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Bully or Buddy/

Rosa Hendrikx // s128521 // B2.1 Eindhoven University of Technology Coach: Wina Smeenk 09-01-’14


Bully or buddy is a design project which focusses on bullying in primary school. Bullying is still an big problem and the consequences are to be taken seriously. The overall goal of the project was to prevent or reduce bullying. The process of bullying is in this project seen as a group process. And the underlying goals where: creating awareness and discuss ability in a way it is anonymous, it focus on the whole community, It is dynamic and it fits into the lives of children in primary school. A concept is developed which is based on this goals. The final concept is a system which focuses on different aspects of the bullying problem. It lowers barriers for expression about the problem, creates insight for the teacher and creates awareness in the class. The systems consists a box in which children can express themselves. They can crawl into it and in the mystic of the dark they can answer social questions. The teacher can analyse this results and can identify eventually problems or any need for talks with children. The children will in the end come aware because of the aquarium which is in the classroom, which is an indicator of the social situation in the group.

Title: Bully or Buddy Author: Rosa Hendrikx, Study: Industrial Design B2.1, s128521 Institute: Eindhoven University of Technology Project: Seize the Day Theme: Light Time Space Move Coach: Wina Smeenk Date: January 9, 2014



/Introduction /Research

Consequences Group roles Important factors Methods & interventions

6 8



/Vision /Idea Generation

16 18

Child Teacher

Pressure cooker Ideas Co-reflection

/Index 4

/Concept Development /Final Concept /Conclusion /Discussion /Sources /Appendices

26 34 40 42 46 47


Before you is the report of the project ‘Bully or Buddy’, written by Rosa Hendrikx. I am a B2.1 Industrial Design student at the Technical University of Eindhoven. This project was in the theme Light Time Space Move and was called ‘Seize the Day’ (For the Design Brief see appendix D). Within this project I explored the subject of bullying. A subject which is well known. Lots of people dealt with it. Nowadays the consequences are also known. But still it’s a problem, even though the impressive amount of research done and subsequent interventions en methods. After a pressure cooker I developed immediately a vision about this project, which was the leading factor during the semester. I wanted to focus on bullying as a group process. Underlying was that I wanted to create awareness and discuss ability.

/ Introduction 6

I had an interesting design process with ups and downs. During this process I was searching for the complete picture. In the end the pieces fell together and I developed a concept I am enthusiastic about.


Bullying is a field where research is done on a wide scale. I have readed several articles and I have substracted the parts which are relevant for this project. I have talked to people which where a bully and a vicitim to verify and find the right context. The following will introduce you to the problem and will describe the context wherein the concept is developed. Bullying is a problem, and even a bigger problem than you probably will think. At least 76% of the children is involved by the bullying of others[1]. Additional to this 65% of the chil-

dren mention that they are more or less bullied. Of this children

12% say that they are se-

riously bullied and also 12% say that they are a heavy bully. Looking at this numbers we can’t ignore the extend of the situation. S

/Research 8



Since bullying isn’t the most positive way of treating each other we can imagine that it will cause some problems. Research of SAQI [1] has pointed out some interesting consequences of bullying, which go beyond feeling ‘sad’. This focusing not only on the victim but also on the bully.


Bullying can be seen as a negative relationship between two persons: a bully and a victim. However we are going to approach it as a groups process[2]. This will give a better perspective on and understanding of the situation.

Bully The first thing and most common thing, is the degree of wellbeing at school. Having fun, feeling socially accepted and have a good relationship with the teacher. Things that are of great importance. However as well victims as bullies have a lower degree of wellbeing.


Besides feeling well at school, is an important factor of a good school course. Children involved with bullying have less motivation. Motivation results in orientation on learning tasks, concentration in the class and a certain homework attitude. In this way a lowered motivation has direct influence on the learning activity.


Something that’s part of a lot of things is Also this turned out to be lower by bullies and victims. This will lower the social skills, the skills to express themselves and the confidence by learning activities.

grades. Especially

Probably all of those things have influence on the learning activity of the children. This is also confirmed by a difference in the bullies score a lower average grade. Namely 6,72 instead of 7,13. By the victims the difference is smaller: 6,87 instead of 7,11.


Takes the initiative Person who is bullied


This children are not actively involved but are mostly there when it happens. They encourage the bully by for example laughing.


This children are not actively involved with bullying. They can also be there when it happens but they don’t participate neither try to stop it.


A defender will help the victim by actively take action against the bully. But they can also be a defender in a less outstanding way, by helping and support the victim after something has happened.


This are the ones who are actively involved in the process. They will help the bully, by doing also ugly things towards the victim like screaming and hurting.



/Important Factors

/Methods & Interventions

Group roles


There are many factors which play a role in the process of bullying. I have pointed out factors which are causes and parts of importance for bullying. Since the project is focusing on the groups process of bullying also the following factors will be. All those roles will have influence on the bully and the victim. How more people will follow or encourage the bully, how more bullying will take place. Also the other way around will when there are a lot defenders, de bullying will decrease. Also an important group are the outsiders. Maybe at the first place they do nothing wrong. But as they keep silent they sort of agree with the situation. This gives the victim and the bully the idea there’s nothing wrong. Which gives the bully a ‘go’ and the victim will feel more lonely. A remark that has to be made is that these roles are not static. You can be a bully and at the same time a defender of your friend. Or you can be a victim but at the same time bully someone else. This makes the situation complex and dynamic.

Group standard

The group decides what the standard is in the classroom. In this way the bullying is evaluated by the class. If the standard is that bullying is no problem, bully’s will have no reason to stop. This will mostly depend on the opinion of the popular children, because they are the ones the most children listen to. This is based on the similarity principle. When your opinion match the of the group you will not be rejected and the other way around.


Every human and so every child has goals. We act and evaluate on the hand of this goals. An important one is status; the relative position


of someone in the group. The word relative says it already: it goes at the expense of others. Through dominating you can get your status upgraded. But another important goal is affection; this means having good and valuable relationships with others. Important is that children can reach both goals even when they are a bully. This is because affection is not relative, and they will bully the children who are the most rejected by the group. In this way their affection will not become less. But when bullying will not be accepted by the group, the result will no longer be positive and they will be less motivated to bully.

There are many methods and interventions which are trying to prevent and solve the problem. To prevent you from losing yourself in this report I will only highlight some who had influence on my project.

Kiva[4,5] is based on theoretical insights which I described earlier in this report. It is mostly about the groups process. It focuses on the whole picture, so not only on the bully and victim. This anti bully program has as goal that more children will actively want to stop bullying, especially the outsiders. KiVa has been several times in the news and is remarked as successful, especially in Finland, where they started this program.

Family Constellations

Another part of the problem is the lack of awareness. Not being aware of yourself, others or the atmosphere in the class. For example not being aware of what the impact is on others about your actions which also comes with a lack of empathy. Not being aware of the situation or not being aware of the feelings of others. The teacher has also a role in this, he or she is not always aware of the situation.

Family Constellations[6] are introduced by Bert Hellinger. It’s psychotherapy, a systematic working way which will make a situation clear by setting up someone’s system. One person will make a constellation of the family by places everyone in the space in the way they are related to each other. This will make invisible relations between persons visible. Also it will make clear where the bottlenecks are and how to eventually solve them. This method inspired me regarding to compositions of children within the classroom.


Social Maps


Bullying is closely related to a low self-esteem[3]. The bully is insecure, so he or she wants to cover this and look better by bringing others down. On the other hand the insecurity of the victims make them an easy target. Furthermore the insecurity of the victim and the bystanders hold them back from standing up for themselves or for the victim. This also comes by fear for the bully. When you are a defender you have the risk to also be picked on by the bully. All these factors result

Nowadays most of the teachers who want to get insight in the social structure of the class do that by making social maps. This are maps based on the relationships between children. The teacher who I have met made it by writing down the children who play with each other and so a map was created.




The child is of the age of 8-10 and is currently in the 5th class of the primary school. Mostly of the daily activities consists learning and self-development. Also playing a lot with other children, being socially active. Furthermore being active besides school with sports or doing other hobbies.

The teacher is of the age of 30-50. He or she is a teacher in the 5th class of the primary school. On daily basis he or she teach school subjects. The teacher is the supervisor and keeps an eye on the situation in the class. He or she will be the helping hand by any of the problems which can occur in everyday school life. He or she is also the communication between the child’s behaviour in school and the parents.



playful Insecure Sometimes lack of empathy & understanding own and other feelings Can’t always foresee consequences actions Wants to be ‘cool’ or ‘popular’ Influenced by group standard


Affection Status Good school results

not always aware of situation in class helping & caring


Good social environment Development children Accepted and trusted by children Authority

/Persona For who will I design?




/Vision 16

The main goal of the project will be to prevent or reduce bullying. The underlying goal will be to create awareness and discuss ability. The key points which are important are simplicity, acceptance and fitting in context. Acceptance will be created by providing anonymity. This will help to overcome insecurity to say something about it. Also the focus will be on the whole community, not just the bully or victim. Furthermore the project has to fit in context. Therefore the design has to be able to handle the dynamic process of bullying and social interaction within a school class. It has to be apply able in different situations. Furthermore it has to fit in the lives of young children in primary school, by responding to their daily routines and activities.


/Idea Generation 18

After I defined my context, vision, personas and so my direction for the project I started to generate ideas. However this idea generation started already the first week with the pressure cooker. With the use of brainstorms I thought out a wide scale of ideas. To evaluate ideas I co-reflected together with a teacher. Which resulted in the starting point for the concept development.


/Pressure Cooker


The first week of the project ‘Seize the day’ was a Pressure Cooker. At the end of the week you had to come up with a direction and first concept(s). I did some short research, brainstormed and came up with the direction of bullying. I thought out a concept which provides anonymous communication between classmates to become aware of each other.

Concept Every child has a sort of representation of the class at home. You are the middle, the big circle, and the others in the class are represented by the small circles. When you feel unhappy in the class, you can put yourself out of the community. (1) At all the other children’s products there will go one small circle out of the community.(2) In this way they become aware of the fact that someone (they don’t know who, is feeling not good in the class). After this they can let the person who placed him or herself out the community know that they think of them, want to help them etc. They do that to put the small circle back in the community again. (3) The person who placed him or herself out of the community will get feedback through a light every time someone does this. (4) This will reduce the feeling of loneliness by the victim and will increase the awareness by the other children. An important point of this idea is that it is anonymous. To increase the level of acceptance and expression.





After idea generations/brainstorms a sort of system was developed to give more insight in the structure of the ideas. It consisted input, system and output. The system needed input from the teacher or/and the children about the situation in the class. The system will process the input towards an output which is usable for the children in the classroom. For the input, system and output different ideas where generated.




Input ideas

Output ideas

All this ‘input’ ideas are ways to get input from the children or the teacher about the situation.

All this ‘output’ ideas are ways to use the input for a usable purpose in the classroom.


Where are you? Game

The children play a ‘game’ in which they ask indirect questions like ‘with who do you want to go to the zoo’ etc. With this input a social structure is created.

Yes or No

Every child can state if they are happy or unhappy in the group, if they feel inside or outside the social structure. It is anonymous.

Every child can place themselves in the group, but they do not know who the others are. So they make their social place visible by placing them relative to the other kids who are already there. It is anonymous.

There will be a visualization of the structure in the class. Everyone can see it and it will be a conversation starter.


We use the social structure as composition for a game. E.g. children take a random position and then going to move towards the ideal situation. They talk about their places etc. It will need coaching from the teacher.

Influence learning

The learning activity will be influenced when the social structure changes. E.g. when the situation is unlikely the smart board stops working.


Every child makes a composition of the group. They composite the class with use of the names. They place the children relative towards each other and make groups etc.

System Ideas The possible forms the sytem could be in are an application, the internet/computer or a tangible.

Social map

With the use of questions regarding to friendships and social behaviour in the class a social map is created which shows the social structure of the group.



/Co-reflection To evaluate the ideas with an expert and make up an composition of ideas which will fit the best, I had a co-reflection session with a primary school teacher. (For detailed results see the appendix B)

For the input the ‘composition’ will be an interesting one. The teacher will get interesting insights in the structure of the class but also about the self-reflection of the children. It will be a conversation starter. It will also give insights in the values of children. E.g. are they unhappy with their position? Or do they don’t mind being alone. Another important point is that it’s indirect. ‘yes or no’ or ‘where are you’ are too direct. Children will not be honest or will use the system for the wrong reasons. The ‘game’ input will also be a good way to get input from the children. Asking indirect questions will also be a good way to gain input. However the teacher was more enthusiastic about the composition. For the system there is not one which is preferable. They will all work in the current situation of primary education. For the output is ‘visualization’ a good starting point. But there has to be a positive approach, value and goal added. It has to be something which is there but there is no need to do immediately something with the output. Influence the learning activity will not work because it lessons will be interrupted too much and children will probably use it in a wrong way. Furthermore the ‘game’ output is interesting. But it will be hard to realize because children need to have empathy. This is not always the case. Also with this output there is even no need for input. It is more a game singly, with examples to give insight instead of the real situation. We can draw an conclusion from this co-reflection session. For the input the composition was be reflected as most valuable. But also the game will be interesting. Therefore I am going to look at both options. There was no preference for the system. And for the output we came together op something which was a visualization, but with a certain goal and a positive approach.



/Concept Development 26

With the results of the co-reflection I started to develop my concept further. First I worked out the system which is the core of the concept. After that I defined what the input and output would be. The loose ideas became more one I and started working out the concept.



The co-reflection resulted in a new system with ideas for the input and the output.

Important in this system is the evaluation by the teacher which will result in private conversations with children. It is needed to first evaluate the situation with the child separately than immediately share it with the whole class. This is important because the problems that eventually exist has to become clear to the teacher and child and they have to discuss what is needed to solve it. Maybe the problem needs to stay anonymous or not, or the class will not be involved at all.



The direction of the input was defined during the co-reflection: a composition/ game. However this idea needed steps to become a real concept. The question was: how to make a composition which will clear up the social structure in the class?


Expert meeting

With the use of creative techniques cards I brainstormed about the way it you could composite. Clearly was that I wanted to find groups and connections between children. A wide variety of ideas appeared. Making connections between the children, how more connections the more positive the relation is, working with circles based on territories, heights, colours and positions from above in different places(for the results see the appendix C).

Together with a data visualization expert the idea was discussed. The conclusion of this meeting was that the processing of the data is difficult but possible. I had to find a way to get data out of the composition in a way it can be processed. The most important design question which occurred was: how are you going to trigger this children to firstly do it and secondly get the right data. Then the idea of light popped up.


Light I thought out how I could use light as a tool to make this composition. I thought about using LED’s and shadows. During sketching I explored different ideas and came out by the idea of using the mystic of darkness to provide a trigger, and use gradients of lights to make compositions.

The idea I wanted to create a dark place in which children could crawl. A little house or box. This will trigger children, because they are curious and often crawl into small places, houses and corners. The darkness provided anonymity and the feeling of safety to be honest, an important focus point of my project. In this box they could make compositions based on social questions. The light is used to make the processing of the data possible: light sensors are used to catch the amount of light and so indicate where something is placed.

The Box The make this dark and secret place and ‘crawl’ happen I developed a box. The box form is a black square. The form does not indicate of say much. This is to make the children curious. What will be inside? And also to let it be an anonymous place, where you can’t see at the outside what’s happening inside.



Relations and groups

To make the compositions, pawns which represent children where needed. After some form exploration through sketching, a flat circle was created. This form was chosen based on some requirements. Namely: a light sensor has to be fit on it and be visible during all times. It has to be easy to pick up and is has to be easy to see who is represented by the pawn. Furthermore a picture was chosen over a name to represent a child. I did this to make it more intuitive. The pawns will be presented at a round table.

Examples of questions:

Questions When the children enter the box one by one they get a question. This questions have to give answers which provide data about the social structure in the class. The teacher wants to know what the groups are, which children eventually are ‘left over’, indicate bully behaviour or other negative behaviour and get clear what the relationships between children are. To get this information out of the children there can be two kinds of questions asked. Namely questions related to relationships and groups and questions related to individual behaviour. The questions are evaluated together with a teacher. The conclusion was that indirect questions will answered the most honest. But also really direct questions can be asked. It will be optimal if the teacher can have a list with questions but also can think of questions by him or herself.

The questions will be indirect. This to make it easier for the children to answer and to be honest. The questions are partly anonymous. The children have to place themselves in the middle when they ask a question, this to make clear what the connections are. In this way it will not be fully anonymous because they include themselves by the questions regarding to groups.

- With who do you prefer working together? - You can go to an island with 3 of your classmates who will you choose? - You sit in a bus with a school trip, who is sitting next to you? - …


Question can also be asked on a more individual level. These questions will be anonymous. Examples of questions: - Who is a leader? - Who is popular? - Who says sometimes ugly things to others? - …


Data processing In this box a spot of light will be placed. This will provide different gradients of light. In the middle the light intensity will be the highest and will decrease how further you go to the side of the circle. Light sensors in the pawns will catch the light and will process a value through Arduino.

Output The output will be a visualization. But with a ‘shared’ goal and a positive approach. It will be an indicator of the situation in the class and it has to provide a certain goal to motivate children. To realize this I choose to use fishes as starting point. Something what’s in the interest of young children and which can be an easy tool for changing visualization. Two things had to become clear: how will the fishes indicate the situation and how will it provide a goal? Gradients of light


The give the visualization a goal it will be a ‘growing system’. To provide this I created an aquarium. This aquarium will become more and more beautiful during the year. Fishes, plants, marines and colours will be added. When things go well the aquarium will grow, when things go wrong the aquarium will become less beautiful. Children will have affection with the fishes and want to have the most beautiful aquarium at the end of the year. This will be the goal for the children and the motivating factor. It will not be a real aquarium but a digital image. This is chosen to make it easy to change and to reduce costs. The aquarium will be at the background of the smart board and computers because this is an already existing screen in the class, so no new screens have to be added. Another important point is, based on the meeting with the teacher, that it preferable that it isn’t too present in the classroom. It has to be present in a subtle way and not disrupt the learning experience. Therefore the subtle way of the background was chosen.



The final concept is a system which focuses on different aspects of the bullying problem. It lowers barriers for expression about the problem, creates insight for the teacher and creates awareness in the class. The systems consists a box in which children can express themselves. They can crawl into it and in the mystic of the dark they can answer social questions. The teacher can analyse this results and can identify eventually problems or any need for talks with children. The children will in the end come aware of the aquarium which is in the classroom, which is an indicator of the social situation in the group. To describe the interaction with the final concept and to explain how it works a scenario is developed.(see appendix ..) The box The box is a small dark place in which the children can crawl. Inside there is a spot which is shining on a round table. On that table are pawns which represent the children in the class. The children will get a question as the enter the box, asked by a speaker. They can answer the question through placing the relevant people in the light.

/Final Concept 34

The aquarium The aquarium is a changing image at the background of the computers and smart board. The aquarium can develop itself positive by growing and negative by becoming less beautiful.


/The Box 36


/Positive Growing

/Negative Changing

/The Aquarium



/Conclusion 40

In the beginning of this project I developed a vision. A vision which gave direction for the project and made the goals clear. I wanted to create awareness, discuss ability in a way it is anonymous, it focus on the whole community, It is dynamic and it fits into the lives of children in primary school. I think I had a design process which was leaded by this vision. The goals I have set at the beginning are visible in the concept I finally developed. I have designed a system which focusses on the creating of awareness by the aquarium and which is in the end a tool to provide more discussion about bullying. During the project I became aware that there was a need for more insight to accomplish this goals. And I have done this through developing ‘the box’. The box is an anonymous place and isn’t designed for a particular situation but is applicable in several structures. The idea of bullying which is between a bully and victim is changed. Bully or buddy set the problem of bullying in the light of the group process. Where it is a problem of the whole group, but more important, that the solution also lies in the heart of the whole community of a primary school class.


/Discussion 42

We will have a closer look at the concept of Bully or Buddy and reflect on it. There are many things about Bully or Buddy which still can be questioned and improved. However this is an interesting start for further development of the concept but also for other concepts in the same area.


Context & design direction

At the start I choose bullying as the direction for this project. In my opinion an interesting direction but also a difficult direction. It is a field where a lot of research, interventions and methods already exist. And therefore there is a risk that you lose yourself in this. But I developed soon a vision and direction within this field. I think I found a direction which was interesting and a good way towards design opportunities.

Form & Senses

To create a secret, dark and anonymous place to answer the questions I designed the sort of ‘black box’. I assumed that it will make children curious. Also I assumed that they feel safe and anonymous in the box. But you can see it also the other way around. Maybe children will be afraid for it because it is dark and secret. Furthermore the black square could also be a more playful object. Such as a colourful house or an object where children can sit on, climb on etc. so it will be more interesting for children. Another point of discussion regarding to the form is that there’s now chosen for an object which will exist during all times. But you can also think of something you can built on and off. For example by using textiles and tables. This is because there is maybe no place for such a big object or it isn’t not practical to have it there all week if you need it just one day in a week. But if you do something like that it will not be practical to have a spot from above. There are more options than that, for example led the light come from the underside. In this way you create more one product which you can easily move also the experience will be different.


For the aquarium there is chosen to make a visualization,


which is on the background of computers and the smart board. But also with this there are way more options which aren’t yet explored. You could think of making the aquarium more interactive. For example let not just fishes be added by the system. But give children the change to draw a fish or something for the aquarium when it goes well and add that. In this way the affection will be higher. Furthermore, is the background the best place for the aquarium? It is there now because it should not be to present. But is it even seen when you put it on the background? And what if you place a more tangible aquarium in the back of the classroom which will be maybe more present but also more interactive. Will that be too present or will it be a better way?

Processing of data

I have chosen to use the values of the light sensors for data processing. However I didn’t work out exact how the data will be processed. This is something which is really important for the teacher. How will the data be visualized in such a way that the teacher can see easily and quick what’s going on in him or her class?

Graphic Design

In the concept and the presentation of the concept there are several parts which are graphic design. I didn’t think about creating an overall graphic style. Choose for one style will make the concept stronger and more coherent.


The questions are an important part of the concept. Because they will mostly decide the outcome of the compositions and

the further scenario. More questions should be developed. Also the questions should be validated about the outcome. In this way the teacher can apply a questions which fits the situation better.


The children will make a ‘composition’ on the hand of the questions. The data what will be processed are the values of the light sensors. However out of this compositions it will not be clear how the children will are placed relative to each other. You can’t know if two children are next to each other or that one is on the other side of the circle but in the same amount of light. Maybe you miss now some interesting information. Therefore you can think of some changes to get also this information, so for example use a press plate or something to know the exact places of every pawn.

Fitting in context

I didn’t think that much about how the concept will be integrated in the daily lives and routines of children in primary school. This is something which is important to explore more. When will the children use it? How often in the week? During what kind of activities? During reading or during break?

User validation

Something which can give maybe answers on a lot of things mentioned above is a user test or validation. I have assumed things in this project which can be way different in reality. Children are unexpected creatures which could react different than I should think. This will give a lot of insight and new ideas for further development of the project. However I experienced that it is hard to reach this target group. But the user validation will be one of the most important steps to take next.


It looks a bit like there are two concepts developed instead of one. This is not without reason. There is chosen to minimalize the connection between the box and aquarium. This is because I want to prevent that children are going to use the system in the wrong way. E.g. when the children know that they can directly influence the fishes in the aquarium they will take action with the intention to change it and not to express themselves. Another point of discussion is that I maybe could have focused more at one side of the story. I could did this and I think that than the concept will be stronger. But I find both the things important and interesting and I was searching for the whole system. So I didn’t think of going through with half of the system.


/Sources [1] Drs. H.C.M. (Harrie) Vorst and

Drs. J.A.E. (Joop) Smits, SAQI, School Attitude Questionnaire at Internet Link:

[2] Gijs Huitsing, Matty van der Meulen and René Veenstra. (2012), Pesten als groepsproces. Link:

/Appendices A. Scenario B. Co-Reflection C. Creative Thinking Techniques D. Design Brief

[3] O’Moore, M. and Kirkham, C. (2001), Self-esteem and its relationship to bullying behaviour. Aggr. Behav., 27: 269–283. doi: 10.1002/ab.1010 Link:

[4] General website Kiva.


[5]René Veenstra. (2013), Fins anti-pestprogramma vermindert pesten in Nederland met meer dan de helft. Link:

[6]S.J. Roozen. (2003), Systemische Familie-opstellingen (volgens Hellinger) en gezondheidszorg. Link:



Bully or buddy  
Bully or buddy