The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published results from a report in July that received a fair amount of media attention.
Results from The 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS) Mental Health and Well-Being Report showed that bullying behaviours remain a concern, with 29% of students grades seven to 12 (228,000 students) reporting being the victim of bullying while at school.
Most notably, while males reported a decline in bullying victimization, bullying perpetration and fighting at school, a greater percentage of girls than boys also reported being victimized at school, at 31% versus 26%.
Researchers surveyed 9,288 students from Grades 7 through 12 in 181 elementary and secondary schools across Ontario between October and June of last year.
The report also addressed electronic or "cyber" bullying for the first time. Electronic bullying was reported by one in five students, which represents an estimated 217,000 students in Ontario. Girls reported being twice as likely as boys to be the victim of electronic bullying (28% versus 15% of boys).
“The bullying rates surrounding girls are troubling,” Dr. David Wolfe, Director of CAMH’s Centre for Prevention Science reports in a press release. “The high rates in cyberbullying are also troubling in that young people today are so technology-driven that bullying now carries over into the home, not just the school setting,” he says.
The CAMH report confirms findings from the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study, a national study conducted in collaboration with the World Health Organization, according to Dr. Wendy Craig, Scientific Co-director of PREVNet and Professor of Psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “The HBSC study showed that Canada has the sixth highest rate of bullying out of 38 countries for 11-year-old girls,” says Dr. Craig, who was involved in the HBSC study.
“Bullying is a significant public health issue that requires attention,” says Dr. Craig. “The good news, however, is that the problem is not getting worse. The bad news is that we are not decreasing the problem. The devastating psychological, physical, emotional, social and academic problems for all those involved in bullying highlights how we need to do much more to prevent bullying. There are too many children who are suffering these effects.”