Bullying & Youth

Every youth and most likely any adult that uses electronics and social media will unfortunately face the newer phenomenon of cyberbullying, but we cannot forget about bullying itself.

Kid-friendly Definition: Bullying is when you keep picking on someone because you think you’re cooler, smarter, stronger or better than them.


Adult Definition: Bullying is unwanted, behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.


As an individual with a master’s in social work and having worked for the past 21 years in the field as a certified social worker and as a case manager, I must say each person should be responsible for their behaviour. Youth who are bullies quite often know what they are doing. Young youth bullies may not fully comprehend why they are behaving the way they are towards others.

One who bullies does it for a variety of reasons; self-esteem, power, potential mental health issue(s) – not diagnosed or possibly diagnosed, anger issues, and lack of support or too much support/encouragement from fellow students and friends. One can find all this information on various government websites and sites that focus specifically on bullying.

Parents, youth, educational staff, community members/adults need to learn the signs and step in way sooner than they do currently. To me it is all about awareness, learning the signs, the symptoms, and referral(s) to proper support. It also means parents and educational staff need to arm themselves with information, attend workshops and training sessions, and be on the look out for bullying behavior in youth-all ages.

There are two components in the above definitions of bullying for kids that make bullying unique.

  1. Bullying is a repetitive act that occurs over time. This differentiates bullying from aggressive acts that occur only once.
  2. Bullying involves an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim.

Of course, bullies need not be physically stronger than their victims. Instead, this imbalance of power that occurs in bullying can come from numerous sources including:

  1. Being more popular
  2. Being stronger
  3. Being smarter
  4. Having a higher social status


Support Hotlines in Canada and the USA:

1-800-668-6868 Canada Kids Help Phone.

1-800-399-PEER Peer listening line for those under 25 years old.

1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

1-800-442-HOPE National Youth Crisis Hotline for crisis intervention and school tip line for reporting weapons or homicidal remarks.

1-800-999-9999 Covenant House NineLine dealing with crisis intervention and angry feelings.

1-800-784-2433 National Hopeline connects caller to a 24-hour crisis center in their area.

I will write a weekly post on the topic and each post will provide additional information that can further describe bullying and cyberbullying along with providing resources and workshop/training information.

Let me know your thoughts or if there is something specific you would like me to cover.

I would state I am open to a discussion should one not agree with what is written above, but again please note the information was taken from a government website in the USA.

Bullying and cyberbullying are way too common and need to be reduced.

Please note adults are bullied as well, both in person and online<—–cyber bullying.

That will be my topic next week with a focus on adults and their behaviour. I myself have been harassed and stalked on social media this past fall and about 6 years ago; lately I have been harassed here on this blog and by text message, and it is not pleasant.

I know how I feel so I can only imagine how a child would feel.



9 thoughts on “Bullying & Youth

  1. Joy Brewster says:

    Since it is unethical to treat your own children, please share with us what you have done for them without betraying their confidence? I seem to recall one of them no longer chooses to live with you. An inability to think critically does not engender trust in your purported abilities. Joy

    1. mswwrites says:

      I do not treat my own children, that is not allowed, but I do talk and listen to them as any parent should. I referred them to speak to staff at the day camp and the school for the teasing that happened.

      And yes, my oldest has chosen to live with her dad full time as she does not like going back and forth and schlepping all her belongings and at age almost 16 she gets to make that decision legally. I respect her decision. This arrangement is a known fact by many, you included.

      Thanks for enlightening my readers! Perhaps I should write about the divorce process and legally what one can do.

  2. Joy Brewster says:

    As an educator in the US, a psychologist, and an expert witness in education law and behavior analysis, I would recommend treading very lightly in this area and refraining from sharing information outside of one’s practice area. Most US educators are now considered “highly qualified.” The educators with whom I associate consult peer-reviewed journals when they access information about any type of emotional difficulties, including bullying and cyberbullying. In the States, we are also very cautious about the veracity and quality of the information we use to make recommendations. Maybe that’s because we are more litigious in the States. It makes me very uneasy when I read things like this blog post. I am far from an expert in many areas. But, if one does not actually work with a certain population or do parent training or professional development for a target population, it is extremely irresponsible to post things like this. I would suggest to those of you who blithely and blindly support this kind of information without the ability to critically think , that you think very carefully before throwing your hat in the ring. I am one of the people at the end of the day that actually has to comfort and console students, family members, etc. Just the perspective of someone who has to clean up messes when others make recommendations outside of their areas of expertise. Guess what- most parents who have actually dealt with this take umbrage with comments like “outside parental knowledge” or suggestions that youth should report it. My suggestion- why don’t both of you spend some time with me in the States? Or, why don’t we actually walk down a hall in a middle school or high school in Quebec? Then, you can see firsthand how woefully and abysmally irresponsible your words and sentiments are when you see the impact it has on a child or a family. Sorry, Vikki. Please don’t ever let me see such an irresponsible post again! Joy, Vikki’s sister-in-law

    1. mswwrites says:

      Joy, you are entitled to your opinion. As a social worker, meaning a professional with a Master’s in Social Work and 21 years experience, I am well aware of the ramifications of bullying and Youth. I am in schools here in Quebec as I volunteer at both my kids schools and see what is going on.
      We are lucky here in Quebec that we have good anti-bullying campaigns and programs in place. Posters are up along with numbers one can call or text for support and further guidance.

      TELUS here in Canada has an anti-bullying campaign and Bell, also in Canada, has a campaign focused on mental health issues and awareness.

      Each of my kids schools have measures in place for the most part re: bullying and youth.

      The states is a different story as are many other countries.

      Each state in the USA has its own legislation on bullying and what that is defined as and what legally can be done. This information can be found through the government and state sites in USA.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings on the subject. I am sure because of your work and your degrees you are well versed on the topic.

    2. mswwrites says:

      For all my readers, please note I am a social worker, therapist trained in the state of N.Y. and while my certification as a therapist has lapsed as I have not lived in NY state since 1998, I have 21 years of experience as a MSW level professional.

      I have participated in workshops on bullying and cyber bullying. I am also a mom and both my kids have been teased quite a bit like most kids probably have.

      I have left the comment up as I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and thoughts. Some people unfortunately laud their degrees and certifications over others and to me it is not about degrees.

      As a parent we are often the ones that see what is going on or not. Some parents are oblivious when it comes to their kids and are clueless about bullying and cyberbullying. There are many videos and social media blog posts from parents and others about a child who was bullied to such a point they attempted suicide to get away from it or they were successful in their attempt and are no longer here-that is sad and breaks my heart.

  3. rginsberg2 says:

    Very interesting comments here. Bullying is a problem that occurs far too often and outside parental knowledge. We need to learn how to talk to our children about it, whether or not they have already experienced it. As said, forewarned is forearmed.

    1. mswwrites says:

      Totally agree Rea! I know of and heard of way too many youth being cyberbullied and bullied. Cyberbullying as online can be a horrific experience as photos, names, comments are written and online.
      Bullying-also horrible and youth need to report it, should step in when they see it and adults too! Too many bystanders watch and do nothing. As we say in CPG-“Be an upStander.” Stand up for a classmate or friend who is being bullied…

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