Tag Archives: Bullies

Princeton University study: Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying

5 Jan

A Rotary Club in London has a statement about the Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect – Sending Waves of Goodness into the World

Like a drop of water falling into a pond, our every action ripples outward, affecting other lives in ways both obvious and unseen.

We touch the lives of those with whom we come into contact and, by extension, those with whom they come into contact.

When our actions spring from a spirit of kindness or compassion or generosity, we set into motion a “virtuous cycle” that radiates far beyond our ability to see, or perhaps even fully comprehend.

Just as a smile is infectious, so are more overt forms of service. Our objective — whether in something as formal as a highly-structured website development project or as casual as the spontaneous small kindnesses we share with strangers in hopes of brightening their day — is to send waves of positive change in the world, one act of service at a time.

Unfortunately, some children due to a variety of behaviors in their lives miss the message of the “Ripple Effect.”

Science Daily reported in Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying by 30 percent:

Curbing school bullying has been a focal point for educators, administrators, policymakers and parents, but the answer may not lie within rules set by adults, according to new research led by Princeton University. Instead, the solution might actually be to have the students themselves, particularly those most connected to their peers, promote conflict resolution in school.

A team of researchers from Princeton, Rutgers University and Yale University engaged groups of influential students in 56 New Jersey middle schools to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and school conflict. Using messaging platforms such as Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands, the selected students were encouraged to discuss in their own voices positive ways to handle conflict, using terms with which their peers could identify.

The research team wanted to test whether certain students, who they label “social referents” or social influencers, have an outsized influence over school climate or the social norms and behavioral patterns in their schools. Social referents are not necessarily the most popular kids school-wide, but rather students who demonstrate influence within their smaller peer group. All activities were designed to test whether, by making their anti-conflict stance well known, these social influencers could shape their peers’ behaviors and social norms.

In the course of a year, the middle schools that employed social referents saw a 30 percent reduction in student conflict reports, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Critically, the greatest drop in conflict was observed among the teams with the highest proportion of social influencers, supporting the researchers’ hypothesis that these students do exert an outsized influence over school climate….

Peers influencing peers is a widely accepted concept. But the question of whether certain, more influential peers have more influence on social norms governing a group is what spurred Paluck and her colleagues to design their test program, the Roots program.

This program is designed to engage the school’s most influential students, only some of whom fit the typical profile of a student leader or a popular student, to spread anti-conflict messages. Using a survey measurement known as social network mapping, the researchers are able to identify students with the most connections to other students, both in person and online. These students serve as the “roots” to influence perceptions and social norms in schools.

“The real innovation here is using student social networks to choose the peers … which can lead to a less unorthodox group of student leaders,” Paluck said. “When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the ‘good’ kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more….” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104163206.htm

Citation:

Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying by 30 percent

Date: January 4, 2016

Source: Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Summary:
Curbing school bullying has been a focal point for educators, administrators, policymakers and parents, but the answer may not lie within rules set by adults, according to new research. Instead, the solution might actually be to have the students themselves, particularly those most connected to their peers, promote conflict resolution in school.

Journal Reference:
1. Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Hana Shepherd, Peter M. Aronow. Changing climates of conflict: A social network experiment in 56 schools. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201514483 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1514483113

Here is the news story from Princeton:

Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying by 30 percent

Posted January 4, 2016; 03:30 p.m.
by B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Curbing school bullying has been a focal point for educators, administrators, policymakers and parents, but the answer may not lie within rules set by adults, according to new research led by Princeton University researchers. Instead, the solution might actually be to have the students themselves, particularly those most connected to their peers, promote conflict resolution in school.

A team of researchers from Princeton, Rutgers University and Yale University engaged groups of influential students in 56 New Jersey middle schools to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and school conflict. Using messaging platforms such as Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands, the selected students were encouraged to discuss in their own voices positive ways to handle conflict, using terms with which their peers could identify.

The research team wanted to test whether certain students, who they label “social referents” or social influencers, have an outsized influence over school climate or the social norms and behavioral patterns in their schools. Social referents are not necessarily the most popular kids school-wide, but rather students who demonstrate influence within their smaller peer group. All activities were designed to test whether, by making their anti-conflict stance well known, these social influencers could shape their peers’ behaviors and social norms.

In the course of a year, the middle schools that employed social referents saw a 30 percent reduction in student conflict reports, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Critically, the greatest drop in conflict was observed among the teams with the highest proportion of social influencers, supporting the researchers’ hypothesis that these students do exert an outsized influence over school climate.

“We designed our own curriculum because current programs address problems as defined by adults, and they aren’t necessarily fitted to each individual school environment,” said lead author Elizabeth Levy Paluck, associate professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “We think the best way to change social norms is to have these student influencers speak in their own voices. Encouraging their own messages to bubble up from the bottom using a grassroots approach can be very powerful.”

Peers influencing peers is a widely accepted concept. But the question of whether certain, more influential peers have more influence on social norms governing a group is what spurred Paluck and her colleagues to design their test program, the Roots program.

This program is designed to engage the school’s most influential students, only some of whom fit the typical profile of a student leader or a popular student, to spread anti-conflict messages. Using a survey measurement known as social network mapping, the researchers are able to identify students with the most connections to other students, both in person and online. These students serve as the “roots” to influence perceptions and social norms in schools.

“The real innovation here is using student social networks to choose the peers … which can lead to a less unorthodox group of student leaders,” Paluck said. “When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the ‘good’ kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more.”

During the 2012-13 school year, Paluck and study co-authors Hana Shepherd from Rutgers University and Peter Aronow from Yale University were able to implement the study into middle schools across New Jersey. The timing was paramount. Just a year prior, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill issuing a law that required all teachers to have anti-bullying training. The bill was passed without funding.

This gave Paluck, Shepherd and Aronow a chance to offer their program as a training solution. With encouragement from the State Department of Education, they implemented the program in volunteer middle schools, as they were seeing higher rates of student conflict than high schools.
For the purposes of the experiment, half of the middle schools were randomly assigned to receive the intervention, which was training through the Roots program. The schools not selected were given the opportunity to receive free training on how to run the program at the end of the school year.

To pinpoint the most influential students, the researchers distributed a survey to the 24,191 students enrolled at all schools. The survey asked them to nominate the top 10 students at their school who they chose to spend time with, either in or outside of school, or face to face or online. Using these data, the researchers then mapped each school’s social networks.

A representative sample of 22 to 30 students in the intervention schools was invited to participate in the Roots program. Only the researchers knew which students within each group were expected to be the top influencers, based on the fact that they were in the top 10 percent of students at their school nominated by their peers in the survey.

This is a sample exercise that students completed through the Roots program. By completing the exercise, students are able to prepare for potential student conflicts and prepare their reactions. (Image courtesy of Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Princeton University)

These students had some important shared traits, the researchers found. Many had an older sibling, were in dating relationships and received compliments from peers on the house in which they lived.

“This cluster of characteristics suggests that these students are hooked into more mature social patterns in their lives and at schools,” Paluck said. “Earlier dating is one indicator, and an older sibling suggests they have more exposure to older students with a more mature vocabulary, perhaps making them savvier communicators. Receiving compliments on their house was a way for us to evaluate their socioeconomic background.”

Once the sample of students was selected, they were invited, but not required, to attend Roots training sessions, held during convenient school hours. More than half showed up regularly. The researchers provided students with templates for campaign materials, both print and online, which the students were able to customize. They also trained students in dealing with student conflict.

“We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other school campaigns by letting students lead the messaging efforts. We even wanted the aesthetics of the program to look different,” Paluck said. “So we put a lot of value into very clean sharp designs and bright colors. We gave them the templates to work with, and they controlled the messaging.”

Throughout the year, the students launched several messaging campaigns. One entailed using hashtags such as “#iRespect” on Instagram, which represented tolerance and conflict resolution. Students printed the hashtags on bright colored paper, which they signed and hung around school, highlighting which students were involved in the effort.

In addition to creating signs, students wore colorful wristbands to spread the message. This photo was taken on Roots Day, a one-day festival in which students promoted Roots through print posters, other multicolored and Roots-themed wristbands, and even the T-shirts they wore. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Princeton University)

Another campaign used brightly colored rubber wristbands, which remain very popular among adolescents, Paluck said. These orange wristbands included the Roots program logo and came with a tag that said, “A Roots student caught you doing something great.” Each Roots student received 20 wristbands and when the student saw a peer intervening in a conflict or helping another student, he or she gave them a wristband.

Among the most popular campaigns was Roots Day, a one-day festival in which students promoted Roots through posters, other multicolored and Roots-themed wristbands, and even the T-shirts they wore. There were giveaways, and students asked others to sign a petition to do something nice for someone at school.

“Roots Day made the Roots program and the Roots students enormously salient to all of the other students at each school,” Paluck said. “Students loved the giveaways and were clamoring to sign the petition. It brought everyone in the school together and seemed to unify their attention and energies in a big way.”

After this yearlong effort, the authors found stark statistical differences between the schools that had participated versus those that hadn’t. On average, schools participating in the program saw a 30 percent reduction in disciplinary reports. Because each conflict can take up to an hour to resolve, this reduction is equivalent to hundreds of saved hours.

“Our program shows that you don’t need to use a blanket treatment to reduce bullying,” Paluck said. “You can target specific people in a savvy way in order to spread the message. These people — the social referents you should target — get noticed more by their peers. Their behavior serves as a signal to what is normal and desirable in the community. And there are many ways to figure out who those people are and work with them to inspire positive change.”

For more information about the Roots program or to implement it into your school, visit the Roots website.

The paper, “Changing climates of conflict: A social network experiment in 56 schools,” was published in PNAS Early Edition on Jan. 4. Funding for this project came from the WT Grant Foundation Scholars Program, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Princeton Educational Research Section, Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. None of the authors are affiliated with the New Jersey school system or received compensation for this research.

The following served as intervention designers and administrators: Laura Spence-Ash, David Mackenzie, Ariel Domlyn, Jennifer Dannals and Allison Bland.

The experiment was registered at the Experiments in Governance and Politics site prior to the analysis of outcome data. The research was approved by the Princeton Institutional Review Board (Case No. 4941). http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S45/19/10C56/index.xml?section=topstories

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” https://www.tanenbaum.org/resources/golden-rule which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World At the core of all bullying is a failure to recognize another’s humanity and a basic lack of respect for life. At the core of the demand for personal expression and failure to tolerate opinions which are not like one’s own is a self-centeredness which can destroy the very society it claims to want to protect.

Resources:

Helping Kids Deal With Bullies

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html

Teachers Who Bully
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teachers-who-bully

Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent http://www.empoweringparents.com/Is-Your-Child-Being-Bullied.php#ixzz2PqGTZNdl

Related:

Dr. Wilda Reviews: children’s book: ‘Bully Bean’
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/18/dr-wilda-reviews-childrens-book-bully-bean/

Kids need to tell teachers and schools when they are bullied https://drwilda.com/2013/04/08/kids-need-to-tell-teachers-and-schools-when-they-are-bullied/

Massachusetts Aggression Center study: Cyberbullying and elementary school children

https://drwilda.com/2013/07/30/massachusetts-aggression-center-study-cuberbullying-and-elementary-school-children/

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Ohio State University study: Characteristics of kids who are bullies

13 Mar

A Rotary Club in London has a statement about the Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect – Sending Waves of Goodness into the World

Like a drop of water falling into a pond, our every action ripples outward, affecting other lives in ways both obvious and unseen.

We touch the lives of those with whom we come into contact and, by extension, those with whom they come into contact.

When our actions spring from a spirit of kindness or compassion or generosity, we set into motion a “virtuous cycle” that radiates far beyond our ability to see, or perhaps even fully comprehend.

Just as a smile is infectious, so are more overt forms of service. Our objective — whether in something as formal as a highly-structured website development project or as casual as the spontaneous small kindnesses we share with strangers in hopes of brightening their day — is to send waves of positive change in the world, one act of service at a time.

Unfortunately, some children due to a variety of behaviors in their lives miss the message of the “Ripple Effect.”

Ohio State University is reporting in the press release, SCHOOL BULLIES MORE LIKELY TO BE SUBSTANCE USERS, STUDY FINDS:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Middle- and high-school students who bully their classmates are more likely than others to use substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, a new study found.

Researchers found that bullies and bully-victims – youth who are both perpetrators and victims – were more likely to use substances than were victims and non-involved youth.

Our findings suggest that one deviant behavior may be related to another,” said Kisha Radliff, lead author of the study and assistant professor of school psychology at Ohio State University.

For example, youth who bully others might be more likely to also try substance use.  The reverse could also be true in that youth who use substances might be more likely to bully others.”

The researchers didn’t find as strong a link between victims of bullying and substance use.

Radliff conducted the study with Joe Wheaton, associate professor in Special Education, and Kelly Robinson and Julie Morris, both former graduate students, all at Ohio State.

Their study appears in the April 2012 issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Data for the study came from a survey of 74,247 students enrolled in all public, private and Catholic middle and high schools in Franklin County, Ohio (which includes Columbus).

Among the 152 questions on the survey were eight that involved bullying, either as a victim or perpetrator.  Students were asked about how often they told lies or spread false rumors about others, pushed people around to make them afraid, or left someone out of a group to hurt them.  They were also asked how often they were the victims of such actions.

In addition, the questionnaire asked how often they used cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana.  For this study, users were defined as those who reported use at least once a month.

Results showed that bullying was more common among middle-school students than those in high school, while substance use was more prevalent among high-school students.

About 30 percent of middle-school students were bullies, victims or bully-victims, compared to 23 percent of those in high school.

Fewer than 5 percent of middle-school youth used cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana.  But among high-school students, about 32 percent reported alcohol use, 14 percent used cigarettes and 16 percent used marijuana.

But substance use varied depending on involvement in bullying, the researchers found.

For example, among middle-school students, only 1.6 percent of those not involved in bullying reported marijuana use.  But 11.4 percent of bullies and 6.1 percent of bully-victims used the drug.  Findings showed that 2.4 percent of victims were marijuana users.

Among high school students, 13.3 percent of those not involved in bullying were marijuana users – compared to 31.7 percent of bullies, 29.2 percent of bully-victims, and 16.6 percent of victims.

Similar results were found for alcohol and cigarette use.

But the percentages tell only part of the story, Radliff said.  The researchers also used a statistical analysis that showed that bullies and bully-victims had much higher than expected levels of substance use.

That suggests there is a relationship between experimenting with substances and engaging in bullying behavior,” she said.

Statistically, however, there was no connection between being a victim and substance use among middle-school students, according to Radliff.  The use of cigarettes and alcohol was statistically greater for victims in high school, but there was no statistically significant effect on marijuana use.

Nevertheless, it was the bullies and bully-victims who were the most likely to be substance users.

Radliff said these results may lead to ways anti-bullying initiatives can be improved.

Many schools are mandating anti-bullying programs and policies, and we think they need to take this opportunity to address other forms of deviant behavior, such as substance use,” she said.

This might be especially important in middle school, where bullying is more prevalent, but substance use is still relatively rare.

If we can intervene with bullies while they’re in middle school, we may be able to help them before they start experimenting with substance use,” she said.

Contact: Kisha Radliff, (614) 292-6485; KRadliff@ehe.osu.edu
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457; Grabmeier.1@osu.edu

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/bullyuse.htm

See, Kids Who Bully May Be More Likely to Smoke, Drink http://news.yahoo.com/kids-bully-may-more-likely-smoke-drink-170405321.html

Teri Christensen , Senior Vice President & Director of Field Operations at The Partnership at Drugfree.org has written some excellent rules for helping kids develop healthy friendships.

Christensen suggests the following rules:

Here are 8 ways to encourage healthy friendships:

1. Regularly talk about what true friendship means – and the qualities that are important in a friend.

2. Help your child recognize behaviors that do not make a good friend.

3. Let your child know if you disapprove of one of his or her friends (or a group of friends) and explain why.

4. Try to be a good role model and use your own relationships to show how healthy friendships look and feel.

5. Get to know the parents of your children’s friends.

6. Talk to your child frequently — about everything from events of the day to his hope and dreams to dealing with peer pressure.

7. Know who your kids are hanging out with. (I don’t make my girls feel like I am being nosy but I do let them know that I have the right to check their phones, email and text messages should I feel the need to.)

8. Remind your child that that you are always there to lend an ear.

To me, a good friend is someone you can always count on. Someone who is there in the good times and bad. A true friend loves you for who you are and does not change how she feels based on what other people think.

Related Links:
When You Don’t Like Your Teenager’s Friends
5 Things Parents Should Explain to Teens About Sexting
Teenage Girls and Cyber-Bullying
Obsessed with Being Connected: The Downside of Social Networking for Teens
How to Get Your Teen to Open Up and Talk to You More (and Text A Little Less)

The Partnership for A Drug Free America has many resources for parents.

Here are some additional resources Christensen suggests from The Partnership for A Drug Free America:

Download our Healthy Friendships Tipsheet-PDF)

Since starting middle school, my girls seem to have a “best friend” of the week.  While I think it’s terrific to make new friends, I want to make sure they aren’t ditching their old pals. “How would you feel if you were her?” I asked when they suddenly stopped being friends with a girl they’d been close with for years. I cannot tell them who to be friends with, but I can teach them to be sensitive to the feelings of others.

And then there’s the flip side – comforting your child when a friend turns on her.

(Blogger and friendship expert Dr. Irene S. Levine offers tips on cheering your child up when a friend lets her down.)

I remember when Kendall told me how two of her “friends” suddenly cast her out at the lunch table. “Who invited you to sit here?” they asked before telling her to leave. It was heartbreaking to hear.

(Don’t like your child’s friends? Mommy blogger Jenny Runkel offers 3 things you can do.)

I had to remind Kendall that girls in their teenage years can be mean and say hurtful things just to make themselves feel better.

(Ask these 20 questions to find out if your teen has a toxic friend.)

I try to encourage my girls to be kind to everyone, even if they don’t like the person. As cliché as it might sound, what comes around goes around.

(Mommy blogger Lisa Frederiksen shares this important parenting reminder: Teens Learn Best When the Going Gets Tough.)

Parents have a huge influence on their children, particularly in the example they set in the use of alcohol, drugs, substances, and behavior.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©