KiVa method against bullying and bullying

The key to ending bullying is raising awareness and mobilizing schoolmates to take sides. This is what the KiVa method proposes, an effective program against bullying.

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz on September 25, 2021.

Last update: September 25, 2021

Bullying is one of the biggest social problems of our time. Children and adolescents are attacked, isolated and humiliated inside and outside the classroom by their peers, without the educational institutions being able to offer adequate solutions. The KiVa method emerges as an innovative and effective proposal to end this.

According to recent reports, 9 out of 10 children who are victims of bullying they end up developing serious emotional problems, such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. These can last for years, since the consequences of bullying take root in the child's personality in formation. The KiVa method is intended to involve the entire educational community to prevent and act early.

What is the KiVa method?

The KiVa method is a project commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of Education and developed by a group of experts in Child Relations from the University of Turku. It was created in 2006 with the clear objective of ending bullying among students.

Its main lines of action are based both on the prevention of bullying as in the intervention before the declared cases. Its greatest particularity? It does not focus on the victim or the harasser, but rather puts the focus of attention on the peer group.

If the entire educational community is involved, but especially classmates, it is possible to change the dynamics. When students line up and position themselves in defense of the victim, the aggressor stops receiving validation from the group; it no longer obtains support or benefits and ceases its activities.

What does it consist of?

The KiVa method is an organized protocol that addresses all phases of the process. Just as the main objective is in prevention, it also contemplates measures to be implemented in the event that the bullying is produced.

When the bully does not receive validation from the peer group, they may cease their behavior.

Prevention

It is frequent that many of the students react laughing to the aggressions towards a classmate. And that another important percentage keep silent for fear of reprisals and group pressure. The KiVa method is intended to inform, raise awareness and mobilize students to take sides.

To achieve this, a structured program has been created that is implemented in different phases. When children are between 7 and 9 years old, when they are between 10 and 12 and, finally, between 13 and 15 years old.

The protocol consists of 20 classes taught during the school year in which children are taught the different types of bullying, its consequences and the influence that they themselves can have to prevent or stop it. Through talks, debates, realization of work or games of role-play, students explore important areas such as empathy, social skills, and teamwork.

What's more, teachers receive materials to work with and instructions to act in cases of bullying. Similarly, families are helped to know how to identify whether their children are involved in bullying.



Intervention

Some of the most important measures to apply to act on cases of harassment are the following:

  • It establishes a virtual mailbox where students can report anonymously bullying situations.
  • When suspecting a case, several teachers monitor and investigate the situation and they intervene by talking to the harasser and the victim.
  • When a bullying situation is detected, several peers from the victim's environment (especially students who have a good status in the class) are encouraged to actively support the child.


What results has the KiVa method shown?

Since its inception, the KiVa method It has been tested in a multitude of studies and a large national randomized trial. offering magnificent and encouraging results. The largest research was carried out in Finland, taking 234 schools in the country and including 30,000 students between 7 and 15 years old.

The results showed that the bullying it had disappeared in 79% of schools. In addition, its general incidence and the number of victims of harassment had been reduced in the rest.

On the other hand, it seems to offer other beneficial effects. It has been found that the implementation of this method increases student motivation, improves coexistence among them and increases their emotional well-being. Additionally, these value-trained children are likely to become valuable members of a more just society.

The KiVa method has been proven to improve children's well-being, increasing healthy group dynamics.

What do you need to consider?

The KiVa method is the anti-bullying most studied in the world. It is already part of more than 90% of schools in Finland and has been exported to various countries, such as France, Belgium, Sweden or the United States, offering great results. Even so, this protocol has not reached all schools on the planet.

In order to implement it in an educational center, it is essential that the country is part of the KiVa network. And it is that, to apply the method, it is necessary to offer specific materials and training to teachers.

Despite the above, KiVa method is likely to continue to expand to more and more schools, regions and countries, as it has proven to be an effective and relatively simple alternative to implement. If this project teaches us anything, it is that ending bullying is an issue that concerns us all.