Despite widespread media attention to the issue of bullying, one in five high school students say it’s happened to them, and the number may be even higher for younger children. The experts at Weekly Reader’s Current Health magazine, which reaches students in grades 4 through 12 across the country, sifted through the research and offer meaningful steps that everyone can take to combat bullying.
Some Surprising Findings :
• The most powerful person in any bullying situation is often the bystander.
• Bullies are frequently popular with other children.
• The children most likely to be bullied are not the kids at the bottom of the social prestige
ladder but rather those somewhere in the middle.
What KIDS Can Do:
- Know it when they see it. Targeting a person repeatedly with negative comments, slurs, exclusion, gossip, or physical abuse is bullying—whether it happens in person or online—and it hurts. Kids need to know what bullying is (and isn’t) so they can know how to respond.
- Speak up, stand up. “When one person stands up against the bullies, other people will stand up against them. Anyone could be the hero in the hallway,” says New Jersey teen Ashley Craig, founder of Students Against Being Bullied.
- Acknowledge their own actions. Children should ask themselves: “Have I done or said something hurtful?”
- Thoughtless phrases such as “That’s so gay” can hurt even when no harm is meant. It’s never too late to apologize—and change that behavior.
What PARENTS Can Do:
- Listen. Pay attention to what your child tells you, either directly or indirectly, about situations that might involve bullying. Take their comments seriously.
- Watch your words. Avoid using potentially hurtful sayings yourself. Children mimic adults.
- Work with school officials to make school a more welcoming place for everyone by discouraging thoughtless language.
- Help your child to care about others. Empathy, a sense of understanding others’ feelings, has been linked to lower levels of bullying.
- Look into volunteering with your child at a nursing home, a hospital, a community center, or an animal shelter.
Current Health has published two special issues packed with much more information, expert advice, and resources to help parents, kids, and teachers understand and end bullying—and they are available for FREE! Just visit www.weeklyreader.com/CHbullying.
Current Health is a monthly magazine published in two editions by Weekly Reader, publisher of quality, groundbreaking educational materials for more than a century. Current Health turns health class into real-life learning by providing comprehensive, trusted, and age-appropriate health information for students in the areas of physical health, emotional health, fitness and nutrition, decision making, relationships, public and global health concerns, and more.