Recent research from the States (Princeton University, Rutgers University and Yale University ) shows that when it comes to acting against bullying in class it’s up to children themselves to take the stand.
So instead of teachers saying “Don’t bully” or punishing those they see picking on others, the cool crowd hold the key. To prove this 56 New Jersey middle schools joined forces in the 2012-2013. They armed their most influential students with social media training. To identify who to use, the researchers distributed a survey to 24,000 enrolled in the school communities. They asked them to nominate the top 10 pupils who they chose to spend time with, either in or outside of school, face to face or online.
The pupils appointed got bullying awareness gear to reward acts of decency. The result was apparently a 30 percent reduction in student conflict reports. The best results came from schools with the highest proportion of social influencers, supporting the hypothesis that these cool, popular children exert an outsized influence over the school culture.
The initiatives in this particular research included a #iRespect campaign on Instagram posting photos and gifting brightly coloured rubber wrist bands to schoolchildren intervening in conflict.
With social media and acknowledging how “being noticed by peers” is a powerful motivator, it sounds to me as if this could easily be expanded on.
If you are running any successful anti-bullying initiatives such as the above, please share them with us at AAB so that we can spread the message