– brought to you the BC RCMP
Youth is one of the RCMP’s five strategic priorities. It is our objective to reduce youth involvement in crime, both as victims and offenders as well as to focus on risk factors such as bullying. The RCMP in “E” Division through its National Youth Officer Program, provides services to approximately 1,600 schools in British Columbia. Bullying probably ranks second, behind substance abuse, for youth issues identified as concerns by our detachments.
The RCMP has school resource officers who are continually promoting how youth can protect themselves against bullying. These are some of the messages they share with youth, schools and parents:
- Youth, parents, school administrators and the law enforcement community all have a role to play to ensure the safety of students in schools.
- It’s important to remind everyone to do what they can to keep their schools bully free and to report any acts of bullying or assist those who are victims of bullying.
- Parents should always try to keep open lines of communication with their children so they are comfortable coming forward if they are being bullied at school.
- Young people should also be encouraged to approach teachers or other adults they trust if they are experiencing bullying and are not comfortable speaking with their parents. The problem can only be rectified if the person affected comes forward.
- A number of helpful resources are available to youth and their parents through the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention (CYCP), website. These include facts on what bullying is, why people bully and who they target and how parents can deal with their child, whether they are being bullied or are the ones doing the bullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
is when a child or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. (Source: stopcyberbullying.org).
Cyberbullying is a serious offence and can include criminal charges – understand the laws concerning the use of the Internet in a negative way.
- For parents — Monitor your children’s use of internet. Encourage them to have open discussions with you and prevent them from resorting to internet chat rooms.
- For teens — Use common sense and be socially responsible.
- Report any emails or internet content that seem suspicious or have violent content and threats.
- Remember that everything you read on-line may not be true, however, if you have suspicions that threats being made could be real, go to proper authorities and report the situation.
While the above information presents bullying in a cut-and-dry manner, bullying is a complicated matter. A bully is one who uses physical, influential or financial superiority to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do what they (the bully) want. Bullies use one or more of three common tactics: verbal, social, or physical (including sexual) aggression. Verbal is the use of words, like name-calling. Social include things like using exclusion or spreading false rumours. Physical is pushing, hitting, punching, sexually assaulting etc.
For real bullying to happen, there needs to be an imbalance of power. A child cannot usually bully an adult; a subordinate cannot usually bully their boss. In the classroom among peers, the superior strength that is often leveraged is popularity, and like-ability. In the adult world, it’s often ability to influence another person’s income or reputation.
Bullying produces victims. There are the real victims of bullying who sometimes need legitimate support to re-establish self-esteem, confidence and functionality; and, there are those who play the victim card in order to avoid responsibility. It’s often hard to tell one from the other.
Victim fakery has become so common on the Internet that it has created its own terminology: Munchausen by Internet. This is where traumas are faked online to garner sympathy, attention and, at times, money.
Victim posturing can happen when a privileged class or individual is faced with a threat to their privilege. Victim posturing is also been employed as a tool of leverage at election time, both in the US (the under dog against rigged media) and in Canada (the underdog, the comeback kid).
Finally, bullying is not to be confused with challenging or questioning authority. The ability to challenge or question authority is at the heart of democracy.
Categorically identifying bullies and victims is, at the best of times, challenging.