A study looking at Vancouver school children says asking kids to perform acts of kindness makes them happier and more popular.
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons ) BY STEVEN SPARKMAN ANCHOR LOGAN TITTLE A new study claims to show being nice can improve kids’ happiness and help them make friends. Shocking. “Children who were assigned to perform acts of kindness like sharing their lunch reported increased feelings of happiness. Classmates were also more likely to chose them to work on school projects.” ( Video via KCTV ) The study, called Kindness Counts , asked Vancouver students to either perform an act of kindness or visit a place they enjoy three times a week for four weeks. At the end of the study, both groups reported increased happiness and better relations with their peers, but the kindness group fared better. NPR reports the difference could be due to making kids think about their behavior. “Being part of the experiment made kindness intentional. The children had to plan their acts of kindness, and remember to do them.” The researchers say bullying tends to rise in the study’s age group, and the results might show a way to counteract the trend. One study author told the BBC the fact the study took place at the end of the school year makes it even more impressive. “I was not completely surprised that students increased in happiness, because we have found the same effects in adults … [But] I was surprised that a simple activity could change the dynamics of a well-established classroom.” But while the study may be heartwarming, at least one blogger says it’s a little light on the science. A SciLogs writer says the media should be more critical of scientific studies — even the nice ones. “There are no clear descriptions of the statistical methods, no actual scores for the two groups … and important control groups ... are missing. ... Unfortunately, none of the above-mentioned news reports highlighted the weaknesses, and instead jumped on the bandwagon...” Of course, that doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t encourage kids to be kind. In fact, the study’s authors say a New Year’s resolution would be a great place to start.