Bullying is a form of aggression - physical, verbal or non-verbal - intended to reduce the targeted person's sense of worth, security and social acceptance. Bullying can be done by a single person or by a group of people and is particularly harmful when conducted before an audience of peers. Some forms of bullying may be crimes (such as criminal harassment and assault). Other forms are not crimes (such as name-calling and teasing).

Bullying can take place in various settings (such as schools) and use various methods (such as online through Facebook and Twitter).

Examples of bullying:

  • Hitting, kicking, pushing or shoving in order to harass, humiliate or intimidate
  • Taking another's money or possessions in order to assert power over that person
  • Making threats or acting in an intimidating way
  • Constantly teasing or calling someone names
  • Spreading hurtful rumours

Signs that someone may be a victim of bullying include:

  • S/he does not want to go to school or participate in extra-curricular activities
  • S/he is anxious or fearful
  • S/he has low self-esteem, makes negative comments about her/himself
  • S/he has headaches and stomach pains
  • S/he has lower interest and performance in school
  • S/he is losing things, asking for money, being hungry after school
  • S/he has injuries, bruising, damaged clothing, broken belongings
  • S/he is unhappy, irritable, disinterested in activities
  • S/he has trouble sleeping, nightmares, bedwetting
  • S/he is threatening to hurt her/himself or others

Lots of young people face bullying every day, but that doesn't make it right. No one asks to be bullied, and no one deserves it.

If you are a young person who is being abused or you witness someone else being abused, you can call the Kids' Help Phone free of charge at 1-800-668-6868 to speak to people who can help you. You don't need to tell them your name.

Note on Sources

Sources: Department of Justice, Abuse is Wrong booklet and the RCMP website. The Kids Help Phone website was consulted for some sections.

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