Bullying and cyberbullying have become significant issues, especially among youth. Bullying is a repetitive act of aggression towards a targeted individual with the intent to cause distress or harm.

The motive for cyberbullying is the same, but victims are targeted using technology — often via the internet, social media, and personal devices. Due to the nature of cyberbullying, it can occur day and night, and is hard for victims to escape. Text or images are often posted by a cyberbully to torment the victim.

Victims of cyberbullying have been known to develop low self-esteem, social anxiety, anxiety, depression, and complete withdrawal. These symptoms can lead to the development of suicidal tendencies or attempts.

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Acts of Bullying

  • Physical bullying: acts of violence towards a victim such as hitting, punching and kicking.
  • Verbal bullying: verbally inflicting pain on a victim through name calling, threats and teasing.
  • Social bullying: using friends or relationships to cause harm to a victim. Examples include spreading rumors, gossiping and excluding the victim from a social group.

Acts of Cyberbullying

  • Sending malicious text messages or emails to a victim
  • Sharing embarrassing images via social media, text or email.
  • Spreading gossip or rumors.
  • Creating blogs or websites to ridicule others.
  • Tricking a victim into sharing personal information and forwarding the information.
  • Hacking a victim's profile and sending hurtful messages to others under the assumed identity.
  • Posting cruel messages to online bulletins or chatrooms.

Effects of Bullying and Cyberbullying

Symptoms and severity of symptoms will vary for those experiencing depression. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression in our Resources section.

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety, loneliness and isolation
  • Stress related health problems (e.g. headaches, stomach aches)
  • Low self esteem
  • School absenteeism and academic problems
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
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Helping a Friend or Family Member

If you suspect a family member or friend is being bullied or cyberbullied, offer support. It may be difficult for him/her to openly admit that they're being bullied, and initially he/she might not want to discuss their emotions. Be patient and avoid inflicting pressure. In time, your support could help ease any feelings of loneliness or worthlessness.

When your loved one does share, it's important to listen. Be caring, consoling, and non-judgemental.

If cyberbullying is evident, it should be well documented and immediately reported to either school administrators, social media accounts, parents or police (dependent on the circumstances).

If the victim is demonstrating signs and symptoms of depression, consult a medical professional. Depending on the severity of symptoms, alternative treatments can help lessen the symptoms of depression.

Support Resources

MDAM Peer Support Line: (204) 786-0987 or 1-800-263-1460 (9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Friday)

MDAM Support Groups: View Support Groups

First Nations & Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 (Outside of Province)

Health links: (204) 788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)

Manitoba Suicide Line: 1 (877) 435-7170, reasontolive.ca

Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services: www.supportline.ca or 1 (866) 367-3276 (10 a.m. - 9 p.m./ Monday - Friday)

View our comprehensive list of crisis support options throughout Manitoba.