For a current study, researchers surveyed 1,440 fourth and fifth grade students about how their classmates behaved in bullying situations and also did home interviews to see how parents told kids to respond to hypothetical incidents. Kids in the study were around 11 years old on average.
In school, kids whose classmates said they might intervene to stop bullies and to comfort victims were more likely to have parents at home who told them getting involved was the right thing to do, the study found. At the same time, kids whose parents told them to stay out of it were both less likely to help victims and more likely to become perpetrators. Based on the study results, it makes sense for school anti-bullying efforts to involve parents and endeavor to give children consistent messages about prevention in both settings.
One limitation of the study is that during school visits, researchers didn’t define what constitutes bullying the authors note. With home visits, researchers assumed parents gave kids the same advice about the hypothetical incidents that they would offer in real life, which might not always be the case, the researchers also point out.