One of the things that make the bullying epidemic different from bullying in previous generations is that bullying is no longer confined to the playground or the walk home from school. The internet (particularly, social media) has extended the reach of bullies into the homes of their victims, so that no longer does a child have a respite from bullying. This can have profound effects on children who are the receivers of this abuse, but there is some hope as a recent study from Israel showed, at least in the school environment. According to Pacific Standard a three week experiment was run with 56 students:
For the first week, the researchers quietly observed the kids during their 20-minute mid-day recess. For three days of the second week, relaxing music from the CD The Spirit of Yoga was played on speakers throughout the recess… The results were striking. “Occurrences of direct and indirect bullying were both significantly reduced during the three days when calming background music was played at the school,” the researchers report. “Furthermore, the participants reported lower levels of arousal and anxiety during recess, and enjoyed the recess more with background music.”
A simple, effective solution to what is a growing problem but researchers note that playing calm music “could lose its effectiveness after a certain period of time.” Therefore, this technique should be used sparingly and in a laser-focused manner to help reduce incidences of bullying at a school. A study like this reveals how powerful of a tool music is in crafting our attitudes, emotions and even our beliefs.
Music is one of the ways in which I believe God has extended his grace to all mankind through common means. It has the incredible ability to walk people through their hurts, resuscitate those with severe brain damage, celebrate joyful moments and move us towards a deeper understanding of our God. Now music has been revealed as a means through which bullying can be reduced. A precious gift of God’s common grace holding back a sinful world bent on oppressing the weak through bullying.