By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Kids helping kids fight bullying. Students in Southwest Philadelphia got to see their work on the big screen today. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl was there for the premiere.
Bullying is a problem in schools everywhere. A third of students say they’ve been picked on by bullies. Instead of lectures and reading about the problem, there’s a new high tech program to combat the problem.
Free2B starts with a 3-D movie. The glasses giving students at the Penrose Elementary School an up close view of bullying, and they see thoughts and feelings of victims that are rarely shared.
“Some people that used to be a bully or a victim they can relate to the people that was in the program, and they can see why it was wrong or why they need to stop,” said Ionesty Edwards, a 7th grader.
This is the debut of a new multimedia anti-bullying program that uses a variety of interactive tools. With hand held devices students respond to questions asked like, “where does bullying happen most at your school?” The majority answered the hallways.
“It’s just a matter of how do we change the focus or the lens so that everyone feels that whether I have power over you or not I’ll be responsible, and treat you as you want to be treated,” said Huie Douglas, the Principal at Penrose.
“I think it’s groundbreaking,” said Stephen Leff, a Psychologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He helped develop the program with the new violence prevention initiative at CHOP. Students at Penrose were also involved in finding ways to make it most meaningful.
“This is a totally different experience. It helps them with perspective taking, empathy awareness, and problem solving skills,” said Leff.
Research has shown that bullying increases and peaks in middle school – so this program is aimed at 7th and 8th graders.
Eventually the video will be used in conjunction with a six week curriculum in the classroom in more Philadelphia schools and around the country.
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