Prevention programs can empower kids to speak up about bullying.
Bullying is still prevalent in American schools and communities. Indeed, 91 percent of students and educators in a recent study agree it's a problem. And these days, bullying takes place both in the schoolyard and online, making harassment a round-the-clock problem.
New research, commissioned by Cartoon Network as part of its ongoing "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" initiative, finds that better communication among students, parents and teachers, as well as intervention from adults, offers hope in combating bullying and cyberbullying.
"There is room for improvement in how students, parents, and teachers communicate and work together to prevent bullying," says R. Bradley Snyder, executive director of the Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention and co-author of the report. "However, simple, yet powerful actions by parents, kids, and educators are largely proven to help."
The co-authors of the report and anti-bullying experts, along with Cartoon Network, are offering these tips to kids ages 6-11 and their parents and educators to help prevent bullying before it starts:
- Kids should take the time to get to know their teachers. That way, if bullying occurs, it will seem easier for victims and bystanders to speak up about it. Encourage kids to involve their teachers in bullying situations. Educators surveyed indicated that their involvement typically improves a situation and rarely if ever exacerbates it.
- Kids should also get comfortable talking to parents and guardians about bullying. To practice, kids can try making up a situation and acting out the conversation. Parents of both victims and bystanders should encourage kids to report bullying incidents and be receptive to their concerns.
- Encourage kids to form many friendships. Friendships make school more fun and are a powerful way to prevent bullying.
- Parents should encourage their children's school to implement a formal bullying prevention program. These programs can help build empathy among students and encourages collaboration between parents and teachers. Parents, teachers and kids should all volunteer to participate in the program.
You can also take advantage of free resources for parents and kids. For example, the Cartoon Network's "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" campaign was created with experts in the field to raise awareness, build partnerships and empower young people to speak up against bullying safely and effectively. Campaign resources include video, print and online content — including an award-winning documentary introduced by President Obama. To learn more or access these resources, visit StopBullyingSpeakUp.com.
"Putting a stop to bullying is a concern for everyone. Fortunately, research is continuing to show us how we can play a more effective role in preventing bullying moving forward," says Jill King, senior vice president, Marketing and Partnerships at Cartoon Network.