Bullying amongst youth has become a widespread problem in Canada. More and more young people are making drastic decisions as a result of bullying and harassment in school or other social environments.
An organization called Bullying Canada came together and created the first anti-bullying website for young people but was managed by other young people as well. Co-founder Rob Frenette feels that the website reaches a lot of people in need.
“Our Organizations goal is to provide information, support and resources for anyone who is being bullied, a bystander, a bully or a parent or citizen looking for information on the topic of bullying. We offer assistance online and via phone for the simple reason that, when we asked youth what they would like this is what they told us,” says Frenette.
The organization uses outside resources as well if they ever need assistance. Education Researcher Marilyn Noble is one of the experts that are called upon if needed. Noble feels the website promotes awareness which is the best way to prevent bullying.
“Equipping bystanders both kids and adults who see it happen to be more proactive is probably the most powerful tool we have, because bystanders are more numerous than either bullies or targets. That’s where the real power rests. Change the bystanders’ behaviour for the better, and you can move towards eradicating this problem. It doesn’t even have to entail confronting the bully. If enough people support the target, then the bully begins to get the message.”
Many young people find that the website is a great resource to help people handle bullying. This is simply because bullying can happen at any age to anyone. Kara Cousins a second year student at St. Thomas University did not encounter bullying until her first year of university.
“I really think a website like this a great idea because bullying can happen to anyone. For me I think it really started after that South Park episode that gave the idea for `Kick a Ginger Day.` People would tell me that I don`t have a soul because I am a ginger and I did get kicked a few times, and people always make comments about my fiery temper. I know that, for the most part, these people are kidding. People just need to understand better the outcome of their words and actions. Sure, I don`t get overly offended by ginger jokes, but many people do. We all have things that make us unique and it`s time people stop pointing them out in a negative manner,” says Cousins.
Bullying Canada is definitely making a change. In the last month their website has had 4,029 visits and their support line and online chats has received hundreds of calls. The organizations next big event is Anti- Bullying Day on December 17th 2010.