Elementary school students weigh in on how to reduce bullying and
Nearly two thirds of 9- to 11-year-olds have experienced bullying;
Most said it would help if they could spend more time with kids who are different than them
Cartoon Network supports kids with tools to “stop bullying before it starts” by focusing on
kindness, caring and empathy
Atlanta – Nearly two-thirds (62%) of 9- to 11-year olds say they have 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 a major national survey commissioned by Cartoon Network. The survey was designed by VJR Consulting in consultation with the Making Caring Common project (MCC) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. According to the survey, 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.
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.
“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.”
While the government measures the prevalence of bullying behaviors among middle and high school students, prevalence data among elementary school students is rare. The nationally-representative survey of more than 1,000 9-, 10-, and 11-year-olds also found that the values kids are taught really matter. More than three out of four children (77%) place a higher priority on personal happiness, getting good grades, or having good friends than on caring about others (23%). But children who say that caring about others is “very important” are twice as likely as other kids to say they have gone out of their way “many times” to do something kind for another kid, such as someone who was new to their school, having a problem, or being picked on or left out (53% vs. 27%); and they are half as likely to say they have ever bullied another kid (16% vs. 34%).
“The results of this important survey powerfully convey both that bullying is a pervasive problem at young ages and that children want guidance about how to deal with it,” said Making Caring Common’s Faculty Director Rick Weissbourd. “As educators and parents, it’s vital for us to give children tools for preventing and challenging this tough, damaging problem.”
Other survey findings include:
- 77% of 9- to 11-year-olds say they have witnessed bullying (50% once or twice, 27% many times)
- 64% say they have tried to help someone being bullied (47% once or twice, 17% many times)
- 62% say they have been bullied (48% once or twice; 14% many times)
- 96% of kids say the adults in their family set a good example for how to treat others with kindness, 93% say the adults in their school do, 46% say the adults in our government do
- When asked to pick which is “most” important to them, fewer than one in four (23%) choose caring about others, while a total of 77% select some other priority such as being happy (35%), getting good grades (23%), or having good friends (17%)
- When asked which is most important to their parents, only 14% said “caring about others” compared to 27% who said “good grades” and 56% who said “being happy”
- 77% said it would help kids their age be kinder if there was someone who could give kids ideas about what to do or say in tough situations and 66% said it would help if they could spend more time with kids who are different from them
Cartoon Network executives today also announced they will expand the network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up (SBSU) initiative, with a special focus on promoting kindness, caring and empathy among young people. Expanded elements will 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.
Survey Methodology: The survey was conducted in September 2017 among a nationally representative sample of 1,054 9- to 11-year-olds. It was designed and analyzed by Vicky Rideout, M.A., of VJR Consulting and fielded in English and Spanish by the GfK Group, using their probability-based online KnowledgePanel©. Prior to fielding, focus groups were held under the direction of R. Bradley Snyder, M.P.A., Ed. M., to test survey comprehension among the youngest respondents. The research was conducted in consultation with the Making Caring Common Project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
About Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is Turner’s global entertainment brand offering the best in original and diverse content for kids and families with such hits as, Adventure Time, The Powerpuff Girls, Steven Universe, We Bare Bears and The Amazing World of Gumball. Seen in 192 countries and over 400 million homes, Cartoon Network is known for being a leader in innovation with its approach to engaging and inspiring kids at the intersection of creativity and technology. Turner is a Time Warner company that creates and programs branded news, entertainment, sports, animation and young adult multi-platform content for consumers around the world. Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., HLN, CNN International and CNN.com, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, iStreamPlanet and ELEAGUE. Follow us @CartoonNetPR
About Stop Bullying: Speak Up
Established by Cartoon Network in 2010, Stop Bullying: Speak Up is an award-winning pro-social initiative that addresses bullying among kids. Cartoon Network leverages its shows, characters and media platform to empower its audience to speak up safely and effectively in the face of bullying, while helping kids develop greater kindness, caring and empathy that stops bullying before it starts.
About Harvard Making Caring Common project
Making Caring Common (MCC), a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, helps educators, parents, and communities raise children who are caring, responsible to their communities, and committed to justice. www.makingcaringcommon.org