How can peers, parents, schools and new media stop bullying?

Article title: Whose Responsibility Is It to Stop Bullying?

From Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences

This review of research outlines roles and recommendations for peers, parents, schools and new media platforms  to stop bullying. “The fact that there are so many ways to intervene provides hope for stopping bullying and its negative effects,” wrote study author Dr. Amy Bellmore. “Yet even with a mound of evidence about what may work, we still face many challenges to implementing these changes, as the most effective approaches are likely to require action on many fronts.”

Building on more than 20 years of bullying research, Bellmore constructs a multi-tiered approach to stop bullying, with recommendations for four stakeholders:

Higher levels of bullying are reported in classrooms where victims are not defended by their peers than in classrooms where students intervene on the victims’ behalf. Children that have warm relationships with their parents are less likely to become bullies or victims, compared to children that have neglectful or abusive parents The school-based anti-bullying programs that have been most successful at reducing bullying and victimization are those that last longer, have more intensive interventions and many components, such as school rules, discipline, playground supervision and parent informational and training meetings.

Law enforcement may not get involved in cyberbullying unless it results in such behavior as harassment and threats and schools are still seeking guidance in determining their level of involvement; however, the public opinion is that companies running social media platforms have some culpability.

“Bullying is not a harmless rite of passage for children,” continued Bellmore. “Bullying is destructive to youth who experience it directly, to the schools in which it resides, and to the broader public.”



In the last 20 years, public awareness of the problem of bullying has increased to the degree that legislation has been developed to protect youth in all 50 United States. Bullying is clearly harmful to students’ social, psychological, and academic functioning. Researchers are now challenged to prevent or reduce bullying and its negative effects. The potential that key stakeholders—peers, parents, schools, and new media—hold for stopping bullying is reviewed. The evidence from the large body of bullying research offers hope for many ways that stakeholders can produce meaningful reductions in bullying, when provided proper supports for their efforts.


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Article details
Amy Bellmore
Whose Responsibility Is It to Stop Bullying?
Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2372732215624218, first published on January 27, 2016 doi:10.1177/2372732215624218



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