Study Shows Bullying Combated Through Leadership Development

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Intervention of peers may prove to be highly effective in fighting bullying amongst children. The inner strength and confidence gained through leadership programs create strong children who are ready to stand up to bullies; Empower Adventure helps mold those children with the proper confidence.

Bullying is a social epidemic that affects many in the American culture—and especially the young. According to one large study, around 49% of children grades 4–12 experienced bullying by other students at least once during the previous month. The same study indicates that 30.8% of children reported bullying others within the past month. In a study published in School Psychology Review, middle school students reported being bullied in various ways, including name calling, teasing, spreading rumors or lies, pushing or shoving, slapping, leaving out, threatening, stealing belongings, sexual comments or gestures, and via e-mail or blogging.1

Bullying may have far-reaching negative effects on a victim’s life and health. Although most children who are bullied do not become suicidal, persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion and despair, as well as depression and anxiety.1

As awareness of bullying increases, parents and educators are looking for ways to combat the epidemic. Unfortunately, only about 20–30% of students who are bullied notify adults, which make efforts to curtail bullying challenging.1 According to leadership development expert Joe DeRing, founder of Empower Adventures, teaching leadership skills may bring about brave and confident children who are more likely to intervene when one of their peers is bullied.

“When children are taught leadership skills, they develop the inner strength and courage needed to stand up to bullies,” DeRing said. “Proper leadership development also includes guidance on empathy and judging right from wrong.” The positive qualities associated with a good leader, such as respect for others, bravery and high self-esteem, may combine to bring about a child who is unafraid to stand up for themselves and others when being bullied. According to a study on peer intervention, 57% of all bullying stops within 10 seconds when a peer intervenes and stands up to the bully.1

To encourage peer intervention, children should be taught to identify when another child is being bullied, and how to respond. Some key indicators which show that a student is being bullied include frequent truancy or tardiness, avoidance of changing rooms or bathrooms, being subject to name calling, being subject to rumors, being left out of activities, spending recesses or lunch breaks alone, and being subject to hurtful phone texts or Facebook posts.2

Children should be encouraged that once they become aware of someone being bullied, they should be kind to the victim and speak with a parent, teacher or another trustworthy adult to let them know what’s happening. Children can also help a victim of bullying feel better by trying to include them in activities, or simply spending time with them so they know they’re not alone. Finally, being a leader and standing up to the bully will let the bully know that their behavior is not acceptable.3

“Leadership is the best way to prevent bullying,” DeRing added. “Learning leadership skills through real experiences that test courage, such as zip lining and survival courses, will help children develop the mentality needed to stop bullying.”

About Joe DeRing:

Joe is a true American hero. Having served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Joe returned from service seeking to use his leadership skills in a way that would allow him to contribute to society. Partnering with advisors Dev Pathik and Jason Clement, Joe developed Empower Leadership Sports in Middletown, Connecticut. Later, the team created Empower Adventures in Tampa Bay. The center and Joe’s incredible personal journey from battlefield to inspirational adventure operator has now been featured on CNN, FOX and numerous other media outlets across the U.S.

About Empower Adventures:

Empower Adventures operates canopy tours, zip lines, ropes courses, and leadership development and adventure activities at its central location in Tampa Bay, Florida, as well as in Connecticut and Virginia (in the Washington, D.C. area). At Leadership Sports in Connecticut alone, Empower Adventures has served over 75,000 guests since 2009. The company’s goal is to help guests overcome fears in order to gain confidence and empower themselves. Over the past three years, 10,000 guests have visited the Virginia Empower Adventures location, and only four did not continue on to the Tree Top Zip Tour.

Empower Adventures utilizes best-in-class techniques to train guides, and offers the highest standard of safety protocols within the outdoor adventure industry. Empower Adventures provides a guide for each adventure group, regardless of size. The adventure center guides at Empower Adventures aim to provide customers with a powerful, memorable and inspirational experience which engenders a positive attitude and encourages teamwork. Outdoor adventure guides are specially trained to cultivate the creativity and problem-solving skills that are necessary to overcome challenges and develop leadership skills. Special team building sessions are also available to facilitate bonding in any group. For more information, visit

1.    “Facts About Bullying.” Department of Health and Human Services, 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.

2.    “How to Help Someone Being Bullied.” Bullying UK. Family Lives, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.

3.    “What Kids Can Do.” Department of Health and Human Services, 09 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Aug. 2017.

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Karla Jo Helms
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