OTTAWA – Raising public awareness on the impacts of bullying is the focus of Pink Shirt Day.
Bullying takes many forms, including the increasing use of social media platforms to insult and belittle others. Educational institutions and workplaces are more aware of the prevalence of environments of harassment and intimidation and are making efforts to address it.
Cyberbullying has become ubiquitous in the digital age. Vulnerable youth can be targeted around the clock, often with tragic consequences. Last year UNESCO reported that one in three students worldwide has been a victim of bullying, noting that school closures due to the pandemic have led to increased screen time which in turn has elevated children’s exposure to cyberbullying.
“Unfortunately, bullying has gone virtual” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “Although there is more awareness around the issue of online bullying now, there’s still a lot of work to be done. We must maintain and support existing anti-bullying programs while continuing to root out digital ecosystems where harassment thrives. People who bully others must be educated about the harm their actions cause and also held accountable.”
“For children, it can be frightening to confront a bully,” said Ms. Paul. “We need more funding for educational programs in schools and communities to promote self-esteem and improve young people’s ability to confront and call out abusive behaviour.
In regard to intimidation or bullying in the workplace, the Green Party has called for the appointment of a federal Ombudsman to provide impartial and non-departmental help to harassed and demoralized employees. “We must be vigilant in implementing training for employers and staff to help put an end to unacceptable behaviour. Bullying should never be tolerated in our society,” said Ms. Paul.
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