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Stop bullying where it often starts: the early years

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Stop bullying where it often starts: the early years

May 4 is World Anti-Bullying Day, and that’s a good reminder to all of us to keep taking bullying seriously AND be on the lookout for behaviors that lead to it, including those that may not seem that serious, like teasing.

Almost everyone has a story to tell about being bullied at school. Each year about one-third of kids worldwide are the target of bullying. In the U.S. alone, 70 percent of young people have witnessed bullying. Many parents struggle with determining the difference between teasing and bullying behavior. And when to step in and when to let kids work it out.

One of the things that grown-ups and young kids confront is, “what do I do when I’m being bullied or harassed, or see someone who is”? For young kids in particular, that’s an important thing to figure out. That’s because bullying situations — including behaviors — often emerge in the early years. Whether it’s learned behavior from an older sibling, a video game, or the playground, kids need to know how to handle bullying effectively when it happens, and even how to help stop it from taking place.

Bullying usually arises out of an imbalance of power. It can make kids feel distressed and powerless if it isn’t addressed. And that’s why we need to understand bullying and the things that lead up to it, early. If we want kids to thrive and grow up to be productive members of their communities, they need to learn positive ways to handle relationships and conflict, at a young age. Unfortunately, ignoring bullying can lead to long-term consequences when kids are older, even into adulthood.

Educating kids’ minds is important, but building up their hearts to make all kids good global citizens matters just as much.

Papumba: Zero Bullying game (free)

Alongside Power of Zero, Papumba developed this interactive game that engages children and adults as they face typical scenarios where bullying occurs, such as school, the school gym, or a party. The game addresses the three most common perspectives in a child bullying situation:

  • The victim
  • The bully
  • The witness/es, also called bystanders

The game dynamics allow children to make decisions that help stop bullying, support their friends, and seek help from adults.

Play the game for free by downloading Papumba

Try Papumba for free
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