Teaching Bystander Empathy is Most Effective Anti-Bullying Program

by ParentCo. February 19, 2016

The statistics are deeply concerning: one out of every four students reports being bullied at school, and the majority of students who experience bullying never report it at all. Bullied students are at higher risk for depression and anxiety, substance abuse, violent behavior, and poor physical health. (Pacer.org) And yet, school-based, zero-tolerance, anti-bullying programs -- largely focused on victim self-reporting and bully self-restraint -- have been rendered mostly ineffective. But we can't afford inefficacy. So, what will work? Research says: empathy. A UCLA-led study of more than 7,000 students in 77 elementary schools found that an empathy-building, anti-bullying program called KiVa has been more significantly effective than most school-based efforts. According to Science Daily, the KiVa program uses role-playing and computer simulations to increase empathy among students, encouraging them to think about how they would intervene to help stop a bullying situation. Jaana Juvonen, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at UCLA, explains that the program improves students' overall perceptions of their school environment, as well as the mental health of those most often victimized by bullying. The KiVa program is being evaluated for use in the U.S., where zero-tolerance programs are the most common school-based effort. Juvonen told Science Daily that she does not support zero-tolerance programs as they're punitive and do little to teach kids about empathy, whereas KiVa is effective in leading students to be kinder to one another. In other words, an empathy-based program can help keep all of our kids safe, and maybe even make the world a better place.
Source: Science Daily



ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

a kid in emotional by covering face
How to Boost Your Child's Emotional Intelligence

by ParentCo.

Parents can use a simple and effective approach to raise an emotionally intelligent child and to improve their own EQ, too.

Continue Reading

two boys sitting by a tree
Why Time Outdoors Can Increase Kids' Ability to Focus

by ParentCo.

Researchers recently conducted a study exploring how green spaces surrounding children’s homes impact their cognitive development.

Continue Reading

girl and boy smiling
The Far Reaching Effects of Positive Emotions

by ParentCo.

We now know that feeling good is good for us, but how can we help our kids feel good? Here are a few suggestions based on positive psychology research.

Continue Reading