Survey reveals one in three Canadians who witness cyber-bullying stand up to it

August 30, 2017

Parents, teachers must talk about bullying this back-to-school season

A new Ipsos survey for the Canadian Red Cross finds that more than one in three Canadians say they have witnessed an act of cyber-bullying, whether it was against someone they know or someone they don’t know. However, only one in three of those who’ve witnessed it have helped someone who was being cyber-bullied. This is concerning as research on peer behavior finds over half of the time, bullying stops within 10 seconds when a bystander steps in. As students head back to school for a new year, bullying, including cyber-bullying, is an important issue that needs to be addressed by teachers, parents and students alike.

  • More than one in ten Canadians say they’ve personally been a victim of cyber-bullying, while one in ten parents say their child has been cyber-bullied.
  • Few Canadians think they themselves have ever been an instigator of cyber-bullying – only 4 per cent admit to having personally participated in an act of cyber-bullying, whether or not they realized it at the time of the incident. Among millennials, this figure rises to 12 per cent.
  • Women are more pessimistic than men about the prevalence of bullying today, being significantly more likely to believe it’s become worse (58 per cent compared to 45 per cent).
  • Half of adult Canadians think youth today have it worse than they did as students, when it comes to bullying.
 Tips for teachers and parents to help kids navigate bullying
  • Have ongoing discussions about relationships and bullying with children throughout the school year.
  • Conversations about boundaries and respect are important. Listen to children about their experiences and concerns and allow them to share their feelings.
  • Equip children to handle cyber-bullying with these four steps: stop visiting the site, block the site, tell an adult about it, and save the screen so there is a record.
  • Encourage children to take a stand against bullying by: telling an adult they trust if they see or know that someone is being bullied; not becoming part of the “cheering group”; providing support and friendship to the person being bullied; using his/her influence to change the situation.
  • Remind children often of their value and importance – help build their capacity and self-esteem.
“Going back to school can trigger anxiety for many reasons – especially for students who have experienced bullying. Knowing that so many Canadians observe cyber-bullying today, it’s more important than ever to educate students about how they can effectively end bullying behaviour directed at themselves and others, both in person and online.”
  • Judi Fairholm, Director of Respect Education, Canadian Red Cross
About the Canadian Red Cross
As the leading provider of prevention and safety training in the country, the Canadian Red Cross trains 2.4 million Canadians annually in emergency preparedness, first aid, swimming and violence and abuse prevention. Visit for research and tips, and to learn more about CPR, first aid and violence prevention training, and swimming and water safety courses.

About this survey
An Ipsos poll was conducted between Aug 16 and Aug 21, 2017, on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross. For this survey, a sample of 1,050 Canadians adults aged 18+ was interviewed. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians 18+ have been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population.

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