Bullying is a complex process involving the bully, the intended victim, the bystanders, and the climate in which the bullying takes place. Bullies to Buddies is an educational game that deals with the complex nature of bullying in a way that primary school students can understand and learn specific skills. Players learn that all students must take a stand against bullying. For example, the target (intended victim) can use assertiveness skills to discourage bullying. If bystanders are present during the bullying or know about it beforehand, they can take action to discourage it. Regardless of when they learn about it (before, during, or afterwards), all bystanders can refuse to give the bully the status, popularity, and power that he/she is looking for. Bullying then ceases to be a useful tool for the bully to achieve his/her goals. Players learn in the game that they can do a great deal to discourage bullying, even with things as simple as telling a bully to stop or refusing to laugh at a bully's mean jokes. Students will learn skills to use when they are: A target of bullying who wants non-violent skills for stopping bullying. A bystander who wants to discourage bullying. A former bully who wants to gain popularity without resorting to bullying. Players also learn the difference between tattling and telling. Guidelines are given when it is appropriate to go to a trusted adult for help. Players earn points by giving advice to targets (intended victims), bystanders who are present during the bullying, bystanders who are not present but learn of the bullying later on or beforehand, and the bullies, themselves. Bullies to Buddies intentionally avoids putting players in the role either the intended victim or the bully, avoiding embarrassment and defensiveness. A 24 x 17 poster is included, so that teachers can continue to reinforce the skills learned by the players.
Objectives: Players learn that all students can work to prevent bullying, whether they are in the role of the target, bystanders, or the bully. Players learn non-violent skills that they can use as a target to fend off bullying. Players learn skills that bystanders can use to discourage bullying. Players learn positive "Bullies-to-Buddies" skills that they can use to achieve goals without resorting to bullying behaviour. Players learn that bullies often have certain goals and what those goals tend to be.