New Research Reveals Disparity Between Thought and Action When it Comes to
Bullying Prevention

    
    Findings to Anchor Family Channel's Seventh-Annual Bullying Awareness
    Week, to be held November 16 to 22, 2009
    

TORONTO, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - A study conducted by the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet), in partnership with Astral Media's Family Channel, has revealed that although Canadian youth know the best ways to diffuse bullying situations that they observe - specifically to not be a bystander but rather to intervene on behalf of the child who is being bullied and/or to tell a trusted adult - many do not put theory into practice and actively employ these strategies. The study was commissioned by Family Channel and is part of its annual Bullying Awareness Week campaign, which will take place from November 16 to 22, 2009.

The study, Standing Up to Bullying: What are Children and Youth Saying?, was conducted by M. Catherine Cappadocia, Dr. Joanne G. Cummings and Dr. Debra Pepler at PREVNet, and is the result of an expanded partnership between Family Channel and PREVNet. The study was designed to examine the top ways Canadian youth intervene in bullying situations. The study's findings will inform this year's national Bullying Awareness Week campaign, which will culminate in a national Stand UP! wave that will take place from coast to coast, symbolizing the importance of children taking action and standing up against bullying.

Through surveys and interviews conducted with 108 children in July 2009, the study revealed that 63% had witnessed bullying at least once in the past three weeks, and 16% had witnessed bullying two or three times per week over that same time period. Given the role that bystanders/observers play in the bullying dynamic, respondents were then asked to list the most effective ways to intervene during a bullying incident. Three out of four respondents (76%) indicated that the best strategies were to tell a trusted/responsible adult and to stand up to the child who is bullying and encourage him/her to cease the activity. However, when asked to describe what they actually did the last time they saw someone being bullied, only 42% reported that they told an adult and 37% reported that they intervened in the situation.

These findings suggest that parents and educators are making progress with respect to educating children about effective strategies to diffuse bullying situations, but more emphasis needs to be placed on providing children with the skills and practical examples that will help them take action and stand up to bullying.

"This research will continue to inform the development of new strategies and solutions both in Canada and around the world," says Dr. Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, York University. "We know that bullying is a relationship problem where one child has more power than another. What this research highlights is that to correct that power imbalance, children must be assertive and speak up, and adults must do more to help children by giving them the tools and support they need to put theory into practice."

This latest research into the role of bystanders in bullying situations is supported by previous PREVNet findings, which indicate that bullying typically occurs in front of a group of peers who have the power to either stop or prolong the bullying episode based on their actions; and that when bystanders do intervene in bullying situations, bullying stops within 10 seconds a majority of the time.

Encouraging bystanders to intervene and help their peers has been the cornerstone of Family Channel's efforts during Bullying Awareness Week, a campaign Family co-founded in 2003. For this year's Bullying Awareness Week campaign, Family has worked with PREVNet to develop a grass-roots campaign that symbolizes the work that still needs to be done on the issue of bullying and prompts children to literally stand up for one another. Specifically, on November 20, 2009, Family is asking young people across Canada to participate in a mass Stand UP! wave. Children who have done the wave in their schools or at sporting events know that it only works if everyone stands up together - the same goes for bullying prevention.

Students are encouraged to go to Family.ca for more information and to sign up their school to take part in this effort - those who sign up prior to September 25 will have a chance to win one of five Stand UP! rallies at their school, featuring an unforgettable "behind-the-scenes" entertainment experience with Family Channel stars who will share their own personal stories of bullying and participate in a series of fun activities.

Among the Family Channel stars participating in this year's campaign is Nico Archambault. Nico is currently in production on the upcoming Family Channel movie Vacation With Derek and is known to millions of young Canadians for winning season one of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. In addition to appearing at Family's Stand UP! rallies, Nico stars in a Bullying Awareness Week on-air PSA currently on Family, and in conjunction with Canadian clothing company TXT Carbon Fashions, has designed a "Rise Above" t-shirt, which can be purchased at participating retailers across Canada or on line. For more information about purchasing the "Rise Above" t-shirt visit www.txtcarbon.com. A portion of the proceeds from all sales goes to support PREVNet.

Survey Methodology

The study was conducted among 108 participants ranging in age from 8-16 years old (44 girls and 64 boys) attending an overnight summer camp in Ontario, Canada. Campers completed questionnaires in July 2009 asking about their experiences of witnessing bullying at camp.

About PREVNet

PREVNet (The Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) is a leading global network of researchers and organizations that work together to promote healthy relationships and prevent bullying. Founded by leading Canadian researchers Dr. Wendy Craig, Professor Department of Psychology, Queen's University, and Dr. Debra Pepler, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, York University, PREVNet is a New Initiative of the Networks of Centres of Excellence, and comprises researchers and graduate students from over 21 universities in 11 disciplines working in collaboration with over 49 organizations in the fields of education, health, community, recreation, media, youth and industry. PREVNet's vision is that one day everyone will live, learn, play and work in safe and healthy relationships.

About Family Channel

Family Channel is a premium, commercial-free network offering the best in family television entertainment in 6 million homes across Canada. Dedicated to celebrating family life and providing a fun experience for all, Family airs a unique mix of series, movies and specials, with a large portion of programming supplied by Disney. Family Channel also offers Family OnDemand in select areas, a Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) service that features hit Disney movies and series, top-rated Canadian series and Playhouse Disney programming. Visit us at Family.ca.

Family Channel is an Astral Television Network. Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and interactive media. Astral Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its audiences. For more information about Astral Media, please visit www.astralmedia.com.

SOURCE Astral Media Inc.

For further information: For further information: and a copy of the PREVNet study, please contact: Scott Campbell at (416) 956-8648 or scampbell@tv.astral.com. Spokespeople from PREVNet and Family Channel are available for interviews.

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