“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”
Martin Luther King
KiVa (which means nice) is an anti-bullying scheme that was developed in Finland. It is evidence based (i.e. every element is carefully thought through and tested based on research, in this instance 20 years worth) which enables the impacts to be measured.
KiVa has demonstrated a 98% improvement in the victims’ situation with bullying stopping in 86% of incidents. It educates and supports everyone involved, not just the bully and the victim. This systematic approach prevents issues from ‘falling through the cracks’ and makes it more effective than other schemes. Unfortunately there is very little evidence that the many other initiatives in use are effective (there are more statistics about bullying at the bottom of the page).
Schools who say they don’t have a problem with bullying are sadly misinformed. Bullying arises as part of group dynamics – it doesn’t mean anyone is weak or bad it just manifests as part of the complex interaction between humans. It happens everywhere and not just with children, statistics for example showing that 60% of public sector workers in the UK have either been bullied or witnessed bullying (ACAS, 2011). It’s therefore critical that we teach children how and why it occurs to equip them in preventing it.
Happier, Healthier Kids….
The great thing about KiVa (and what attracted me to it personally) is it’s also ‘Pro-Social’, teaching invaluable life skills. Skills that we increasingly neglect to teach in our education systems. For example, it embeds emotional resilience and emotional intelligence in children. Children involved are also more likely to reach their potential as adults and to have higher levels of psychological and physical well-being.
- Better social citizens (it is becoming ever more important to teach the skills involved with group dynamics as children become more insular in the way that they learn and interact via social media)
- Higher levels of self-esteem & self-confidence (not only buffering the negative impacts of social media but also building a better foundation for a happy and healthy life)
- More effective employees and employers (we teach children the academics to pass tests but to really succeed in life it’s critical to have good emotional intelligence and social skills)
- Healthier children, teenagers and ultimately adults (e.g. Victims of bullying still experience effects on physical and mental health at the age of 50, Takizawa et al., 2014)
Blue Sky Thinking – IF everyone were to learn and embed these ‘pro-social’ skills as children it could:
- Reduce the opportunity for negative leaders coming into power g. Mugabe, in turn reducing factors relating to conflict and humanitarian issues
- Minimise factors leading to global economic issues such as those faced in 2008 leading to a more economically stable world economy
- Dramatically reduce health care costs – more mentally healthy adults are more physically healthy e.g. a large factor influencing obesity is emotional eating. The current cost of obesity to the global economy is £1.3 trillion
- Realize the potential of effective, global teamwork – helping to find solutions to factors such as global warming, poverty, war, disease and famine
As part of my not-for-profit initiative I have been working with the University of Bangor who own the license for KiVa in the UK. So far they have rolled the scheme out across a number of schools in Wales with very positive results. I am facilitating its roll out in the South East of England. We have a number of schools signed up for September 2017 but not enough to hit the critical mass for the Professor and her PhD student to come down and train school staff this summer. I have had a number of incredibly helpful people try and connect me with schools but unless we are in contact with the head teacher directly it is very difficult to get any traction. Once they are involved we have seen very quick take up (because it is such a fantastic scheme). KiVa covers 50% of the PSHE curriculum, in effect reducing teachers’ workload (due to carefully planned lessons and provision of materials). There’s funding available which if successfully acquired makes the scheme more or less cost neutral.
Please do contact me if you think that there is anyone who may be able to help with this. Thank you!
Dot-to-Dot – Improving Lives Through Understanding Behaviour!
Additional Information on Bullying (as opposed to Pro-Social).
UK Bullying Statistics (Annual Bullying Survey 2016)
- 45% of children experience bullying before the age of 18
- 33% of those being bullied have suicidal thoughts
- Bullying undermines any child’s confidence and destroys their sense of security.
- 31% self harmed, 26% skipped class, 19% abused drugs,12% ran away from home
- Bullying causes sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, poor concentration, self-harm, depression and can lead to suicide.
Impacts are not just on the victim – effects on the Bully:
- Bullies learn to get what they want through force, justifying their actions by believing their victims deserve to be bullied. This can become embedded as a negative skill for life
- Bullies become removed emotionally from the suffering of their victims, this lack of empathy prevents them from forming lasting friendships. At the extreme this can lead to psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies.
- Adults who have bullied others as children show higher rates of:
- aggression, antisocial behavior, conviction for crime, difficulty controlling their emotions, traffic violations, conviction for drunk driving, depression and suicide.