Bullying & Youth

Just about 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 helping field as a certified social worker in the state of N.Y., as an intensive case manager with adults in Vermont, and as a case manager in Canada;  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 though.

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. 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 smarter
  3. 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 often 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 government website in the USA & Canada.

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.



16 thoughts on “Bullying & Youth

  1. Joy Brewster says:

    I’m curious, Vikki. How does one become a ghost writer? I am also a bit confused about a few things. It was interesting to read your perspective on physicians. I was unaware of the fact that you actually see a medical doctor. It was my understanding that you availed yourself of osteopaths and naturopaths. To each his own, I guess. I am also not quite clear on why you feel compelled to write about the fact that you are a mother for almost 16 years. I am not really sure on how having a functioning uterus is relevant to the discussion. I do appreciate the information though.

    1. mswwrites says:

      One can look up the term ghost writing to find a definition. Also, one needs experience with authoring (writing) and editing books and I have this experience since I published 2 books already and have 2 more on the way for 2019. Writing is something I love and am good at and if I can help others write- why not?

      Your comment about a uterus confuses me as being a mom is not limited to one who has given birth themselves. One can be a mom who is fostering a child or children, one who adopted a child or children or one who is a legal guardian of a child or children. You are well aware of this as you have adopted two children yourself.

      Being a parent means we might see bullying or cyberbullying with our kids friends, our kids, other youth or witness it online or in the communities where we live. This is why I am part of a group of professionals looking to raise awareness on the topic. Many parents would like to see this behavior stop. To those youth it affects-it is not a fun experience. Although bullying and cyberbullying are not limited to youth only. Many adults are victims of this too-me included, and very recently actually.

      As for the health system here in Canada-one cannot get referrals to other professionals like osteopaths without seeing a GP or in the USA, the term is family doctor. One cannot get to a neurologist without a GP referral. I am followed by many professionals which are part of our healthcare system in Canada which includes: physiotherapists, osteopaths, neurologists, and other specialists. Perhaps it is different in the USA?

      And concussion affect each individual in a unique way and the symptoms one experiences are different and can be very difficult-depends on how one fell, where they hit their head, if they blacked out or not and if they admit to the symptoms versus hiding them. Many return to work when they should not or too early which makes recovery even more difficult.

  2. Joy Brewster says:

    Are you actually a social worker in Quebec? According to my research, you actually need to be fluent in French. I was unaware you spoke French that fluently. I would hope you would have better sense than to misrepresent your credentials. I would also like to point out that I would be hesitant to extol one’s abilities as an editor if one ends a sentence with a preposition. I would also hesitate to advertise a digital marketing professional who engages in the same poor grammar. Maybe you should write under a pseudonym or stick to areas where you actually have some expertise. Is there a reason you don’t write about senior citizens or people who have survived the horrors of the Holocaust? You might note I only write about my areas of expertise, and I use a pseudonym. Is critical thinking no longer taught in school? Vikki, I would suggest you stop posting this foolishness in the States. You are a US citizen. If you have forgotten the laws, I know several attorneys to whom I can offer you a referral. Please stop posting this nonsense in the States. Post whatever you choose in Canada. Please stop this irresponsible behavior in the US. Joy

    1. mswwrites says:

      Joy, as you are well aware I have a Master of Social Work degree and have over 21 years of work experience. I am a case manager, group facilitator, and author.
      Your comments reflect more on you and I think it is sad that you feel you need to comment in the way you have.

    1. mswwrites says:

      Yes, I do Joy, and have for 18 years. But before that I worked with younger adults diagnosed with Mental health conditions as an Intensive Case Manager and before that as a certified therapist with youth and families in New York state. My internships covered 1 year with youth in a community setting and 1 year with youth of both elementary and middle school age in public and alternative schools in NY state.

  3. 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. BTW-this was quite a few years ago…the teasing.

    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. Stay tuned for articles on this topic-divorce and co-parenting.

  4. 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 worked for 1.5 years as a therapist and bullying came up sometimes and my internships in graduate school were with youth so I had the experience of elementary, middle and high school kids.

      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 have a MSW-Master of Social Work degree and have worked for 21 years with children and families, adults diagnosed with mental health issues, and with seniors. I am a former 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 1999, experience has to be worth something, right?

      I have participated in workshops on bullying and cyber bullying. I am also a mom and both my kids have been teased 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.

      1. Joy Brewster says:

        Actually, a quick google check at globalnews.ca has an article on the success of the bullying efforts in the US. The title is “Reducing Bullying: Why are Americans More Successful than Canadians?”

      2. mswwrites says:

        I have actually found the states to be having issues from many colleagues, friends, and family; health insurance-too expensive or a lack of it, people without jobs, people losing their homes, all the stuff that happened last year with regards to Neo-Nazi’s, rallies, super high education for university putting people in debt and then they get out and no job in their degree or field.
        Very sad.
        Every country has issues; that is reality. One article does not make the states supreme.
        Canada has good anti-bullying campaigns, mental health campaigns, lots of support.
        Like any country though, Canada has issues, while we have socialized medicine so one can give birth to a child here and it costs nothing, but we pay a lot in taxes in exchange-15% on everything, along with high income tax taxes. We are lacking doctors in Quebec as they go to other provinces because of the French language laws and low pay. $ is spent for language police when the money could be better spent on hiring family doctors or paying for additional surgical time to reduce wait lists.
        Let’s focus on the good instead of the negative and share what is good in our provinces, states, and countries!

    3. agarwhale says:

      I think everyone can connect bullying issues to something they have experienced, or, unfortunately, been a part of, whether that be when they were a child, or a parent, or an educator. It’s important that everyone is aware of these issues and understands them, regardless of how qualified they may or may not be. Taking responsibility for these problems and learning about them doesn’t require a Master’s degree (although it does sound like the author of this article has one). I’m happy to see any articles like this that encourages awareness about this problem, which is very real for youth today. Good job with this article 🙂

  5. 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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