You care about the children and teens in your family, neighborhood, and community. You want to help prevent bullying, but might not know where to start. There are many things you can do to prevent or address bullying. You can have an impact, whether thru seemingly small, in-the-moment actions to longer term commitments. Here are some ideas on what you can do to make a difference during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and all year long.
In the moment, you can:
- Become a trusted adult. When you’re with a child or teen, express interest and listen attentively to them. Ask open-ended questions about what they enjoy at school, with their friends, and what activities they’re most interested in. Pay attention to any warning signs that they may be involved in bullying and provide support or get them help.
- Role model positive social behavior. When you witness children or teens being negative, critical or bullying towards their peers, step in. Break it up without blaming. Redirect the conversation. Support the ones involved. Provide positive comments or share your own experiences with bullying. Focus on “do’s” instead of “don’ts.”
- Take action when you witness cyberbullying. When you witness cyberbullying or critical comments being posted online about a child or teenager, reach out privately to the kids involved. Tell them you’re concerned about them. Reach out to their parents or the school. Try changing the conversation with positive comments.
To provide ongoing, longer-term support, you can:
- Become a mentor. Volunteer to mentor a child or teenager. Do you have expertise in a specific area that might overlap with the interests of children or teens? You can mentor them one time or several times and role model supportive, positive relationships. While you’re mentoring, you can show moral engagement and ask questions about their school experiences, including bullying, and provide support.
- Become a connection. Start, support, or join community bullying prevention activities. Schools may have bullying prevention efforts already planned. Check in with them to see if there’s a way you can engage local businesses, health and safety professionals, and youth recreation or faith-based groups to participate in or add to these efforts.
- Lead a bullying prevention action plan. Get your community engaged in a bullying prevention community action plan. Share facts on bullying in your community via social media and at community meetings. Talk with stakeholders about their interest in addressing bullying. Organize a small group of concerned citizens to start community bullying prevention efforts. Learn more by taking the free training on StopBullying.gov.