How to talk to kids about bullying

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How to talk to kids about bullying

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When we talk to kids about bullying, it is very, very important that you engage them. The last thing we want to do is be adults, pointing our fingers at kids of how it is that they should treat one another. But we want to talk to kids about understanding other people and being empathetic and understanding the perspective of that other person. But we have to do it in a way that engages them through multi-media , that gives them the opportunity where prosocial behavior is valued. You must recognize that bullying is seen as something that's cool and popular kids engage in it and kids want to be friends with the bullies. And until we shift that peer dynamic so that bullying is seen as something that's not going to help you achieve popularity or high social status, then we will not have an impact on bullying. So if we can't just simply say to kids you should be nice to one another, we should engage in a conversation about why it is that they should be nice to one another.

See Dorothy Espelage's video on How to talk to kids about bullying...

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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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