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Navigating Bullying

Bullying takes on many forms, be it face-to-face or online. These tips share insight, information, and advice for navigating bullying as a victim, a bystander, and even some resources for those who are doing the bullying.

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

Almost all of us have experienced bullying at some point in our lives, but that doesn’t always give us the full picture. Read Elora's blog to learn more about the different types of bullying and the effects it can have.

Know that you are not alone. Reach out to someone you trust (e.g. friend, teacher, counsellor or family member) and tell them you're being bullied. It might be a difficult conversation, but it's an important one to have.

Get 24/7 help at your fingertips with BullyingCanada by calling or texting 877 352-4497.

Check out David’s blog on bullying and autism where he talks about his personal experience and shares advice for being an ally.

“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” – Lady Gaga

The first Monday of October is World Day of Bullying Prevention. Educate yourself on the signs and effects of bullying, and stand up for those who can't! Your voice matters.

Stick with friends! Avoid being alone in places that make you feel unsafe - there is safety in numbers.

Stand up for yourself if it's safe to do so! Sometimes it is easier said than done, but try to be assertive and confident. Your body language can say a lot, so stand up tall and make eye contact. It can show the bully you’re not going to keep putting up with this!

If standing up for yourself didn’t work or if it’s not safe to do so, then walk away from the situation, go somewhere safe, and seek support if needed.

Seeking revenge against bullies is not a good idea. Using violence to solve problems only makes things worse and can put you in more danger.

You deserve help. If bullying is impacting you to the point where you're struggling to cope and thinking about hurting yourself, contact your local crisis service. Talk Suicide Canada has a 24/7 crisis and support line, and a text chat service from 4pm-midnight (ET).

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Read David’s blog about bullying and the law to learn about some of the different consequences and crimes that a person can be charged with for bullying.

Be an upstander! If you witness bullying and it is safe to do so, step up - let the person doing the bullying know that their behaviour is not okay and that no one deserves to be treated that way.

Distract the person doing the bullying by changing the conversation or by using humour. If you can, talk to them later in private and let them know that what they are doing is harmful! Bring support if you need it.

Refuse to join in or watch. Don't give the bully an audience - instead, help the person being bullied to get to a safe place.

Be supportive. If someone shares that they’re being bullied, hear them out or help them find a supportive listener if it’s not something you can take on.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices. It includes sending, posting, or sharing negative or harmful content about someone else. It can also involve sharing personal or private information about someone else that causes embarrassment.

“Every time you post something online, you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.” – Zoe Sugg

Check out Nathan’s blog to learn about a type of cyber bullying known as digital domestic violence.

You should feel safe and respected online. Learn about your rights when using social media by checking out our When You Click Agree Campaign.

There are many ways to alter your social media habits to make the experience safer. Check out these healthy social media tips for some ideas.

Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.

You can also report cyberbullying to the relevant social media platform so they can take action against users abusing their terms of service.

Another way to help combat the effects of bullying is to remind the person that they matter! Read Elora's interview about the Don't Give Up Movement to find inspiration and learn how to make change in your school or community.

Be Strong is a student-led anti-bullying initiative based in the US. Their website has lots of helpful resources and they have a free mobile app available for download!

Sometimes, getting bullied can leave you feeling like there’s something wrong with you. Read Leo Babauta’s blog on how to work through that feeling and help shift that false mindset. You are whole and you are enough.

Check out Ditch the Label, an international anti-bullying charity that provides resources and peer support for people who have been bullied and people who have bullied others.

Another great anti-bullying initiative called Pink Shirt Day, is based in Canada. We did an interview with them earlier this year, give it a read here!

Maybe you want to reach out for help, but have other things in addition to the bullying that you’d like to get support for. Here is a list of resources for general support.