Kids encouraged to stand up not stand by during Bullying Awareness Week

November 15-21 marks Family Channel's eighth annual Bullying Awareness Week and the network, along with their partner organization, PREVNet, a national network committed to ending bullying and promoting positive relationships, want to equip students with the resources they need to stand up to bullying.

“In Canadian playgrounds it is estimated that bullying takes place every 7.5 minutes and the impact of those actions is both damaging and long lasting,” said Dr. Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, York University and scientific co-director of PREVNet. “Bullying Awareness Week gives us a fantastic opportunity to talk about these issues and hopefully provide students with the skills they need to tackle bullying year round.”

PREVNet is especially interested in the role of bystanders in bullying situations. Research by the organization indicates that bullying typically occurs in front of an audience of peers who have the power to either stop or prolong the bullying episode based on their actions. In the majority of cases, when bystanders do intervene in bullying situations, bullying stops within ten seconds. PREVNet is keen to encourage kids to stand up to bullying by offering the following suggestions for students who witness bullying behaviour:

Assertively, but not aggressively, tell the child or youth who is bullying to stop.

Give attention and support to the child who is victimized.

Students should tell a responsible adult if they see an incident of bullying, for example, a parent, teacher, coach, or group leader.

Dr. Pepler, is aware that for many children, confronting bullying behaviour when they see it can be difficult. “These strategies are a challenge and I would encourage parents and teachers to discuss and rehearse these strategies with their children. It really is so important that students feel empowered to stand up to bullying and they need adult support to do this.”

More information on Bullying Awareness Week, including bullying-prevention tip sheets and resources can be found at www.family.ca.

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