Welcome to the revolution!
Bullying is the leading cause of concern reported in wellbeing surveys by children and adolescents in primary and lower secondary school.
For over 40 years, research and interventions into bullying behaviours have not significantly reduced the rates of bullying globally. When the pioneers in this area first started their work, it was because they could see children suffering from the behaviour of other kids towards them. Even though this was often dismissed as being “just a part of life” or as being a normal part of childhood that kids would “get over” in time, they could see that kids were being really harmed by it. Thus, anti-bullying work started because people wanted to stop kids being harmed.
But over time, perhaps because they didn’t have much success, the direction of research shifted. It was as though researchers began to question the usefulness of their work. Questioning if maybe they were measuring bullying wrong, so they tightened definitions and focussed their research on measurement. Or maybe there would be some answers in perpetrator factors, so they focused their research on investigating the personality factors of people who bully others, or of people who are victims of bullying. They drifted towards finding causes of behaviour, and away from stopping the harms that were caused, and lost their way.
As a result of this shift in direction, all the interventions and solutions that have evolved from research in recent years have been targeted at finding ways for kids to get better at handling bullying - building their resilience, developing their social skills, and toughening them up to defend themselves against bullying - while almost no research at all has been put into the possibility that ending bullying in the first place is an option. World leaders in this field don’t seem to believe that it’s possible to stop bullying.
We believe that change is possible, and that just because something seems impossible does not mean that it is; it just means we haven't found the solution yet. And we don't find the solution by giving up. We believe that we need more than new strategies and interventions. We need a new perspective. We need to take a great big step back and look at this whole situation differently.
We started The Bullying Revolution as a social change project, and it has grown into a global social enterprise. We had been working with kids in schools, kindergartens, in early intervention, and in counselling settings for many years, and over that time we saw many children who had suffered from bullying and its effects. Over time, we became very frustrated with a system that was focused on building life rafts and sending kids out into tsunamis.
We have seen first hand, time and time again, the impacts that bullying has on kids. We care about bullying because people are hurt by it. We care about kids developing anxiety and depression and mental health issues. Chidlren are nine times more likely to develop depression if they've been bullied, and three times more likely to commit suicide if they’ve been bullied. Their self worth plummets, they lose their confidence, they lose their hope for the future, and in far too many cases, they lose their lives. Suicide is the leading cause of death of young people in Australia. More kids die from suicide than from drownings, cancer, drugs, or car crashes... in fact, more young people in Australia die from suicide than car crashes, drownings and all cancers combined! This is a massive issue, and something we don't want any children to have to face.
Around half of all children and adolescents report having experienced bullying. We aim to get the bullying rate down to zero percent. That is our mission: to create a world that is free of bullying. Although that may sound impossible, we aim to continue working towards it until we achieve it.
We have often heard people who are the world leaders in this field say things at conferences such as, “I think we all know that bullying is a part of life that we can never eradicate completely.” We challenge this attitude as defeatist. We refuse to accept that the best way (some even argue the only way) to deal with bullying is to teach kids to get better at tolerating it. This approach and belief system hinders and prevents real change.
We like things that are impossible because we believe that impossible just means that we haven’t found the right answer yet to make something possible. We need to get creative to find a solution.
Creating a revolution
Part of our vision at The Bullying Revolution is to find and connect with a community of people who, like us, believe that we can end bullying.
In the last couple of years we have been fortunate to be able to share some of our ideas and our approaches at conferences and world forums. We have spoken of some of the challenges we see in the world of anti-bullying work, such as how the focus of research has taken us off course and further away from our objective to end bullying, and how changes to the definitions and measurement of bullying has contributed to statistical improvements that we see in the bullying research while the lived experience of people in the real world is that nothing is really changing.
After the World Anti-Bullying Forum in Stockholm this year, where we presented on challenges with definitions of bullying in research, people told us that every session they attended after ours they saw through a different lens. We gave them a different context through which to appraise the research and information they were hearing, and whether it was focused on the right things - to harm and wellbeing, or to definitions and numbers. It gave them a different filter.
We are not asking you to throw away everything you know about bullying. In the first instance, we just want to give you a tool to help you look at it differently.
UnBullying is about uniting people for revolutionary change. It’s about connecting and engaging with people who are ready to embrace or consider a new approach, or are ready to accept that that way we’ve been doing things hasn't been working, and that it’s time to look at the problem differently.
We wrote this book with the idea of being a resource, as well as an introduction to The Bullying Revolution and our approach. It gives a bit of insight into the things we see needing to change and some of the ways that we think we can create lasting sustainable change in the world of bullying.
UnBullying is also primarily about the wellbeing of kids. Ultimately, that is what it is important. Why do we want to end bullying? Why is bullying a problem? The reason we want to end bullying is because people are being harmed by it. Lives are being ruined. We care about bullying because we care about kids - we care about their lives and their wellbeing and their happiness.
Our approach to ending bullying is through creating a global culture of kindness. We see a united world free of the negative effects of bullying behaviours where kindness, compassion, equality, empathy, and understanding are valued and celebrated as the norm rather than the exception. Where we teach kindness instead of punishing mistakes. Where we educate through our example as adults and role models.
Do you want to help kids? Do you want to really make a difference? If you do, this is your chance. Change is possible. In fact, it’s inevitable. We really just have to choose the kind of change we want.
When we talked about crowdfunding the production of UnBullying, and creating rewards, and what might make people interested in pledging for a copy of our book, our discussion led us to the realisation that this is not actually about the book. It is not about whether people buy one copy or three copies or five copies of a book. It is about whether they feel equipped and informed and educated and engaged enough to be ready to make a difference or to want to make a change.
UnBullying is targeted to a varied audience - parents, teachers, school authorities, mental health practitioners. Anyone who is interested in understanding a new approach to bullying will find something useful in this book.
As such, we have created rewards that will appeal to a wide range of interested revolutionaries. Parents, teachers, schools, corporations. Some of these include autographed copies of the book, virtual chats with the creators, workshops, professional development packages, and school sponsorship options.
Funds and Schedule
We need to raise $10000 to fund the creation, publication and distribution of UnBullying. We are aiming to have this book out in time for the start of the new school year. We would love to have your support to share our approach and grow the revolution so we can make a huge impact on as many lives as possible, help as many kids as we can, create a culture of kindness, and make a really big difference towards bringing the global bullying rate down to zero.
From all of us at The Bullying Revolution, thank you for your support of our work and our project, and for helping us make UnBullying possible!
Risks and challenges
The risks of this project are very low. We have completed the content and design, and are working with editors and printers regarding publishing and distribution.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)