Sue Limber: Bullying Prevention

Sue Limber, Phd, Professor of Psychology, Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life

School can be a stressful place for kids. If they have to deal with bullying, it can be extremely traumatic for them. I’m Sue Limber, I’m the Associate Director of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University and Professor of Psychology. My work is focused on bullying among children and youth.

We have worked for years to better understand about the nature and prevalence of bullying: What it is, how often kids experience it, where it occurs, and we’ve worked hard to figure out solutions to bullying. What is bullying? Well we know that bullying is aggressive behavior, it’s not done in fun, typically it’s repeated over a time, and it involves an imbalance of power or strength so that a child who’s being bullied really has a hard time defending him or herself. And we’ve found through our research that bullying is quite common among kids.

About one out of every five children will tell you that they are bullied with some regularity – several times, for example, in a single semester. About one out of five kids say that they bully other kids with some regularity. So, many kids are involved in bullying. We’ve really tried to focus a lot of our work on what are some solutions to bullying, given the harmful affects that it can have on kids. Not just kids who are bullied, but also kids who see it going on around them. So we have worked to implement school-wide comprehensive programs that really are all about not just working with kids who are bullies or kids who are bullied; that’s a part of it. But they’re more about changing the whole climate or the culture of a school community so that bullying isn’t cool, it’s not accepted, and every adult in that school and every child in that school and all the parents are really part of the solution to try to stop bullying.

We’ve also been real interested in recent years in the phenomenon of cyber-bullying, which is sort of a new realm for bullies, using email, text messages, using one’s cell phone or video images to bully other kids. And we’re working on one of the first large-scale studies to find out more about how kids are victimized over cyber technologies. If you’re interested in more information about bullying or solutions to bullying, we invite you to visit the institute’s website.

Sue Limber