October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness of the devastating effects of bullying and the power of prevention.
With bullying in the spotlight, this can be a good time to start a conversation with your kids and other adults about bullying, or to think about your own role in bullying prevention. Our Preventing Bullying website can help parents, educators, and community members learn about bullying and find tools to prevent it before it even starts.
"...when parents, teachers, and community members work together, we can take the first step toward making bullying a distant memory for our children."
The Need for Bullying Prevention
The effects of bullying in our country are widespread, with 1 in 4 children reporting being bullied at school in the last year. Bullying is detrimental to both the bully and the victim, and its effects can last beyond childhood.
But there’s also some good news. Research shows that bullying prevention programs are successful—and a key component of bullying prevention programs is awareness. When children and adults alike know what bullying is and understand that it is not to be tolerated, they begin to take action to prevent it.
To aid in fostering awareness, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center started Bullying Prevention Month in 2006, and recently we joined them as collaborators in their efforts. Originally a week-long event, the now month-long campaign seeks to engage children and adults across the country in an effort to spread a single, clear message: The end of bullying begins with me.
We at PromotePrevent echo this sentiment of personal responsibility to eradicate bullying from children’s lives—and we have some useful tools and resources to help you do so.
For more than 10 years, we worked with more than 300 communities across the country through a federal initiative that aimed to create safer schools and healthier students.
What did we learn from our years of experience? We found that successful bullying prevention programs are a team effort, requiring the support of parents, educators, community members—and children themselves—to work together to understand and prevent bullying, and to intervene when it occurs.
On the Preventing Bullying site, we use this guiding principle—understand, prevent, and intervene—to turn research-based practices into practical, useful tools that you can use to address bullying. We focus on three key areas: Cyberbullying, Early Childhood, and School and Community.
Defined simply as “bullying that occurs through digital technology,” cyberbullying is in the headlines and on the minds of many parents and educators. As the number of children, tweens, and teens with access to mobile devices and the Internet increases, so does their risk of being involved in digital abuse. Our site offers 6 interactive scenarios that help parents and educators talk to children about what it means to be a digital citizen and how they can keep themselves safe online.
Bullying behaviors emerge even in preschool settings, but with proper tools, early childhood educators and parents can work together to stop bullying before it even starts. Our site offers a 13 chapter toolkit on preventing bullying in early childhood. The toolkit includes a number of activities for adults to conduct with young children, helping them build their social skills in the areas of empathy, assertiveness, and problem-solving.
School and Community
No community is “safe” from the devastating effects of bullying—but when parents, teachers, and community members work together, we can take the first step toward making bullying a distant memory for our children. Learn from the successes of our partner communities in the Real Stories, as they share their personalized strategies for bullying prevention. Then try Voices Against Violence, a unique tool to help schools and communities understand the importance of speaking up when you see something wrong at school, including bullying and school violence.
We hope that through these interactive tools and resources, you can accept PACER’s call to action—the end of bullying begins with me—and spread the message of this important month.
What are the greatest challenges you face in preventing and addressing bullying? Does our new preventing bullying website help you overcome these challenges? We’d love to hear what you think! Please add your thoughts and comments below.*
*E-mail addresses will be kept confidential.