The start of the new school year creates new memories, nurtures relationships for life. It is also a time when children are constantly put into new environments and the stresses of being accepted is at the highest. Unfortunately, this causes judgment on a superficial level which quite often leads to bullying, a serious problem in young adults in today’s world.

Statistics about bullying are scary and clearly demand immediate attention. Canada is ranked ninth in the world for highest bullying rate. Within Ontario itself, every fifth child is bullied; and those numbers are inaccurate as in many cases, bullying goes unseen and unreported.

Victimized children often experience social anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, mental and/or physical illnesses, are reportedly afraid of school, and consequently, avoid school more often than their peers. 

As parents/guardians, our job is to eliminate bullying as much as possible, while providing support for those experiencing it. To prevent children from being affected negatively, the whole community must work hard and work together. It is essential to get involved with kids and make sure they are not being bullied or bullying others and that they understand all forms: verbal, physical, relational, and cyber. We must remember, bullying is done with negative intent, within a power dynamic. If you feel your child is being bullied or is a bully, it is important to have a confidential conversation, take the child into full confidence, and engage other partners in the process.

The problem is not only the bully, it also includes bystanders. Understanding what a bystander is, learning the difference between being a tattletale and talking to an adult for help, stepping up for someone being hurt — all of these are of equal importance

Always remember our differences in thought and opinions make us special and our community beautiful, diversity makes Canada great, we are always stronger together. We should all work to accept one another and stop hate and bullying.

“It’s important to stand up to all forms of bullying, and it’s even more important for those who are around you to be just as courageous and stand with you.” — Normani Kordei