Bullying is Gen Z’s #1 Concern According to New BSA Survey

Boy Scouts of America programs empower Gen Z to make a difference

Generation Z believes bullying is the biggest issue facing their generation, according to new data. A survey of American youth ages 6 to 17, commissioned by the Boy Scouts of America, found that bullying ranked as the top concern for young people on a community, national and global level.

The survey asked young Americans to prioritize their top five from a list of roughly 20 issues in the local community, the U.S. and the world. Thirty percent said bullying was one of the problems they most wanted to solve across the globe, and 32% said it was the biggest issue in the country. On a local level, Gen Z ranked bullying (28%), hunger (28%) and care for the elderly (27%) as the top three issues they see themselves helping to improve in their community. 

From daily good deeds to service projects, the Boy Scouts of America has been actively working to equip kids with the tools they need to counteract bullying throughout their communities and daily lives. All Scouts participate in anti-bullying training and learn to live by the Scout Law, a foundational element of Scouting that includes 12 guiding characteristics that include being helpful, trustworthy and kind. In fact, a 2015 Tufts University study* showed children involved in Cub Scouts were significantly more kind and helpful than non-Scouts.

According to the survey, 86% of young Americans said that not being bullied is a daily priority. And 97% said being kind to others is an important aspect of daily life.

As we recognize National Bullying Prevention Month, it is important to remember the idea that a Scout should treat others as he or she wants to be treated—a Scout is kind—is woven throughout the programs and literature of the Boy Scouts of America.

When a Scout follows the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, bullying and hazing situations should never occur.

At Circle Ten Council, we are fortunate to have Bullying Awareness Champions that provide resources to educate and train our staff (including youth) to recognize, speak up, and stand against bullying in Scouting.

Multiple Eagle Scout projects, a substantial service project that’s required to attain the program’s highest rank, have tackled bullying and inclusivity in recent years. One Scout even rallied his community to construct a musical playground that was fully accessible for students with physical or mental challenges. And merit badges offered by Boy Scouts of America, such as Disability Awareness and American Cultures, help kids understand and respect each other’s differences while building character and leadership skills. 

This desire to help make the world a better place is inherent in Gen Z, according to the study. Seventy-six percent said they believe their generation has the ability to make positive change in the world. Other top issues they want to tackle globally are poverty (28%), human rights (26%) and access to education (24%). 

Survey highlights:

  • 97% of those surveyed said being kind to others is important
  • 84% said they want to be a part of solving issues in the future in their community
  • 79% said improving their community is very important
  • 50% said the reason they focus on some of these issues is because their parents are passionate about them
  • Bullying was the top concern among respondents with 28% of respondents seeing themselves helping improve bullying at the community level, 32% at the national level and 30% at the global level
  • Other top concerns respondents want to help solve are hunger (28%) and care for elders (27%) at the local level, animal rights (28%) and recycling (28%) at the national level and poverty (28%) and human rights (26%) at the global level

About the Survey
This survey was conducted by YouGov Plc. on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 1,002 youth, ages 6-17 across the U.S. Data was collected between August 14-20, 2019 and was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. youth, ages 6-17. In the case of children’s samples (under 18 years old) the parent who is the panelist is invited to the survey and then asked to give consent to allow their child to take the survey. More about the survey methodology can be found at www.YouGov.co.uk.

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* A 2015 study by Tufts University worked to answer that question and many others through research which measured the character attributes of both Scouts and non-Scouts. The survey included 2,000+ Scouts and non-Scouts aged 6-12 in the Philadelphia area.