Is school bullying actually DECREASING—or just taking a different form? Show Notes

Friday, May 16, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Here’s some good news for parents and for kids--the incidence of school bullying nationwide is actually decreasing.

Last week I mentioned that being bullied as a child can have a life-long impact. Well according to a story on PluggedIn.com, even though dramatic media reports might have you thinking that school bullying and abuse is running rampant, that’s not really the case. A new study indicates that bullying and youth violence may actually be on the decline.

The findings are based on a series of surveys taken in 2003, 2008 and 2011 of children and teens between the ages of two and 17 years old.

Researchers looked at a variety of types of bullying, and more than half of them declined in frequency during the study period.  Assault and bullying both dropped by about a third, and sexual violence declined by a quarter.

One important caveat—the researchers suggest, that this may be partly due to fewer face-to-face interactions given the increased use of electronic media.

Speaking of that, the director of the prestigious King's College School in London, says that the online environment kids grow up in today can be brutal. critical.

Headmaster Andrew Halls says "Social networking sites require every 21st-century teenager to live his or her life under the eye of an electronic judge far more cruel than any examiner, school teacher, or parent.  No previous generation has spent so long online, 'liking' and being 'liked', or devastatingly ignored."

Mr. Halls adds that today's teens live the "tortured drama of their adolescence under the scrutiny of hundreds or even thousands of others," a way of life that can make them feel "small and vulnerable."

One more reason for parents to monitor and limit their kids’ online interactions, and to regularly debrief with them about their experiences in the virtual world.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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