Bullying Prevention: Research Highlights from UB's Alberti Center


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  • Bullying has been a natural part of the human existence since the beginning of time. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean it's acceptable or something to be tolerated. As parents, there is much, we can do to help our children avoid, prepare for, and deal with bullying. This will ease our children’s minds, and ours. We need to help our children understand that it is never okay to fight and Make it clear to your children that you are always there to listen and help them with their problems. I am a parent and I'm worried and I don't want that any kid to experience this. As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who still find it quite hard to manage issues like this, I found this great application which featured a safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here:http://safekidzone.com/eMail/Protector/SafeKidZone/
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Bullying Prevention: Research Highlights from UB's Alberti Center

  1. 1. Amanda B. Nickerson, PhD Associate Professor and Director Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention University at Buffalo [email_address] gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenter November 8, 2011
  2. 2. Overview of Presentation <ul><li>Alberti Center Slideshow </li></ul><ul><li>Overview of Bullying </li></ul><ul><li>Prevention and Intervention: Whose Role? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conventional wisdom and the “reframe” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research Highlights <ul><li>Bullying is increasingly viewed from a comprehensive perspective that involves community, school, parents, and peers </li></ul><ul><li>My research has focused on: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>School practices associated with reduced bullying and violence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The role of parents and peers in promoting social-emotional strengths </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The role of empathy and parent-child relationships for children who intervene </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 5. Bullying vs. Teasing vs. Conflict Teasing : Fun, good-natured, “give-and-take” between friends to get both parties to laugh Bullying : Based on a power imbalance; intent to cause psychological or physical harm; usually repeated Conflict : A struggle, dispute, or misunderstanding between two equal forces
  5. 6. Eye of the Beholder <ul><li>Bullying depends on who is asked </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students report that bullying happens much more often than do school staff and parents </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students over-report intervening and under-report engaging in bullying </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 7. Common, not “Normal” <ul><li>1 in 3 involved as bully, target, or both </li></ul><ul><li>Aggression and survival of the fittest across time, species, and cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Danger in viewing as “rite of passage” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Long-lasting impact of bullying </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We do not tolerate other forms of abuse </li></ul></ul></ul>Boivin, Hymel, & Bukowski (1995); Boulton & Underwood (1992); Crick & Bigbee (1998); Egan & Perry (1998); Hinduja, & Patchin, (2009); Kochenderfer & Ladd (1996); Nickerson & Sltater (2009); Perry et al. (1988)
  7. 8. What are Signs that Child May be Bullied? <ul><ul><li>Unexplained illnesses, cuts/bruises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoidance of school and social situations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Passive, unassertive, lacking friends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change in behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not interested in doing things </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Withdrawn </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feelings of self-blame or hopelessness </li></ul></ul>Stopbullying.gov
  8. 9. What are Signs that Child May be Bullying Others? <ul><ul><li>Refers to others negatively (wimp, loser) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack empathy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong need to win or be the best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hostile/defiant attitude </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Angers easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gets in verbal or physical fights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blames others </li></ul></ul>Stopbullying.gov
  9. 10. Responding to a Bullied Child <ul><li>Listen </li></ul><ul><li>Empathize </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ That must have been very scary for you ” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Thank child for telling </li></ul><ul><li>Take it seriously </li></ul><ul><li>Partner with child and school to problem-solve </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up </li></ul>
  10. 11. Responding to a Child who Bullies <ul><li>Focus on behavior (not child as person) and why it is not OK </li></ul><ul><li>Apply logical, meaningful consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Increase supervision and monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>Work with child to develop plan for how to prevent this behavior in future </li></ul><ul><li>Consider professional help to increase empathy, perspective taking, and problem-solving </li></ul>
  11. 13. A Role for All: The Social Context of Bullying Adapted from Swearer & Espelage (2004)
  12. 14. Targets: Conventional Wisdom <ul><li>“ Kids need to learn to fight back” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Focusing on the target blames the victim and sends the message that this behavior is OK” </li></ul>
  13. 15. Targets: Reframe <ul><li>Fighting back is an ineffective strategy (even according to youth voices!) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Power differential </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What message are we sending? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Focusing on the target is aimed to teach coping skills, not place blame </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Need to teach life and social skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This is not done in isolation </li></ul></ul></ul>Farrington & Ttofi, (2009); Gregory, Cornell, Fan, Sheras, & Shih (2010); Youth Voices Project
  14. 16. Bullies: Conventional Wisdom <ul><li>“ Bullies are loners who suffer from low self-esteem” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bullies need harsher punishment” </li></ul>
  15. 17. Bullies: Reframe <ul><li>Children who bully are likely to: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be popular </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Report average to superior self-esteem </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have experienced harsh punishment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Need meaningful social consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Teach empathy, perspective taking, and using power in a more productive way </li></ul>Batsche & Knoff (1994); Beaver, Perron, & Howard, (2010); Olweus (1993); Swearer et al. (in press); Vaughn, Bender, DeLisi, (in press)
  16. 18. Bystanders: Conventional Wisdom <ul><li>“ Peers need to stand up and say this is not right” </li></ul>
  17. 19. Bystanders: Reframe <ul><li>The bystander effect is pervasive </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diffusion of responsibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Time, effort, personal distress </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Perceptions about target </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Just world, ” deserved </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charach et al. (1995); Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. Bystanders: Reframe <ul><li>Need explicit guidance about how to </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recognize situation as bullying </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate options for responding in that situation (high-risk vs. low-risk) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Respond in the most safe and helpful manner (comforting or befriending target) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>…in a climate where upstanding is expected </li></ul></ul>
  19. 21. Parents: Conventional Wisdom <ul><li>“ Parents need to wake up ” “ The apple doesn ’ t fall far from the tree ” </li></ul>
  20. 22. Parents: Reframe <ul><li>Have high expectations for behavior </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be clear about rules and expectations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Apply logical, meaningful consequences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teach better ways to respond </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes . - Chinese Proverb </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide warmth and support </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Let children know they are loved and valued </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 23. Parents: Reframe <ul><li>Be aware of the reality of bullying and communicate openly about it </li></ul><ul><li>Work with school to be part of solution </li></ul><ul><li>Model the behavior that is expected </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treat others with dignity and respect </li></ul></ul></ul>Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners .   ~Author Unknown

  22. 24. School Staff: Conventional Wisdom <ul><li>“ Schools need to stop turning a blind eye to this and do something” </li></ul>
  23. 25. School Staff: Reframe <ul><li>Adults are often not aware of bullying </li></ul><ul><li>Need to gather data to assess needs and use a comprehensive approach that includes warmth, involvement, and building social-emotional strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Clear policies are needed that include </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent on-the-spot interventions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Method of reporting bullying </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Continuum of consequences and interventions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Including opportunity to behave differently in future </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Merrell, Gueldner, Ross & Isava (2008); Sherer & Nickerson (2010); Ttofi & Farrington (2011)
  24. 26. Policy Makers: Conventional Wisdom <ul><li>“ We need harsher laws to stop this kind of behavior” </li></ul>
  25. 27. Policy Makers: Reframe <ul><ul><li>Carefully developed laws and policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not reactive or based on emotion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide clarity and guidance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Based on research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not create another layer of red tape for schools </li></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 28. Research Directions for Alberti Center <ul><li>Bullying and victimization within the context of school engagement and wellness </li></ul><ul><li>Parents’ responses to children’s bullying experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Factors that contribute to peer intervention in bullying situations </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation of school efforts to prevent and intervene in bullying </li></ul>
  27. 29. Concluding Thoughts <ul><li>“ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has . ” (Margaret Mead) </li></ul><ul><li>I welcome your questions… </li></ul>