Studies confirm that between 15 percent to 25 percent of U.S. students are bullied with varying frequency, states the Health and Human Services Stop Bullying Now! website. Bullying at school, home or in the neighborhood can leave victims feeling powerless, anxious, angry and depressed. Government and private organizations work with school systems and parents nationwide in anti-bullying campaigns designed toward prevention and intervention. Anti-bullying education includes role-playing techniques and games that teach kids how to better cope with bullies.
Educational Online Games
Many online games designed to entertain as well as teach children important lessons about bullying flourish on the Internet. McGruff.org's Shrink the Cyberbully is an animated question-answer game that quizzes children about appropriate responses to handle growing numbers of cyberbullies. Stop Bullying Now! and PBS Kids websites also contain animated games that test children's knowledge of the best ways to "beat the bully."
Tolerance And Respect
An anti-bullying game based on Simon Says teaches children that other students have shared qualities and differences, likes and dislikes. One student becomes "Simon" and directs the other players to do what Simon says. The Education world website illustrates how the student will make a statement such as, "Simon says 'Everyone who likes caramel corn, stand up,'" and caramel-corn lovers obey and stand. When the game is over, a teacher or facilitator asks the students to identify one new thing they learned about another student that wasn't already known. The game demonstrates diversity and similarity shared by all students, and helps kids learn to be tolerant of others.
Games to Help Express Emotions
Other games, such as the Anger Suit described on the Education World website, allow children to explore feelings of anger and frustration. A child puts on an old suit or overcoat and must act out what anger looks, sounds and feels like. Teachers or parents encourage the child to fully examine the emotion of anger in the the bully and the bully's target during a period of conflict. Children discuss how to cope with and resolve bullying situations, and the anger associated with it.
A game called "A Safe Pair of Hands," designed by Jenny Mosley Consultancies for Circle Time Sessions in the U.K., first teaches children the meaning of the expression "lend a hand." After children grasp the meaning of the phrase, each child in the group tosses a pair of dice. The first child to roll an even number grabs a card from a box or a bag that makes a statement about a bullying situation. Others in the group make suggestions to solve the problem on the statement by first saying, "I can lend you a hand. Would it help if you/I/we…?" Children are thanked and praised for the suggestions.
The Swarm Practice
The Ask A Cop website suggests kids band together to create The Swarm whenever they witness bullying incidents. Children practice duplicating the swarming behavior of bees, moving together as a group fresh from the hive toward a bully and her target to remove the victim and defuse the situation. The website states that people "who try to intimidate others by mean words or actions fall apart when they face a force bigger than their own."