UNICEF released a report outlining the level of violence and bullying in the world’s schools. It’s staggering.
“Violence against children is universal, in all countries, in all settings,” says Claudia Cappa, senior adviser on statistics, UNICEF, who analyzed the data for the report. “At the same time, it manifests in ways that can be really different.”
For some kids – it’s other kids harassing them. For others, it’s the teachers who are meting out physical and verbal abuse. According to the report – 720 million children live in areas where corporal punishment is legal – and kids have literally been killed by their teachers.
I’m not saying that to badmouth teachers. In most places – teachers really care.
So what does this mean for those of us who want to see bullying and violence against children end? I have a plan. It’s audacious, but it’s doable – if people work together to make it happen.
I know how to make bullying and harassment stop using behavioral psychology techniques. Bullying and harassment is obviously a problem. It affects all aspects of our society. Pretty much everyone would love to live in a society where all people are treated with dignity and the bullies of the world – never learn how to harass people in the first place. Imagine if … we created a generation of kids who were never bullied and where kids learned – bullying doesn’t work from a really young age – so no kids ever develop into bullies. Now, imagine what happens when those kids – who never learned to bully and who were never bullied – because adults. What would be society be like – if a generation of kids grew up knowing how to ethically and compassionately shut bullying down so that – it just never happens? It would be transformative in a way – we can’t even imagine.
The crazy thing is – that’s doable. It only takes a couple of kids in each class to shut bullying down so that it never takes root. The skills required are easy to teach and rely on compassionate and ethical behavior to work. What needs to happen to make this happen? We need to teach the science of how exactly unwanted behaviors are “extinguished” to kids. To do that – we need to teach the adults around them these skills and knowledge so that they can teach this to the kids. We don’t just need to teach this to the teachers. We need to teach it to parents. All parents. Where are the parents? In the workplace. Being subjected to bi-annual sexual harassment training that tells them “it’s illegal. Don’t do it. And if it happens. Report it.” We all know those trainings don’t work. They don’t actually teach anyone how to actually make harassment stop. But – what if they did?
What if, instead of a training that taught the law and nothing else, we actually taught adults how to make harassment stop in the workplace using behavioral science and humanistic ethical behavior? Everyone I speak to about this gets really excited – because everyone would REALLY like that. If we did that – we could not only help improve workplace culture – we would also be teaching parents what they need to know to help their kids successfully deal with bullying in school. And that – would help us get the 2 or 3 kids we need in every classroom with the skills to shut aggressive behavior by their fellow students down so that no one learns how to bully, and no kid is bullied. It would protect the entire class. Think of this as a way to create herd immunity to bullying. It’s why my book on this is called The Bully Vaccine.
My big goal is to change the entire industry that does harassment training so that all training provide the information people actually need to make a better future possible.
If you want me to offer a harassment training for your company – contact me – I’m happy to help. https://humanistlearning.com/category/bullyingharassment/
If you are a school who wants this as a development program for teachers – I have a program for teachers too. So – let me know.