A Groundbreaking Survey on What Kindness Means to Kids
For questions, please contact Dr. Oliver Scott Curry, Chief Science Officer, Kindness.org oliver @ kindness.org or Adam St. Bernard Jacobs, Director of Development and Communications, The National School Climate Center at Ramapo for Children, ajacobs @ ramapoforchildren.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kid Kindbase Launches, Surveying Young People Ages 9-17 on Acts of Kindness
A new study to see how youth understand and practice kindness through everyday actions
NEW YORK (May 10th, 2023) — National nonprofits kindness.org, Welcoming Schools and the National School Climate Center at Ramapo have joined together to create Kid Kindbase, the first ever database of kind acts, created for and rated by kids. The organizations have just launched a survey to inform Kid Kindbase, looking to create a database with hundreds of acts of kindness, rated by a representative sample of children (ages 9-17) across the United States. The database has been informed by everyday acts that have been gathered through studies, research, and young people themselves.
This study examines how children understand and choose kindness, how this changes with age, and how it differs from adults’ understanding. The online survey, which will collect responses from over 2,000 young people, asks them to rate 20 daily acts (out of a starting list of almost 1,000). They will rate the acts in terms of cost, benefit, and kindness, and the results will reveal the most significant ways kids choose kindness, showing adults and kids alike how “being kind” can move from an idea into an impactful action. The results will also give us profound insight into the ways children’s understanding of kindness changes as they get older, providing the basis for the most effective resources for choosing kindness by age and phase of development.
Finally, Kid Kindbase will help identify the differences in children’s understanding of kindness with adults (and potential cross-generation misunderstandings), and establish the significance of bias, bullying and isolation relative to the other problems children face. Ultimately, by hearing directly from young people, adults can begin to address the various challenges youth face (including any caused by individual interactions and those caused by the systems that discriminate on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more).
Why is this work important?
We know intuitively what is kind, and these intuitions shape how we are kind in our lives. Yet, new theories and a growing body of research illustrates how our intuitions diverge from the way kindness cognitively operates, both in how we act and how we perceive others. How confident should adults be, then, that our intuitions match young people’s intuitions about kindness and how kindness operates cognitively for them?
At the same time, tools, resources and campaigns are frequently built for youth without their input. Kid Kindbase invites young people to tell us what kindness looks like, what kind acts matter most, and then apply those findings in wide-reaching ways. Many resources and campaigns aimed at helping youth don’t include them at the onset and thus the recommendations are misaligned and impractical. This study disrupts that by having youth voices integrated from start to finish.
“Humans have a remarkable capacity for kindness, and the benefits to those giving and receiving it are immense. We know that kindness emerges early in infancy. But we don’t know how children’s understanding of kindness grows and develops, and how it differs from adults’ understanding. We also don’t yet know which types of kind acts children are most likely to do, and which have the greatest impact. We are uniquely positioned to answer these questions.” – Oliver Scott Curry, Chief Science Officer, kindness.org
“Centering youth voices is essential in creating an equitable future for all. Our work is based on decades of research and student-led offerings in schools around the U.S., and we look forward to learning more about how young people perceive kindness in action. We are glad to partner with kindness.org and Welcoming Schools on this exciting new study, and are grateful to The Choose Kindness Project for bringing us together.” –Sabrina Evans-Ellis, Executive Director, National School Climate Center at Ramapo
“Our mission at Welcoming Schools is to uplift school communities with critical tools to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students. As students learn about identities different from their own, they develop respect and build empathy towards others. Understanding how youth show and view acts of kindness will provide educators insight into effective ways to prevent bias-based bullying in school communities. We are proud to be a part of this kindness.org project, learning and collaborating with other organizations central to the mission of bringing out the goodness and humanity of those around us.” –Cheryl Greene, Director, Welcoming Schools
NSCC, Welcoming Schools, and kindness.org are founding members of the Choose Kindness Project, an alliance of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations that champion three major issue areas affecting children and teens: bullying prevention, intentional inclusion and youth mental wellness.
Kid Kindbase officially launched on Wednesday, May 10th.
Kindness.org is a research-led nonprofit dedicated to educating and inspiring people to choose kindness first. Through a research hub, Kindlab, kindness.org investigates the costs and benefits of kindness, and the role it can play in solving our world’s most urgent problems. These findings are used to create action-based products and programs that bring effective kindness to schools, communities, and workplaces around the world. Launched in 2020, Learn Kind has served more than 180,000 students around the world – and more every day.
About Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools is the most comprehensive bias-based bullying prevention program in the nation to provide LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive professional development training, lesson plans, booklists and resources specifically designed for educators and youth-serving professionals. Our program uses an intersectional, anti-racist lens dedicated to actionable policies and practices. We uplift school communities with critical tools to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.
About The National School Climate Center at Ramapo for Children
The National School Climate Center at Ramapo (NSCC) is a leading provider of school climate supports for schools, districts, and community organizations nationwide. NSCC engages over 50,000 people each year, partnering with schools to build positive cultures where all young people can thrive. NSCC has decades of experience providing research-based programs that support students, families, educators, and communities.