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Social worker: being a buddy can deter bullies

October is Anti-Bullying Month, and studies show that when bystanders take action, it can change the outcome of a bullying incident.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG spoke with SSM Health social worker Ken Skouby about why being a buddy to victims of bullying is more than just a nice gesture.

"To be able to step up, to step out for someone else, that is a big thing," Skouby said. "I know it can be scary for kids to stand up to their peers."

But, he said that doesn't mean that parents shouldn't encourage their kids to try. "It's really important that kids are aware that it's okay to be nice," he said. "To reach out to somebody who's maybe getting picked on, getting bullied, that type of thing."

Skouby said when another child tries to be a buddy and jumps in to stop bullying, studies show it really can turn the situation around. "When a friend or a buddy intervenes, within ten seconds, 60 percent of the time, that bullying incident would stop. It just stops it right there," he said.

With results like that, Skouby said it's key for parents to not just teach their children to try to be kind; but to also teach kids it's their responsibility to step up and help out when they see something wrong. "Tell them that doing nothing is really not an option," he said. "Tell them 'you need to do something.'"

At the end of the day, Skouby said it's all about living by the Golden Rule: treating others as you'd like to be treated. "Never ever is it a bad thing to be nice, to be kind to others," he said.

Watch KRCG 13 at 5 p.m. next Friday for our next Family First segment. We'll talk to a psychologist about why it's not just sticks and stones that can hurt - but words too.

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