Did You Know Kids Skip School to Avoid Being Bullied?
Today is Pink Shirt Day. It was started in Nova Scotia in 2007 by Travis Price and David Shepherd after a ninth grader, Chuck McNeill, was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. The goal is education and awareness about bullying.
What is bullying?
Bullying is aggression where there is a power imbalance, with the bully having power over the victim.
- Physical bullying means using physical aggression or force, like hitting, against another person.
- Social/relational bullying is hurting someone by excluding them, spreading rumors, or ignoring them.
- Verbal bullying is verbally attacking someone, for example, name-calling.
- Cyberbullying means intimidating, threatening, embarrassing, excluding someone or damaging their reputation through electronic media.
- Girls bully more than boys.
- Kids in middle school get bullied the most, at 28%.
- 7 in 10 youth ages 15-17 are bullied, with sexually and gender diverse youth being most at risk with a bullying rate of 77%.
- Sexually and gender diverse youth also have the highest rate of negative mental health outcomes, with 27% considering suicide, compared to 16% who were not bullied.
- 13% of bullied cisgender and exclusively different gender attracted youth consider suicide, compared to 5% of cisgender youth attracted exclusively to a different gender.
- Kids skip school to avoid being bullied.
- Many parents allow their kids to have plastic surgery to stop being bullied.
Bullying facts and statistics
In addition to traditional bullying, kids are susceptible to cyberbullying because of access to computers and smart phones. Cyberbullying is bullying through electronic means and includes cyberstalking, harassment, impersonation, denigration, and outing. Cyberbullying is deliberate, hostile, and repeated harm that can feel even more overwhelming because a target is constantly accessible online.
Cyberbullying facts and statistics
- 2/3 of youth have faced cyberbullying.
- Three out of ten students who are bullied miss school at least once a year because of cyberbullying.
- Most cyberbullies know their victims
- Half of youth and 30% of parents have witnessed cyberbullying of someone else.
- 65% of youth would choose telling a friend over telling a parent if they were cyberbullied because they do not feel telling a parent is effective and fear having their devices taken away.
- But 75% of parents say cyber bullying stopped after they took action.
- Both cyberbullies and their victims are twice as likely to attempt suicide as their peers.
What can be done about cyberbullying?
What can kids who are being cyberbullied do?
- They should not engage with someone who is cyberbullying them and block them instead.
- Talk to someone who can help them figure out how to stop the bullying or their reaction to it.
- Tell an adult, the school, or the police or call a help line. They can contact KidsHelpPhone at 1-800-668-6868 and kidshelpphone.ca.
- Save messages, emails, and images from the person who is bullying them.
Consequences of bullying
The consequences of bullying can be serious, with a lifelong impact on both victims and perpetrators. Bullying causes physical injuries and emotional problems like depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. it can also lead to self-harm, eating disorders, and even suicide. Bullying can have life-long consequences, with bullied kids going on to be bullied adults. Children who are bullies can become abusive adults and may commit criminal offences, date violence, sexual harassment, gang violence, and spousal, child, and senior abuse.
Participating in Pink Shirt Day
You can participate in Pink Shirt Day by:
- Wearing a pink shirt on February 22
- Teaching kids to build positive relationships online and in person
- Have a pink shirt party with pink snacks and shirts and anti-bullying handouts