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Prevention Presents: Stand Up to Bullying

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Stand Up to Bullying
Donna Bacon, M.Ed., LSC
Prevention Educator

Every October, across the world, from New York to New Zealand, thousands of schools, communities, organizations, and individuals will come together to release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at raising awareness for bullying prevention.  In the US, one fourth of students report being bullied during the school year – though pacer.org says only 36% of those bullied actually report it. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, up to one third of workers may be victims of abuse in their workplace.  An estimated 10 to 20 percent of seniors living in retirement communities are victims of bullying.  These statistics are rather grim.  So what can we do about it?  Let’s start at the very beginning - with our children.

There are things we can remember when we as teachers, parents and care-givers are faced with bullying:

  • More than half of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
  • When an adult intervenes in a bullying incident, it stops in about 10 seconds about 57 percent of the time.
  • Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice.
  • Bystanders’ beliefs in their social self-efficacy were positively associated with defending behavior and negatively associated with passive behavior from bystanders – i.e. if students believe they can make a difference, they’re more likely to act.
  • School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.

We know that kids who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep troubles, anxiety, depression and negative health effects like headaches and stomachaches.  Both the bullied and bullies themselves are at greater risk for mental health and behavioral problems.  Those who engage in bullying behavior are more likely to struggle academically, and engage in substance abuse and violent behaviors later in adolescence and adulthood.

Of course, since this is a Prevention article, the method of dealing with bullying is teaching behaviors that stop it in its tracks before it becomes a problem. Teaching our youth social skills and problem-solving skills promotes healthy decision-making and better interaction with peers.  Even the youngest child can be taught to recognize feelings in others and offer sympathy or empathy.  Teach your children to give sincere compliments to others and accept them with grace.  Help them become comfortable with being assertive so they can stand up for themselves.  There is an excellent list to be found at http://www.stopbullying.gov/blog/2013/01/03/teaching-social-skills-to-prevent-bullying-in-young-children

Will these prevention methods make today’s statistics look any better?  No.  But they WILL change tomorrow’s and those of the future.  Prevention works.  Let it work for you and the kids in your life.  For more information about Harbor Prevention Services, please contact Dee Washington at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it







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Deirdre Washington, M.Ed., OCPSI 
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