Best evidence in brief: What works for bullying prevention?

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and I’m sure many teachers and parents alike want to read this study:

Child Trends has released a new policy brief on preventing bullying and cyberbullying. The report provides information on the current state of bullying research using data from the U.S Department of Education, journal articles, and existing research by Child Trends, and provides recommendations for addressing and preventing bullying behavior.

The report notes that while many bullying prevention programs and strategies are available, evidence of their effectiveness has been mixed, and most have never been rigorously evaluated. Based on the existing research, the report provides the following recommendations:

  • Include cyberbullying as part of a broader approach to bullying prevention. Strategies targeting cyberbullying alone without addressing the broader issue of bullying are unlikely to be effective. Similarly, monitoring students’ social media accounts is likely to be an ineffective use of resources without additional efforts to encourage more civil behavior online and in person.
  • Support the development of evidence-based approaches through dedicated funding for research. Such investments should also examine interventions, such as integrated student supports, for students who are targeted by bullying or witness it.
  • Discourage approaches that lack evidentiary support, criminalize youth, or remove youth from school. Research shows that anti-bullying assemblies, speakers, and campaigns are not effective at preventing bullying, nor are zero-tolerance policies that remove students from school and do not address the underlying causes of bullying behavior.
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