If consequences worked, we wouldn't have bullies. We take away their phones, put them in timeout, suspend them, expel them from school, file restraining orders against them, put them in juvenile diversion, but it doesn't change their behavior. They just grow up to be bigger bullies. Consequences haven't solved our problem.
The only thing that works is understanding where bullies are coming from. We have found that when we get to the heart of why a kid acts like a bully, we can help them make changes so they won't keep hurting other people.
Please help us create a school intervention program
We at the Mindful Youth Institute want to prevent bullying and teach bullies how to be kind so they can become happier and more productive people. What better investment could you make for the future?
Bullying affects millions of kids each year. One in 3 children report being involved in bullying as the bully or victim. Bullies are more likely to commit crimes as adults. Victims of bullying are more likely to drop out of school and feel anxious and depressed.
Unfortunately, most bully prevention programs have not made a meaningful difference in reducing bullying.
Why is it hard to reach these kids?
One reason that anti-bullying programs are not successful is because bullies may not have positive experiences around love and kindness. Mindfulness training increases good feelings like happiness, kindness, and warm feelings towards others. Teachers often say these students “need training the most,” but many bullies are reluctant to practice mindfulness because they think it is “boring.”
Even when bullies do practice mindfulness, it’s not helping them very much, but we have the solution!
Solution: Game-based learning
Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, says that games can save the world because they increase motivation to solve problems. Learning through playing games is a well-established and well-researched practice.
We want to teach bullies to develop self-control, compassion, and kindness—by making learning fun with a game-based approach using animated videos and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets.
One example of how we will use VR and biofeedback to teach bullies self-control is by loading the student’s avatar into a VR scenario with a boat on the ocean that will become peaceful or disturbed in response to the child’s emotional state. The child will earn points if they can “calm the ocean” by calming themselves down.
Where will your dollars go?
Your dollars will:
● Buy special VR headsets with EEG sensors and biofeedback hardware/ software (to see if the kids’ physical/emotional health is improving);
● Develop animated videos, VR scenarios, and games;
● Incentivize children, parents, and teachers to help test our intervention
The Mindful Youth Institute is a 501 (c)(3) public charity. All donations are tax-deductible. Go to mindfulyouthinstitute.org for more information.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion… People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love… For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” -Nelson Mandela