We encourage kids to get involved in sports to keep them healthy, to teach them discipline, to boost their confidence. But there may be another really great reason to sign your kid up for a running club or get them on a basketball team: to keep them from bullying or being bullied.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have crunched the data from nearly 2,000 surveys collected from 14-18 year-old high school students across the state and found that girls who participated in sports were 8 percent less likely to get in fights and 5 percent less likely to carry weapons than girls who were not involved in sports. While there was no difference in the number of boys who were involved in fights or carried weapons, boys on sports teams were less likely to be bullied.
The data does not give any reasons why sports participation may cut down on bullying, so any guess is purely speculative: working out aggression on the field? having teammates to back you up? more endorphins from working out? Whatever the reason, the important thing is that it’s something that can prevent bullying. And for now, maybe that’s enough.