According to StopBullying.gov, more than 1 in 4 students in the United States say they have been bullied at school. Here are some other shocking statistics on bullying:
- 28% of students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying
- Only 9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying
- Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others
- 70% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
- 70% of school staff have seen bullying; 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the previous month
Most bullying happens in middle school. The most common types of bullying are verbal (name calling, insulting, teasing) and social (exclusion from a group, spreading rumors, and gossip). Physical bullying happens less often. Although it has recently been gaining awareness, cyberbullying (bullying online or through texts or other apps) happens least frequently. Most bullying takes place in school, outside on school grounds, and on the school bus.
The best way to curb bullying in a school environment is through education. The website explains that preventing bullying involves the entire school community—students, families, teachers, and staff—working together to create a “culture of respect.”
To support efforts to educate students on character development and social responsibility, the World Almanac for Kids now covers topics like bullying, honesty, handling peer pressure, and managing conflicts.
Character Matters is a multimedia unit consisting of engaging text and videos, fun facts, and word games. To address the longstanding issue of bullying, this new module offers tips for students to create a culture of respect and safety:
- Take responsibility. All members of a community must take responsibility for their actions.
- Show everyone respect. Follow the “golden rule.” Treat others how you would want to be treated.
- Have compassion. Showing compassion means showing others that you care about their feelings.
- Learn about conflict resolution and peer mediation. Many schools have conflict resolution programs. These programs teach students about how to handle conflicts and solve problems by working together instead of fighting. Learning about working together can teach students how to handle themselves in a respectful and grown-up manner.
- Friendship is the best protection. If bullying is a problem at school, avoid being alone or allowing others to be alone if you can help it. Find friends to walk to school with, to see between classes, or to play with at recess. Bullies are much less likely to approach two or more students.
- Intervene. When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.
The module also offers tips for students on dealing with a bullying situation in the moment:
- First, stay calm and try not to let the bully see you upset. The bully wants to see you upset, so seeing it will only encourage him to continue.
- Be assertive. Stand up for yourself but do not fight. Keep your head up and your back straight and look the bully in the face. Don’t exchange insults with a bully.
- Be sure to tell an adult after the incident. If the adult doesn’t take your story seriously, continue to tell adults until you find one who will listen.
Creating an environment of respect and responsibility goes a long way in creating a bully-free school. Start your students off right with Character Matters in the World Almanac for Kids today!
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