slaps you or throw things at you
• Threatens to hurt you or hurt themselves if you leave
• Blames you for the abuse
• Forces you to have sex when you don’t want to
• Posts sexual pictures online without your permission

What You Can Do

Take threats seriously. It’s not a joke or a game. Talk to someone you trust. Don’t let anyone minimize your experience or tell you that it’s just what guys or girls do. Avoid being alone with your partner if you’re scared or anxious about something happening.

Look for early signs that they have to have their own way. Talk to him or her about how their behavior makes you feel. You have the right to feel safe in a relationship and do what you want with your body. If your partner can’t deal with that, try to leave the relationship.

Being possessive and humiliating you in public is not love. Tell him or her that it’s not ok. Dating abuse is often a part of a continuing pattern of behavior. If people see abusive behavior in their family or with friends, they may think it’s ok. Staying silent about what you’re experiencing will only make it continue and maybe get worse.

No Excuses

It’s never ok for someone to hit, demean, stalk or threaten you. Drugs and alcohol are just an excuse. That might increase the chance of abuse but it’s still not right. You might think it’s your fault that your partner has hurt you. They might tell you that it is. But everyone is responsible for their own behavior and nothing you did makes it ok. And if you sometimes hit your partner first, you can get help and learn how to make different choices. Talk to a school counsellor, a doctor, nurse, or someone else you trust.

Why It’s Hard To Break Up

It’s sometimes hard to walk away from a relationship even when it’s unhealthy. You might stay because –
• You love him or her and think that no one else will love you the way they do
• You’re confused – teens are new to dating and sometimes may confuse violence and possessiveness with love, especially if they grew up in an abusive household
• You believe that you can change your partner if you do the right things. But abuse usually gets worse over time without any intervention
• He or she promises to stop the abuse, are sorry and say it will never happen again
• You don’t want to believe it’s happening so deny and minimize the behavior
• You feel ashamed or believe the abuse is your fault
• You’re afraid that he or she will hurt you if you leave, or that they will hurt themselves
• You don’t want to be alone
• If you tell your parents about the abusive relationship they might restrict your independence out of concern for you

Staying Safe with Someone New

If you’re meeting someone for the first time that you don’t know well especially someone you met online there are things you can do to stay safe.
– Meet in a public place
– Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and the person’s name
– Avoid parties where there may be a lot of drugs or alcohol
– Make sure that you have a way to get home if you have to leave
– Keep your cellphone with you in case you need to call for help

Date Rape Drugs

Date rape drugs are drugs that are sometimes put into a drink to prevent someone from fighting back during a sexual assault. These drugs are usually colourless and tasteless and go by many names – roofies, circles, lunch money, cherry meth, kit kat, special k and many others. When you’re under the influence of these drugs it’s hard to:

– Think clearly, set limits and make good choices
– Tell if a situation is really dangerous
– Say no to sexual advances
– Fight back in a sexual assault
– Remember what happened – blackouts and memory loss are common

Don’t accept drinks from other people, keep your drink with you or have a friend watch it, don’t drink from punch bowls, and if you’re not sure if it’s safe dump it out.

Links & Resources

Here’s a really great site with lots of videos to help you sort out your questions about this…