Teens believe U.S. lacks kindness, which leads to bullying

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A large majority of teen-agers believe the United States lacks kindness, especially in the way we treat one another, according to a survey release Wednesday by STOMP Out Bullying™, the leading national bullying and cyberbullying prevention nonprofit organization for kids and teens.

The survey sought teens' (ages 13-17) attitudes toward our country's behavior and its effect on bullying among their peers, in order to highlight key issues for October's National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Top findings include:

"Whether at school, in front of a computer screen or on digital devices, bullying and cyberbullying are unfortunately more present than ever before," said Ross Ellis, founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying. "We need to continue emphasizing the importance of kindness, which is critical not only to youth character development, but kindness can also make a positive, lasting impact on our world today. It's not surprising to see why teens have such a negative view of our nation's behavior, given the onslaught of violence and hostility that we see on a daily basis.

"I urge everyone to raise awareness around bullying prevention and the power of kindness this October, which is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month,” she said.

STOMP Out Bullying advocates for teaching more empathy and kindness among a diverse population of students in schools to create a positive culture, stronger communities and more student leaders. There are some encouraging signs of progress being made in the effort to end bullying. Most teens are confident in their school's ability to tackle bullying, with over half (61 percent) who believe their school handles bullying issues sufficiently. Concurrently, teens themselves are becoming more empowered to stand up and report instances of bullying if they see them. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) have reported instances of bullying to a teacher, parent or other authority figure. 

Additional survey findings include:

To help further the organization's mission of ending bullying, STOMP Out Bullying recently announced a brand new ambassador, KIND the blue elephant. KIND acts as a symbol for the need to spread compassion and kindness throughout the world. Follow STOMP Out Bullying's social channels to get involved in spreading the word around the pro-kindness movement by sharing images of KIND the elephant with #whereiskind. 

For teens experiencing the effects of bullying, or even exhibiting bullying behavior, STOMP Out Bullying provides many resources to help:

STOMP Out Bullying is the leading national anti-bullying organization for kids and teens. A pioneer on the issue, STOMP Out Bullying is recognized as the most influential anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization in America. It focuses on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, education against homophobia, racism and hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country. It teaches effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying; as well as educating kids and teens in school and online.

This survey was conducted online Sept. 23 through Sept. 30, 2016 among a representative sample of 1,000 American teen-agers ages 13-17 years old by Toluna, an independent research provider, under the guidance of RF|Binder's research team. The results are nationally representative according to the US Census Bureau statistics to accurately reflect the gender and age of the U.S. general population.