How Kids Can Make a Difference by Including Others

(StatePoint) Bullying among kids continues to be the number one social issue facing this demographic, according to YouthBeat research. This is why Cartoon Network, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and 826 National are taking action to promote inclusion, acceptance and kindness to unite communities and help keep kids safe.

One in five students report being bullied in a recent survey commissioned by Cartoon Network in consultation with the Making Caring Common project (MCC) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The good news is that the research also suggests that with encouragement and guidance, kids themselves can take action to stop bullying: among its findings -- 58 percent of kids ages 9-11 who have seen someone getting picked on or being left out say that one of the reasons they sometimes don’t help those kids is that they don’t know what to do or say. Moreover, 77 percent say it would help if there was someone who could give kids ideas about what to do or say in tough situations.

With this in mind, the Cartoon Network’s “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” initiative has joined PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and 826 National in order to inspire kids to make a difference by offering tangible strategies and resources to help everyone feel included. This collaboration has come to life through a joint campaign, called “Include Someone, Make a Difference,” which has a goal of inspiring inclusive acts among kids in all 50 states.

To help kids get started, the campaign is sharing some ideas for including, valuing and supporting others in classrooms, on the playground and in the cafeteria, just to name a few:

• Notice if someone is alone at recess and ask if they want to join you.

• Invite someone looking for a place to sit to join your crew.

• Start a conversation and learn something new about a peer.

• Be patient with those who do things in a different way.

• Say “good morning” to someone walking to class alone.

• Ask someone how they’re day is going and really listen to the answer.

• Introduce yourself to someone new.

• Give a sincere compliment about something well done.

One of the beliefs of the campaign is that sharing stories and amplifying ideas about the importance of including others will engage, inspire and give kids confidence to do the same. To that end, they are encouraging kids to visit IncludeSomeone.com and share acts of inclusion and learn how it made others feel valued and supported. The site, which is tracking and highlighting nationwide participation via an inclusive map, also includes free resources for kids and educators on how to get involved. Teachers can get a free “Include Someone” kit featuring an idea guide, poster, flyers, stickers and cards.

The reasons for bullying are complex. But students have the power to put a stop to bullying before it starts by including someone and making a difference.

Photo Credit: (c) Cartoon Network

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