Most kids will tell you that they’ve either been bullied or seen someone bullied at some time in their lives. It happens to all ages, boys and girls, but at a time when young preteen girls are discovering their identities, they are especially susceptible to the kind of peer pressure and ridicule that can occur in middle school.
As defined by Wikipedia, “Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.”
Bullying has always been around, but bullying today isn’t necessarily being shoved into a locker, or having your lunch money taken . . . cyber bullying is a very real threat to girls' safety and well-being.
From the Girl Scout Research Institute’s (GSRI) 2003 study,
Feeling Safe: What Girls Say –
• After experiencing cyber bullying, over half of teen victims aged 13 to 17 claim to have been angry (56%), one-third feeling hurt (33%) and embarrassed (32%), and over one in ten feeling scared (13%). Females are more likely than males to report all these emotions; especially females aged 13 to 15. (Harris Interactive, Trends and Tudes: Cyber bullying, April 2006)
• Bullying or harassment is a particularly prominent problem at the junior high or middle high school level. Three-quarters of junior high or middle high school principals say that bullying or harassment is a serious problem at their school, compared to 43% of elementary school principals and 45% of senior high school principals. (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, The Principal's Perspective: School Safety, Bullying, and Harassment, 2008)
Time for Change
It’s Your World – Change it!
aMAZE: The Twists and Turns of Getting Along
Life is a maze of relationships and this journey has Girl Scout Cadettes (grades 6 to 8) maneuvering through all its twists and turns to find true friendships, plenty of confidence, and maybe even peace. The adult guide offers tips for talking about relationship issues with girls, and pointers for understanding girls' development and creating a safe, welcoming space.
To find out more about our other Leadership Journeys go to:
Girl Scout volunteers can check out “packaged” activities for girls with Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois’ Programs in a Box:
Be a Friend, Not a Bully for Girl Scout Brownies ties into Brownie Quest, A World of Girls, and Agent of Change Leadership Journeys. Be a Friend, Not a Bully
Sister to Sister: The Darker Side of Friendship for Girl Scout Cadettes ties into the aMAZE and Media Leadership Journeys and talks about dealing with cliques, gossip, crushes, and all kinds of relationship drama. Bullying, relational aggression, cyber bullying are just a few of the topics this journey experience touches on. Sister to Sister: The Darker Side of Friendship
More on Programs in a Box: http://www.girlscoutsni.org/Programs-in-a-Box.html