Cartoon Network today announced an expansion of its Stop Bullying: Speak Up (SBSU) initiative, with a special focus on promoting kindness, caring and empathy among young people. The expansion comes on the heels of a new major national survey of elementary school students offering fresh insight into how adults can help children stop bullying before it starts.
The survey, commissioned by Cartoon Network and designed by VJR Consulting in consultation with the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Making Caring Common project (MCC), was conducted last September among a nationally representative sample of 1,054 nine- to eleven-year-olds.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of children surveyed say they've been bullied at least “once or twice” and children who say they prioritize “caring about others” are far less likely to bully and more likely to reach out to other kids in kindness, according to the survey.
More than half (58%) of kids who have seen someone getting picked on or being left out say one of the reasons they sometimes don’t help is they don’t know what to do or say. Many are also worried that they’ll make things worse (46%). More than a third (37%) say they sometimes don’t help because they are afraid other kids will make fun of them, and 22% say they sometimes hold back because they don’t have anything in common with the kid who is getting left out or picked on.
A vast majority (70%) say it would help kids their age be kinder if adults in charge of our country set a better example of how to treat others.
"Our main mission at Cartoon Network is to provide fun and entertainment, but we also have a long-standing commitment to use our platform responsibly,” said Christina Miller, President of Cartoon Network. “Now more than ever we need to step up and support kids learning how to be kind, caring, and empathetic, so we can stop bullying before it starts."
Elements of the expanded SBSU initiative include:
PSAs and Short-form Content: In partnership with Committee for Children, the global leader of social-emotional learning curricula, Cartoon Network will create new PSAs and other short form content that translate the research findings into actionable steps for kids and parents to create more inclusive communities.
Kids Speak: To keep kids’ voices front and center in the national conversation about inclusion, the Network will partner with 826 National, an internationally recognized youth writing organization, to animate stories written by kids on this topic, and share them across Cartoon Network media platforms. This will build upon the Inclusion Storytelling Project, a recent collaboration between Cartoon Network and 826 that provided the tools and encouragement for kids to share their own stories about kindness and empathy.
Parent-Targeted Content & Reach: The expanded program will leverage the power of Turner’s brands to reach parents about ways kids said they need adult support to help them be kinder to one another.
Stop Bullying: Speak Up Website: A new microsite will provide free, easy to use resources from partners to help kids speak up against bullying and develop greater caring and empathy skills.
You can get more highlights (or the full survey results) on the SBSU microsite.