Bullying today is different from what we remember. It was bad and we did feel alienated, but it often stopped at the school door and a girl could feel safe when she went home. That’s not the case today. Bullies can hurt their victims through texting or posting on social media. For some victims, being bullied means being ridiculed 24/7, and bulling is very different for girls than it is for boys.
Boys often bully one another with aggressive, easy- to spot behaviors, but girls use more subtle ways to bully. Their bullying behavior, which is called relational aggression, can include gossiping, teasing, deliberately excluding others, spreading mean rumors, or betraying trust. That kind of bullying is much harder to spot.
Statistics show that nationally one-third of girls, ages 12-18, say they have been bullied at school, and 85% of the time when a girl is bullied, no one intervenes. That is why the Girl Scouts has created BFF, which stands for Be a Friend First – a title that was chosen by girls.
The BFF program provides girls with valuable skills to develop healthy relationships to prevent bully behavior, and become peacemakers in their school and communities. A girl’s relationship with her peers is a critical component of her well-being and ability to be success in school and in life.
BFF is unique because it actively involves girls in helping solve the problem of bullying. In BFF, girls are engaged in activities where they develop the skills to bring about individual and cultural change. Through the BFF program, girls will learn how to:
- Stand up for themselves and others
- Make a decision to avoid forming cliques, gossiping, or teasing
- Recognize what a healthy friendship looks like
- And resolve conflicts peacefully
What makes BFF different from other bully-prevention efforts is that BFF is tailored to girls’ specific needs. It is based on extensive research conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute.
BFF is the result of extensive research with educators and psychologists, and developed in partnership with girls. Girls told us that when it comes to learning about bullying and relationships, they want to participate in small group actives with friends and classmates.
BFF can reach girls in a safe group setting where they have opportunities to talk and share, gain skills for developing meaningful friendships, and practice resolving conflict in healthy ways.
To learn more about the BFF (Be a Friend First) program, please visit: www.girlscouts.org/program/journeys/bff/