Bullying - Record It. Report It. Don’t Support It.

By anonymous, 16, Kitchener

What do you think about when you hear the word “bullying”? I think that many people probably find themselves imagining a classic school scenario, where you’re being beat up for lunch money, the jock of the school threatening you with a defiant punch in the face and maybe a scared group of kids slyly turning their backs off to the side. We are educated in schools about what it means to be a bully, and how to react as a bystander (don’t stand by), but do people know about the effects of bullying and the subconscious actions which sometimes hurt even more?

Bullying is not just physical, it’s emotional and mental manipulation, it’s online or in person and it’s happening. Bullying Canada says that a common misconception is that children should learn to stick up for themselves, hit back or that they will grow from the experience: do they? Reality check: “youth [children] who are bullied repeatedly, have low self-esteem and do not trust others. Bullying damages a person's self-concept,” explains Bullying Canada.

What is bullying? Bullying is a slap in the face, a snarky remark, a nagging stare. Bullying is an experience, a memory, a nightmare that trails as your shadow for a lifetime.

Recently there have been more initiatives such as Pink Shirt Day and regional WAYVE teams to help decrease bullying and create awareness, yet one must recognize that the growth of such initiatives is only in response to a growing concern over bullying.

Bullying will never end if it is never known about - share your story. Bullying will never be understood if it is never learned about - educate yourself. Bullying won’t subside if people divide - be inclusive.

It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation is or the amount of money your family has. People shouldn’t have to worry about the freckle on their chin or the pimple on their face. The most dangerous kind of bullying is the bullying that occurs without a conscious awareness of it even happening. Perhaps the bully doesn't know how they are making someone feel or the bullied subconsciously pushes down their feelings, unsure of what to think of a situation until years have passed without the memories fading.

This is your chance to reflect and rise.

Learn more about how UNICEF Canada is working to make Canada the best place to grow up in by 2030: http://www.unicef.ca/oneyouth

Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, young people have the right to give their opinion, to be taken seriously by adults and to express themselves in different ways, unless it harms themselves or others. UNICEF Canada respects the views of young people to express their views as they see or experience the world around them, and provides regular and diverse opportunities through our youth guest blogs, Kids of Canada and other platforms.