The topic of bullying has entered the public discourse in quite a dramatic way over the past decade, and for good reason. According to stopbullying.gov, this abusive behavior from peers is a pervasive problem that affects 20 percent of children ages 12 to 18 and “research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior.”
Ultimately bullying is a complex issue that has a profound impact on perpetrators, victims and bystanders alike; there’s also no real cut and dry solution. What we do know is that awareness is a key component of prevention.
Still, you don’t have to bore your kid to tears with a soapbox speech about something they may or may not be experiencing. Instead, clinical psychologist Dr. Bethany Cook recommends that parents turn to movies as a means of opening up dialogue without it seeming forced. The expert explains: “Tricking our mind by projecting onto characters (i.e., it’s them, not me) provides the feeling of a safe space, making it easier to be more vulnerable and go deeper with our thoughts and feelings. It also makes us more open to listening, understanding and pondering a different point of view.”
Of course, film is just one resource to rely on when it comes to the fight against bullying—but it’s a handy one to have in your toolbox, especially when family movie night rolls around. Without further ado, here are our top picks for movies about bullying that promise to help kids, teens and adults gain some perspective on the subject.