Committee for Children Sponsors Bullying-Prevention Conference

November 4, 2010

SEATTLE—Committee for Children, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that provides violence prevention and bullying prevention programs to schools worldwide, is joining Microsoft, Cartoon Network, and Hazelden in sponsoring the Seventh Annual Conference of the International Bullying Prevention Association November 15–17 in Seattle.

“The Challenge and Promise of the Cyberworld: Bullying Prevention in the Age of the Internet” will take place at the Washington State Convention Center and feature experts in bullying and cyber bullying prevention. Presenters will address youth risk online, promoting positive online behavior, and the latest research in bullying prevention.

Committee for Children will present findings of a recent study that show that the Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention Program had significant positive effects on factors linked to school bullying as well as reducing physical bullying behavior in the schools that used the program compared to those that did not.

The study of 32 schools, conducted by the University of Washington and funded by the Raynier Institute & Foundation, is believed to be the largest research effort in the United States on the effects of a bullying prevention program.

These findings support previous studies of the effectiveness of the Steps to Respect Program by the University of Washington’s Dr. Karin Frey and colleagues, which showed a 31 percent decrease in bullying behavior and a 72 percent decrease in negative bystander behavior.

The Steps to Respect Program is one of three school-based programs developed by the 30-year-old organization to teach children social-emotional skills and to prevent violence, abuse, and bullying. The programs are being used in 25,000 schools in the United States and 26 countries around the world. Currently, 142 Washington state school districts are using the Committee for Children programs. Coinciding with the conference, the organization will make available a cyber bullying prevention component to supplement its Steps to Respect Program. These new lessons will be available for free to educators who are teaching the program.

“We need to teach children empathy, impulse control, problem solving, and emotion management when their brains are developmentally wired to acquire these skills—between the ages of 3 and 10,” says Joan Cole Duffell, executive director of Committee for Children.

“The same social and emotional abilities apply whether you’re in a room with another human being or on the Internet,” Duffell notes, “but the consequences of the latter can be much more serious because of the ability to spread harmful content to a much broader audience.”

“Young people now have access to a tool that’s often beyond their maturity level to handle,” she adds. If those students who bullied the young suicide victims in the highly publicized cases this fall had been taught to stop and think consequentially for just five minutes, “they may not have done what they did.”

To learn more about Committee for Children and its Steps to Respect Bullying Prevention Program, visit www.preventbullying.org.