Developed through an innovative partnership between Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI) researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and multimedia experts from Life Changing Experiences (LCE) and Mobile Cinema Park, Free2B is an evidence-based, 3D interactive bullying prevention program for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
Bullying in schools is a critical roadblock to children learning and achieving their full potential. Research has demonstrated that 29 percent of youth report they were bullied within the past year and 80 percent of youth are bystanders to bullying. It is particularly important to engage middle school students with bullying prevention techniques and awareness as research shows that bullying increases in late childhood and peaks in early adolescence.
Students at Philadelphia's G.W. Childs Elementary School react to the 3D portion of Free2B.
Free2B is an innovative 90-minute scientifically grounded assembly for 6th-8th graders that transforms school auditoriums into an interactive and technologically sophisticated cinema. The program provides important bullying prevention and conflict resolution information to youth through a powerful 3D narrative, video testimonials, and an audience-interactive component using hand-held voting devices. Our Community-Based Participatory Research approach combines best practice science with feedback from a range of community stakeholders across urban and suburban school settings, making Free2B universally relevant yet scientifically rigorous and sensitive to youth across diverse communities.
The comprehensive Free2B bullying prevention program includes:
- Showing the 3D interactive peer bullying multimedia experience
- Brief pre- and post-program assessments that are integrated into the show itself through the use of handheld devices
- School reports based on information collected during the show, by which schools can determine their strengths, challenges, and next steps in bullying prevention programming
Free2B is designed for middle school students approximately 12-14 years old in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The program has been implemented in schools in the Philadelphia area, as well as in Montana, Texas, and Utah. Also, with funding support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, students in 40 schools across the state of PA received Free2B during the 2016-2017 school year.
To date, close to 30,000 middle school students across the United States have received Free2B.
In the recent PA state-funded dissemination of Free2B with over 14,000 students, results suggest that participants demonstrated statistically significant improvements in problem-solving knowledge and attitudes about bullying from pre- to post-show. For example, students improved in:
- Recognizing it is important to take deep breaths and look at a situation prior to reacting (31% improvement)
- Recognizing it is important to pay attention to others’ facial expressions & body language to make an informed decision as to why something happened (16.6% improvement)
- Recognizing that bullying is NOT a normal part of growing up (48.6% improvement)
- Confidence in being a positive bystander/knowing what to do to help someone who is bullied (6.3% improvement)
- Sympathy for victimized peers (3.8% improvement)
In addition, students rated Free2B as highly acceptable, as demonstrated by:
- 88.0% of students indicated that Free2B “Teaches skills to stop bullying”
- 81.4% of students indicated that Free2B “Deals with important issues”
- 83.8% of students indicated that Free2B is a “Fun way to learn about bullying”
Internationally, 5,000 students in Mexico and 130,000 students in Israel have experienced Free2B. The research team at CHOP is poised to examine the impact of these shows, as well as to conduct national and international comparative studies.
The impact of Free2B will be increased through an ongoing cycle of evaluation, production refinements, outreach, and dissemination-- the Free2B Framework. Specifically, this framework helps to achieve ongoing relevance, expansion, and impact over time. The Free2B team aims to capitalize on the initial success and excitement of Free2B to inspire and create school-specific anti-bullying action plans, mobile apps, and other technological innovations for edutainment (a combination of education and entertainment) in order to help children continue learning and practicing bullying prevention skills.
Free2B is led by a group of research leaders from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Drs. Stephen Leff, PhD, Tracy Waasdorp, PhD, MEd, Brooke Paskewich, PsyD, and Flaura Winston, MD, PhD.,who collectively have expertise in bullying and school-based prevention, public health and injury prevention, sophisticated design and statistics, and strategies for large-scale dissemination. They are joined by Ori Yardeni, an expert in edutainment and technology.
For information on scheduling a showing of Free2B, please contact:
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