Bullying is not a new phenomenon; it happens in schools, on the Internet, in parks and virtually anywhere children and teenagers spend time. What was once tolerated and considered a ‘natural part’ of growing up is now being taken much more seriously. Researchers have been studying bullying and its impact; one recent study by CAMH reports a steady 34% rate of bullying and psychological distress in children in grade 7 to 12 in Ontario since 1999, however, the rate of bullying in girls has increased by 7% to 43% while the rate in boys has lowered.
We may question whether bullying is on the rise or whether there is less tolerance, more awareness and attention to its occurrence. Regardless, it is no longer condoned nor is it dismissed as behaviour expected in the socialization and development of children and teens. Bullying is now openly discussed and addressed in the media. Last march, the documentary movie, “Bully”, was released depicting several American teens who face bullying on a regular basis, as well as the toll it takes on them and their families. “Bully” also focuses on the tragic stories of two U.S. youngsters who eventually took their own lives after being bullied.
We now know that bullying negatively affects a child’s self-esteem and social development, and may even lead to suicide. As parents, it is important to recognize the signs and support our children and teens so that they may grow into well-adjusted, socially confident adults.
Please join us for Part 2 of this series on bullying to learn more about how to recognize if your child is a victim of bullying.