Half of all Canadians are bullied as children: Survey
Half of all Canadians were bullied as children or teens, according to a survey conducted for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC).
An overwhelming majority of Canadians (85 per cent) believe that providing children and teenagers who bully others with a volunteer mentor is an effective way to reduce bullying.
“Canadians universally understand that the friendship and guidance of a mentor is one of the most effective ways to prevent abusive behaviours and help those who have been abused,” said Bruce MacDonald, president of BBBSC.
“By giving children and teenagers the guidance they need to become the positive and caring individuals they are capable of being, we can steer them to a positive path in life.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area is a donor-supported, volunteer-driven organization recognized for mentoring programs for children and youth in Calgary, Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks, Rocky View County and surrounding areas.
BBBSC commissioned the survey to mobilize Canadians to take action to reduce bullying in their communities, he added.
The one-on-one and in-school youth mentoring services provided by BBBSC have been instrumental in reducing bullying and other related negative behaviours such as lack of interest in school, truancy, low self esteem and substance abuse.
“We are doing the best we can to stop bullying, but more volunteers and financial resources are needed to get the job done,” said MacDonald.
“Mentoring programs can significantly contribute to reducing bullying and its harmful effects.”
The Airdrie Boys and Girls Club will be taking part in Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 29.
The concept of Pink Shirt Day comes from an incident at a high school in Nova Scotia.
Two boys responded to hearing that a Grade 9 student at their school was harassed, threatened and called a homosexual for wearing pink on the first day of school.
They bought pink shirts, e-mailed classmates, and the next day, hundreds of students showed up wearing pink clothing in support of the boy who had been bullied.
“This is something Boys and Girls Clubs across the country support and we are happy to be a part of it,” said Kacie Dougherty, BGCA manager of youth services.
BBBSC’s Step Up to Strike Out Bullying Survey was conducted by Harris/Decima via their telephone omnibus between Jan. 5 and 8, with a national random sample of 1,034 adult Canadians aged 18 years and over and is considered accurate to within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
For more information on BBBSC, visit www.bigbrotherbigsisters.ca
Findings of the Step Up to Strike Out Bullying Survey:
• 95 per cent of Canadian adults surveyed believe people have a responsibility to take action to stop bullies.
• 89 per cent believe bullying poses a serious threat to the long-term well being of children and teenagers
• 50 per cent of Canadian adults surveyed were bullied as a child teenager.
• 62 per cent of those who were bullied believe they would have benefited from having a volunteer adult mentor to help them cope.
• 97 per cent of Albertans surveyed believe people have a responsibility to take actions to stop bullies.
• 83 per cent agree that providing children and teenagers who bully others with an adult mentor is an effective way to reduce bullying
• 92 per cent believe bullying poses a serious long-term threat to the well being of children and teenagers.
• 52 per cent of Albertans surveyed were bullies as a child or teenager.
• 52 per cent of those who were bullied believe they would have benefited from having a volunteer adult mentor to help them cope.
• Nearly a third (30 per cent) think that the abuse they suffered had a lasting harmful effect.
• 90 per cent of Albertans surveyed agree that action to reduce bullying strengthens communities over time.