Childhood Bullying

Bullying refers to repetitive behaviour intended to mentally, physically or emotionally harm or isolate a person and involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. It can look different from situation to situation and range from comments, gossip and intimidation to unwanted touching and assault.

Childhood bullying is typically thought of as originating in the schoolyard but can occur in other areas of life such as in the home and in the neighbourhood with friends.

When a child is bullied they usually begin to feel lonely, sad, unsafe and afraid. They may start to think there is something wrong with them, lose their confidence and begin to withdraw from some of the activities which previously made them happy. As a result, 

According to a study, 1 in 3 Canadian adolescent students has recently reported being bullied and 47% of Canadian parents report having a child victim of bullying2. In addition to that, he rate of discrimination experienced among students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified, Two-Spirited, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) is three times higher than heterosexual youth.2


Examples of Bullying

  • spreading rumours, gossip or innuendo
  • making fun of someone's appearance, weight, speech, ability, financial situation etc.
  • following a person home from school or stalking
  • excluding or isolating someone socially
  • excluding from sports or other activities
  • threats of abuse or intimidation
  • embarrassing someone publicly
  • offensive ‘jokes’ 
  • assault
  • belittling opinions or persistently criticizing
  • attempting to ‘oust’ a person from a friend group or activity
  • tampering with a person's personal belongings 
  • ethnoculturally-based, geneder-based or sexual comments
  • sexual harrassment 


Signs a Child/Teen is Being Bullied

  • Withdrawal from family and school activities, wanting to be left alone
  • Losing money, personal items and providing explanations which do not make sense
  • Desire to drop out of school
  • Shyness
  • Stomachaches / Headaches
  • Panic Attacks
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Sleeping too much
  • Exhaustion
  • Nightmares
  • Significant drop in school performance
  • Insecurity
  • Sudden lack of trust
  • Suicide


1. Molcho M., Craig W., Due P., Pickett W., Harel-fisch Y., Overpeck, M., and HBSC Bullying Writing Group. Cross-national time trends in bullying behaviour 1994-2006: findings from Europe and North America. International Journal of Public Health. 2009, 54 (S2): 225-234
2. Bully Free Alberta – Homophobic Bullying