Youth Voice Project

The Youth Voice Project, a large-scale research effort conducted to gain insight about youth perceptions of bullying, surveyed over 13,000 youth in grades 5 through 12. Three thousand of the youth reported bullying behavior by peers at least two times or more in the previous 30 days. This group of youth was asked what helped them and what made things worse when it came to dealing with bullying experiences. The advice given to them by well-intentioned adults either made things better or worse. Here are some examples of what not to say and what to say following bullying experiences.

According to youth, adults should not say:

  • Don’t tattle.
  • Just work it out on your own.
  • Pretend like it doesn’t bother you.
  • Tell the bully how their behavior made you feel.
  • This wouldn’t have happened to you if you acted differently.

According to youth, adults should say/ask:

  • I have time to listen.
  • Tell me what happened.
  • What the person did was wrong and was not a nice way to treat somebody.
  • The person who did that is immature.
  • What would make you feel a little bit better?
  • Who are the friends/peers that you trust?

Knowing what to say (and what not to say) can help youth move more quickly though bullying experiences and grow stronger and more resilient when faced with future difficulties.


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