Bullying (ages 12 to 17)

A changing spectrum

As children get older, the type and range of bullying behaviour increases. While physical, psychological and social bullying happen among children as young as four, other bullying behaviour emerges as children move toward adolescence. For example, sexual harassment and dating aggression typically begin in middle school. No matter what form it takes, bullying is not a normal part of growing up.

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Some common forms of bullying in adolescents and teens

Dating aggression, which includes physical or verbal actions including grabbing, pushing, punching, spreading rumours and name-calling.

Sexual harassment, which occurs when a person or group hurts another person by taunting or discussing sensitive sexual issues, creating sexual rumours or messages, making homophobic comments, rating sexual body parts or name-calling, telling sexual jokes, and initiating unwanted sexual touching.

Ethnoculturally based bullying, which includes any physical or verbal behaviour used to hurt another person because of his or her ethnicity (culture, colour, religion).

 

Advice for teens

Although situations concerning bullying often differ and vary depending on the incident, some common guidelines for teens to follow are:

  • Ignore the bully - Bullies look for big reactions, so ignore threats, walk away and go to a place of safety.
  • Stand up for yourself - Challenge the bully to stop in a loud and firm voice, and walk away (run if needed). Bullies keep attacking if you do what they say and tend to pick on those who do not stand up for themselves.
  • Don't bully back - Physically fighting back satisfies the bully and is dangerous because you could get hurt or end up in trouble.
  • Tell an adult - Anyone being bullied or who sees someone being bullied has to tell an adult. Principals, teachers, parents and lunchroom monitors can all help. It's not tattling, ratting or snitching: calling out a bully isn't telling on someone for something small - bullying is wrong and it helps everyone if it is stopped.
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