Modelling, Explicit Teaching
Newscasters love to share stories of kids as young as three years old calling 911 to save a parent’s life. These stories bear out what research has shown us: Very young children have a propensity to be kind and helpful. Starting as early as 18 months, studies show, toddlers spontaneously help an adult who is unable to pick up something he dropped or finds himself in a similarly tricky situation. Being kind at a cost to themselves makes two year olds happy, and three year olds who cooperate on a task share rewards even when they don’t have to. But a recent study suggests that, like adults, kids are also subject to a major obstacle to helping: the bystander effect. That’s when being part of a group paralyzes people from coming to the aid of someone in need—a phenomenon well documented by social psychologists. In this study, five year olds were coloring pictures when they witnessed an adult “accidentally” spill colored water all over her desk. But there was a twist. Explicit teaching.
Related: The Bystander Effect
• An Introduction to the Bystander Effect
• Bystander effect and how to counteract it
• Bystander Effect
• The Bystander Effect & How to Counteract It
Related: The Bystander Effect & How to Counteract It