Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Bullying and Cyberbullying

An upset teen girl looks at her phone. A group of girls are standing behind her, looking at her and laughing.


Bullying happens when there is an imbalance of power; where someone purposely and repeatedly says or does hurtful things to someone else. Bullying can occur one on one or in a group(s) of people. There are many different forms of bullying:

  • Physical bullying (using your body or objects to cause harm): includes hitting, punching, kicking, spitting or breaking someone else's belongings.
  • Verbal bullying (using words to hurt someone): includes name calling, put-downs, threats and teasing.
  • Social bullying (using your friends and relationships to hurt someone): includes spreading rumours, gossiping, excluding others from a group or making others look foolish or unintelligent. This form of bullying is most common among girls.


Cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.

Cyberbullying includes:

  • Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages.
  • Posting embarrassing photos of someone online.
  • Creating a website to make fun of others.
  • Pretending to be someone by using their name.
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others.

Cyberbullying affects victims in different ways than traditional bullying. It can follow a victim everywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from school, to the mall and all the way into the comfort of their home - usually safe from traditional forms of bullying.


Over time, youth who are bullied or bully others find their own ways of dealing with it. While some victims/bullies may become depressed and begin to withdraw socially, others react aggressively and turn to violence.

Dangers for Children and Adolescents Who Are Bullied:

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety, loneliness, isolation
  • Stress related health problems (e.g., headaches, stomach aches)
  • Low self esteem
  • School absenteeism and academic problems
  • Aggressive behaviours
  • Contemplating, attempting, or committing suicide

Dangers for Children and Adolescents Who Bully Others:

  • Not knowing the difference between right and wrong
  • Delinquency and substance use
  • Academic problems and increased school dropout rate
  • Aggression
  • Sexual harassment and dating aggression
  • Gang involvement and criminal adulthood
  • Difficulties in their relationships with others
  • Being bullied at the hands of others


Bullying and the Law

Bullying can be a traumatic experience, and some forms of bullying can even be considered illegal. These include:

Criminal Harassment
Repeated tormenting online, with texts, phone calls, and/or emails causing the other person to fear for their safety
Child pornography
Sharing intimate photos and videos of minors (under the age of 18)
Uttering Threats and Extortion
Threatening to share someone's personal information to others if they don't do what you want them to do
Threats or acts of non-consensual force, violence, bodily harm, or destruction of personal property
Identity Theft/Fraud
Creating a fake online profile to ruin someone's reputation
Defamatory Libel
Spreading rumors about someone

For all of these criminal offences, it is important to notify your local police detachment or report it to CYBERTIP.CA. Based on the available information, police will decide if an investigation is warranted and whether charges may be laid.

What You Can Do


If you are a victim of bullying

If you know someone who is being bullied...

  • If you feel it's safe to do so, tell the bully to stop.
  • Find friends/students/youth or an adult who can help stop it.
  • Befriend the person being bullied and lead them away from the situation.
  • Report it to a teacher or school staff.
  • Fill out an anonymous letter and drop it off to a teacher or any adult you trust.


If you know or think that a child is a victim of bullying...

  • Talk to them - Let them know that they can trust you and that they shouldn't deal with bullying alone.
  • Help them:
    • document the bullying;
    • report unwanted text messages to their telephone service provider, or cyberbullying to social media sites or apps;
    • report the bullying to school administrators; and
    • report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults, harassment and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.