Well, unfortunately, this is a not the last pop star that teenagers love. It is a sociological concern that takes its root deep inside every school in the world: bullying.
What are we talking about?
Bullying is an issue which is seriously taken into account in Canada, as it is in most of the anglo-saxon countries. According to official sources from the Government of Canada, the term « bullying » referred to physical actions such as hitting, kicking and punching, as well as other types of non-physical behavior that can have similar impacts on the victim.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It is a concern that is well known for a long time in almost every school in the world. Children are sometimes mean to each other without being fully aware of the consequences of their actions. The growth of Internet and social networks make bullying worse. Facebook, like the other networks, are now the new playground for kids. And the effects can be much more devastating.
I have the feeling that in France, bullying is viewed as a step in the process of growing. Everyone in junior high school was, at least once, the target of another kid or group of kids. I often heard that this is not such a big deal. It helps to build a strong personality and be prepared for the real life. Unfortunately, I doubt this common thought is approved by pedagogical specialists and teachers. So why aren’t we talking much more about bullying in France? Of course, the media underline this issue when something specific and terrific is happening (extreme bullying that lead to suicide ; as an example the interview – in French – of the mother of Marion Fraisse is readable here ), but otherwise, we have to admit this doesn’t really seem to be a top priority for the French ministry of education. At least, until now and the recent campaign called “agir contre le harcelement à l’école” (acting against bullying in school) with the participation of a French pop star and a French athlete who testified about their own experiences.
According to the French specialist Éric Debarbieux, the engine of bullying lies in the refusal of difference (scholars that are either very good or very bad, have a different social background, ethnic origin…) and it took time for education politics to face this reality. For example, Finland did it in the 1970’s, UK at the end of the 80’s and France began to think about around 2010. He also points out that for the Americans (and I can say by extension, the North-Americans, which includes Canada), prevention is better than cure : one dollar invested in prevention saves five dollars in medical care.
Canada takes bullying very seriously into account. Tons of campaign, advertising and politics are made to cultivate awareness of general public. The ministries of education and the school boards offer many different resources for the teachers, the parents and the scholars. The federal government also has a dedicated website for helping the parents and the teens who are experiencing cyberbullying.
So if we talk a lot about bullying in Canada, does that mean that it encounters a lot more of problems than the other countries?
Bullying is everywhere
In a study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2009/2010, Canada and France are ranked in the middle of the 35 countries studied for level of bullying. Sometimes, France has a lower rates (for the 11 and 13-year-olds who have been bullied at school at least twice in the past couple of months), sometimes it’s the contrary (for the 15-year-olds who have been bullied at school at least twice in the past couple of months). But one point is still right : the rate of teens who have bullied others at school at least twice in the past couple of months is always lower in Canada than in France. Anti-bullying politics is totally integrated into canadian politics, when in France, it seems to only started. In any case, lowering bullying in schools is a really long lasting trend that takes resources and effort.
The study also shows a constant fact : the only country which has always the lower rates is Sweden. So this is a country where both Canada and France can learn from.