Tag Archives: Ripple Effect

American Academy of Pediatrics study: Third and fourth graders who own cell phones are more likely to be cyberbullied

18 Sep

Technology can be used for information gathering and to keep people connected. Some people use social media to torment others. Children can be devastated by thoughtless, mean, and unkind comments posted at social media sites. Some of the comments may be based upon rumor and may even be untrue. The effect on a particular child can be devastating. Because of the potential for harm, many parents worry about cyberbullying on social media sites. Moi wrote about bullying in Ohio State University study: Characteristics of kids who are bullies:

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.” https://drwilda.com/2012/03/13/ohio-state-university-study-characteristics-of-kids-who-are-bullies/

Science Daily reported in Third and fourth graders who own cell phones are more likely to be cyberbullied:

Most research on cyberbullying has focused on adolescents. But a new study that examined cell phone ownership among children in third to fifth grades finds they may be particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying.
The study abstract, “Cell Phone Ownership and Cyberbullying in 8-11 Year Olds: New Research,” will be presented Monday, Sept. 18 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
Researchers collected survey data on 4,584 students in grades 3, 4 and 5 between 2014 and 2016. Overall, 9.5 percent of children reported being a victim of cyberbullying. Children who owned cell phones were significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying, especially in grades 3 and 4….
Across all three grades, 49.6 of students reported owning a cell phone. The older the student, the more likely to report cell phone ownership: 59.8 percent of fifth graders, 50.6 percent of fourth graders, and 39.5 percent of third graders reported owning their own cell phone. Cell phone owners in grades three and four were more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying. Across all three grades, more cell phone owners admitted they have been a cyberbully themselves.
According to the researchers, the increased risk of cyberbullying related to phone ownership could be tied to increased opportunity and vulnerability. Continuous access to social media and texting increases online interactions, provides more opportunities to engage both positively and negatively with peers, and increases the chance of an impulsive response to peers’ postings and messages…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170915095228.htm

Citation:

Third and fourth graders who own cell phones are more likely to be cyberbullied
Research to be presented at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition finds that they are also likely to be bullies too
Date: September 15, 2017
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Summary:
New research suggests elementary school-age children who own cell phones may be particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying.

Here is the press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Third and Fourth Graders Who Own Cell Phones are More Likely to be Cyberbullied
9/15/2017
Research to be presented at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition finds that they are also likely to be bullies too.
CHICAGO – Most research on cyberbullying has focused on adolescents. But a new study that examined cell phone ownership among children in third to fifth grades finds they may be particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying.
The study abstract, “Cell Phone Ownership and Cyberbullying in 8-11 Year Olds: New Research,” will be presented Monday, Sept. 18 at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.
Researchers collected survey data on 4,584 students in grades 3, 4 and 5 between 2014 and 2016. Overall, 9.5 percent of children reported being a victim of cyberbullying. Children who owned cell phones were significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying, especially in grades 3 and 4.
“Parents often cite the benefits of giving their child a cell phone, but our research suggests that giving young children these devices may have unforeseen risks as well,” said Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass.
Across all three grades, 49.6 of students reported owning a cell phone. The older the student, the more likely to report cell phone ownership: 59.8 percent of fifth graders, 50.6 percent of fourth graders, and 39.5 percent of third graders reported owning their own cell phone. Cell phone owners in grades three and four were more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying. Across all three grades, more cell phone owners admitted they have been a cyberbully themselves.
According to the researchers, the increased risk of cyberbullying related to phone ownership could be tied to increased opportunity and vulnerability. Continuous access to social media and texting increases online interactions, provides more opportunities to engage both positively and negatively with peers, and increases the chance of an impulsive response to peers’ postings and messages.
Englander suggests that this research is a reminder for parents to consider the risks as well as the benefits when deciding whether to provide their elementary school-aged child with a cell phone.
“At the very least, parents can engage in discussions and education with their child about the responsibilities inherent in owning a mobile device, and the general rules for communicating in the social sphere,” Englander said.
Englander will present the abstract, available below, on Monday, Sept.18, from 5:10 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT in McCormick Place West, Room S106. To request an interview with Dr. Englander, contact eenglander@bridgew.edu or 508-531-1784.
Please note: only the abstract is being presented at the meeting. In some cases, the researcher may have more data available to share with media, or may be preparing a longer article for submission to a journal.
# # #
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit http://www.aap.org.

Abstract Title: Cell Phone Ownership and Cyberbullying in 8-11 Year Olds: New Research
The study of cyberbullying has most often focused on adolescents. This study examined survey data on 4,584 students in grades 3, 4 and 5, gathered between late 2014 and 2016, as schools opted to survey their students about bullying and cyberbullying. Most, but not all, schools participating were in Massachusetts. Altogether, 49.6% of students reported owning their own cell phone. Older students were significantly more likely to report ownership; 59.8% of fifth graders, 50.6% of fourth graders, and 39.5% of third graders reported owning their own cell phone. Younger children were less able to define the term “cyberbullying” correctly, but 9.5% of all children reported being a victim of cyberbullying. Cell phone owners were significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying, but this was only true for children in Grades 3 and 4. Although fewer students overall (5.8%) admitted to cyberbullying their peers, more cell phone owners admitted to cyberbullying, and this was true for all three grades (3, 4 and 5). When bullying in school was studied, only the third graders were significantly more likely to be bullied in school if they were cell phone owners, although both third and fourth grade cell phone owners were more likely to admit to bullying. Overall, cell phone ownership was more strongly related to cyberbullying (vs. traditional bullying) and the observed relationships were stronger among younger subjects (those in fourth, and especially third, grade).
https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Third-and-Fourth-Graders-Who-Own-Cell-Phones-are-More-Likely-to-be-Cyberbullied.aspx

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 wrote 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 https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/ages-stages/teenager-adolescent-development-parenting/when-you-dont-like-your-teens-friends/

Talking About Sexting https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting

Teenage Girls and Cyber-Bullying https://www.girlshealth.gov/bullying/

How to Get Your Teen to Open Up and Talk to You More (and Text A Little Less) https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/resources-and-training/for-families/conversation-tools/index.html

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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University of California Los Angeles study: Study explains when and why bystanders intervene in cyberbullying

18 Jan

Technology can be used for information gathering and to keep people connected. Some people use social media to torment others. Children can be devastated by thoughtless, mean, and unkind comments posted at social media sites. Some of the comments may be based upon rumor and may even be untrue. The effect on a particular child can be devastating. Because of the potential for harm, many parents worry about cyberbullying on social media sites. Moi wrote about bullying in Ohio State University study: Characteristics of kids who are bullies:

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 Psychology study explains when and why bystanders intervene in cyberbullying:

People on social media are often unsupportive of cyberbullying victims who have shared highly personal feelings, UCLA psychologists report.

Compared to face-to-face situations, bystanders are even less likely to intervene with online bullying. The researchers wanted to learn why bystanders are infrequently supportive of when bullying occurs online.

In a new study, the researchers created a fictitious Facebook profile of an 18-year-old named Kate, who, in response to a post, received a mean comment — “Who cares! This is why nobody likes you” — from a Facebook friend named Sarah. That comment gets six likes.

The study involved 118 people, ages 18 to 22, from throughout the United States, 58 percent of the participants were female, and were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. They were randomly divided into four groups; each group saw Sarah’s nasty comment in response to a different Facebook post from Kate. Across the four groups, Kate’s Facebook post varied in level of personal disclosure (more or less personal) and whether it was positive or negative.

Two groups saw Kate make a highly personal disclosure about a relationship. “I hate it when you miss someone like crazy and you think they might not miss you back :(” (negative) or “I love it when you like someone like crazy and you think they might like you back :)” (positive).

The other two groups saw Kate make a less personal comment about the popular HBO program, “Game of Thrones.” “I hate it when a Game of Thrones episode ends and you have to wait a whole week to watch more :(” or “I love it when a Game of Thrones episode ends and you can’t wait until next week to watch more :).”

Participants then responded to questions about how much they blamed Kate for being cyberbullied, how much empathy they had for Kate and how likely they would be to support her.

Although the majority of participants considered Sarah’s comment an example of cyberbullying, they varied in their responses to Kate’s being bullied depending on her original post. Regardless of whether Kate’s post was positive or negative, participants viewed Kate more negatively when she posted a highly personal disclosure.

“We found that when the Facebook post is a more personal expression of the victim’s feelings, participants showed lower levels of empathy and felt Kate was more to blame for being cyberbullied,” said Hannah Schacter, a UCLA graduate student in developmental psychology, and lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160115100945.htm

Citation:

Psychology study explains when and why bystanders intervene in cyberbullying

Rather than placing the burden on victims to monitor their online behavior, more online empathy is needed

Date:       January 15, 2016

Source:   University of California – Los Angeles

Summary:

People on social media are often unsupportive of cyberbullying victims who have shared highly personal feelings, psychologists report. In a new study, the researchers created a fictitious Facebook profile of an 18-year-old named Kate, who received a mean comment — ‘Who cares! This is why nobody likes you’ — that gets six likes.

Journal Reference:

  1. Hannah L. Schacter, Shayna Greenberg, Jaana Juvonen. Who’s to blame?: The effects of victim disclosure on bystander reactions to cyberbullying. Computers in Human Behavior, 2016; 57: 115 DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.018

Here is the press release from the University of California Los Angeles:

UCLA psychology study explains when and why bystanders intervene in cyberbullying

Rather than placing the burden on victims to monitor their online behavior, more online empathy is needed

Stuart Wolpert | January 14, 2016

Even when people agree that someone has been a victim of cyberbullying, participants view the victim more negatively when she posted a highly personal disclosure.

People on social media are often unsupportive of cyberbullying victims who have shared highly personal feelings, UCLA psychologists report.

Compared to face-to-face situations, bystanders are even less likely to intervene with online bullying. The researchers wanted to learn why bystanders are infrequently supportive of when bullying occurs online.

In a new study, the researchers created a fictitious Facebook profile of an 18-year-old named Kate, who, in response to a post, received a mean comment — “Who cares! This is why nobody likes you” — from a Facebook friend named Sarah. That comment gets six likes.

The study involved 118 people, ages 18 to 22, from throughout the United States, 58 percent of the participants were female, and were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. They were randomly divided into four groups; each group saw Sarah’s nasty comment in response to a different Facebook post from Kate. Across the four groups, Kate’s Facebook post varied in level of personal disclosure (more or less personal) and whether it was positive or negative.

Two groups saw Kate make a highly personal disclosure about a relationship. “I hate it when you miss someone like crazy and you think they might not miss you back ☹” (negative) or “I love it when you like someone like crazy and you think they might like you back ☺” (positive).

The other two groups saw Kate make a less personal comment about the popular HBO program, “Game of Thrones.” “I hate it when a Game of Thrones episode ends and you have to wait a whole week to watch more ☹” or “I love it when a Game of Thrones episode ends and you can’t wait until next week to watch more ☺.”

Participants then responded to questions about how much they blamed Kate for being cyberbullied, how much empathy they had for Kate and how likely they would be to support her.

Although the majority of participants considered Sarah’s comment an example of cyberbullying, they varied in their responses to Kate’s being bullied depending on her original post. Regardless of whether Kate’s post was positive or negative, participants viewed Kate more negatively when she posted a highly personal disclosure.

“We found that when the Facebook post is a more personal expression of the victim’s feelings, participants showed lower levels of empathy and felt Kate was more to blame for being cyberbullied,” said Hannah Schacter, a UCLA graduate student in developmental psychology, and lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

Participants were asked, on a scale of one to five, whether they “felt for” Kate and whether they blamed Kate for Sarah’s criticism of her. Although the differences were small (about one third of point), they showed a consistent pattern of less forgiving responses when Kate posted about her personal issues as opposed to about Game of Thrones.

The authors found that victim-blaming and empathy for the victim influenced whether participants would intervene by sending a supportive message to the bullying victim (Kate), posting a supportive message, or posting that they disagree with the bully’s comment.  When participants felt that Kate deserved to be bullied and felt less empathy for her, they were less likely to express support for the victim.

“The emotional reactions toward Kate help explain whether online bystanders are likely to support the victim,” said Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA professor of psychology and senior author of the research.

“Our study suggests oversharing of personal information leads bystanders to blame and not feel for the victim,” Schacter said.

On social media websites, there appear to be unwritten rules about what is acceptable, and this study suggests that oversharing personal emotions or information violates these rules, she said.

“Young people need to understand that by revealing personal issues publicly online, they may make themselves more vulnerable to attacks from those seeking to harm others,” Juvonen said.

Sharing your feelings with a close friend is quite different from publicly sharing with many people who don’t know you well.

However, Schacter and Juvonen emphasize that the study’s findings have important implications for changing how people react when they see online bullying. Rather than placing the burden on victims to monitor their online behavior, the authors say that more online empathy is needed. This is a challenge, they note, because bystanders do not see the anguish of victims of online bullying.

“Supportive messages can make a big difference in how the victim feels,” Schacter said. Other research, she noted, shows that sharing of troubles can help strengthen friendships among students and young adults.

Shayna Greenberg, a recent UCLA graduate who worked with Schacter and Juvonen on the study, is a co-author.

The research was partly funded by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research for Schacter.

Previous studies on bullying by Juvonen and her colleagues have found that:

Media Contact

Stuart Wolpert

310-206-0511

swolpert@support.ucla.edu

Two articles describe the effects of social networking on teen relationships. In the first article, Antisocial Networking?, Hillary Stout writes in the New York Times about toxic social networking sites and their effect on teens. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/fashion/02BEST.html?pagewanted=all

Hans Villarica wrote the excellent article in Time, Dealing With Cyberbullying: 5 Essential Parenting Tips

Make sure your kids know cyberbullying is wrong. Many kids don’t understand that when they write down and disseminate feelings of frustration, jealousy or anger toward others online, it can quickly escalate into problems in the real world. They also tend to think that what happens digitally “doesn’t count” and that digital abuse doesn’t hurt, especially since parents usually focus on their kids’ behavior in person…. (More on Time.com: Lessons on Cyberbullying: Is Rebecca Black a Victim? Experts Weigh In)

Take an interest in your kids’ online behavior. Kids tend to think their parents don’t know or care about their online lives. They fear that their parents, in not understanding, will simply take away their cell phone or computer if anything goes wrong….. (More on Time.com: The Tricky Politics of Tween Bullying)

Check school policies on cyberbullying. Contact your child’s teacher or a school social worker or administrator and find out whether there is an official policy on cyberbullying. If there is one, read it and discuss it with your kids.

If there isn’t a written policy in place, ask about how cyberbullying is handled and whether there are any plans to create an official policy. Better yet, step up and join — or push to create — a committee to set the standards…. (More on Time.com: Cyberbullying? Homophobia? Tyler Clementi’s Death Highlights Online Lawlessness)

Set guidelines about cell-phone use. Many parents give their kids cell phones, so they can stay in closer contact with them. But that’s typically not the reason kids want cell phones. Rather, kids use them to surf the Web, send text messages to friends, update their social-networking status, and share pictures and videos.

Review with your children the laws that could affect their cell phone use, including limitations on where and when they can legally take photos or videos, and how you expect them to handle text messaging or Internet use. If you choose to monitor what’s on your kids’ phones, be aware that more than 70% of kids delete messages or photos before giving their parents their phones for checks, according to research from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center. (More on Time.com: A Glimmer of Hope in a Bad-News Survey About Bullying)

Help your children respond appropriately if they are cyberbullied. First, talk with your children about what happened and how they feel about it. Be supportive. Remember that your kids feel that they are under attack. Second, report the abuse to the website on which it occurred. This can often be done via an “abuse” or “report” button or link on the site. Lastly, report the bullying to school administrators and ask them to look after your children.                                                                                                                           http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/25/dealing-with-cyberbullying-5-essential-parenting-tips/

Parents must monitor their children’s use of technology.

Where information leads to Hope. ©  Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

 

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/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Massachusetts Aggression Center study: Cyberbullying and elementary school children

30 Jul

Moi wrote about bullying in Ohio State University study: Characteristics of kids who are bullies:
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 reported 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

https://drwilda.com/2012/03/13/ohio-state-university-study-characteristics-of-kids-who-are-bullies/
Anne Collier wrote in the Christian Science Monitor article, Cyberbullying study one of the first to research elementary school-aged youth:

Rare is the opportunity to get insights into cyberbullying in elementary school because most US research has focused on youth aged 12 and up. The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) really delivered by surveying a huge sample – more than 11,700 – 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders three times over a year and a half, and I believe the results clearly demonstrate the need for social-emotional learning and media literacy education starting in even lower grades.
For example, 90 percent of 3rd graders play interactive games (and they didn’t just start in 3rd grade!), and most cyberbullying among them occurs in online games, MARC found. But before you jump to any conclusions about games, note this finding:
“Children at
 the highest risk for repeatedly cyberbullying others were the most likely to report problems 
on Facebook, email, or through text messaging.” What this suggested to MARC is that – though safety and social-literacy education should fold in online game play – it shouldn’t stop there but embrace Facebook, e-mail, and texting too, even for under-13 Facebook users. The 19 percent of girls in grades 3 to 5 who were using Facebook in 2010 increased to 49 percent by 2012. Remember that Facebook and social games are on phones too, and there’s lots of anecdotal evidence that plenty of 4th and 5th graders are in Instagram (see this) and game apps like Clash of Clans….
Teaching children how to “recognize, report and refuse bullying,” as the bullying prevention and social literacy experts at Committee for Children in Seattle put it, is essential to reducing bullying in school and media environments. But what experts worldwide are seeing and voicing more and more is that social-emotional learning (SEL) – teaching our children how to detect and manage their own emotions and make good social decisions is the bedrock. Educators in Illinois certainly understand this, since in 2004, their state was the first to adopt SEL into its academic standards. Teacher Tontaneshia Jones of Chicago’s Ella Flagg Young School calls SEL “problem-solving with dignity,” as I wrote here, but its positive impact goes well beyond even social problem-solving to improving academic performance and a number of other factors for students and schools (see this).
http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/Modern-Parenthood/2013/0725/Cyberbullying-study-one-of-the-first-to-research-elementary-school-aged-youth
See, Study Calls for Cyberbullying Education in Elementary Schools http://www.educationnews.org/technology/study-calls-for-cyberbullying-education-in-elementary-schools/#sthash.rj0xfN5g.dpuf

Here is the press release from The Massachusetts Aggression Center:

Cyberbullying among 11,700 Elementary School
Students, 2010-2012
Dr. Elizabeth Englander
Director, Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center
Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA

Presented on November 6, 2012, at the International Bullying Prevention Association Annual Conference, Kansas City, MO.
Study:
11,700+ Third-, Fourth- and Fifth-Graders, sampled in New England from a variety of schools (representing a variety of socioeconomic classes), between January 2010 and September, 2012.
Major Findings:

1. Elementary school children are already immersed in cyber-technology. Over 90% of third graders reported playing interactive games online. 35% of subjects reported owning a cellphone; most owned smartphones (see #8 below). This suggests : cyber-education needs to begin well before middle school.
2. Most elementary cyberbullying occurred in online games. However, children at the highest risk for repeatedly cyberbullying others were the most likely to report problems on Facebook, email, or through Text Messaging. This suggests: elementary cyberbullying education should probably include lessons relevant to online game-playing dynamics. Also, when a child aged 8 to 11 reports a problem on Facebook, email, or messaging, that should be regarded as a possible warning sign of higher-risk online involvement.
3. Use of Facebook increased among third, fourth, and fifth graders between 2010-2012, especially among girls. 19% of girls were using Facebook in 2010; that number rose to 49% in 2012. This suggests:
parents and children may not understand the existence or rationale of federal age guidelines (13 years or older) for Facebook and similar websites.
4. Cell phone ownership increased in every grade. For example, among fourth graders, 26% owned cell phones in 2012, and this increased to 35% in 2012. 52% of fifth graders and 22% of third graders reported owning cell phones by 2012.
5. In every grade, smartphone ownership increased and non-smartphone ownership decreased between 2010 and 2012. Owning a smartphone was a significant risk factor for both being a cyberbully and being a cyberbullying victim.
12% of fifth grade non-owners, and 18% of smartphone owners, admitted being a cyberbully. Similarly, 12% of fifth grade non-owners, and 34% of smartphone owners, reported being a cyberbullying victim. Similar numbers were found for third and fourth graders. This suggests : parents who are considering buying their elementary-aged child a smartphone should be offered both the benefits, and the risks,
associated with children’s usage.
6. When comparing Grades 3, 4 and 5, traditional in-school bullying was far more common that cyberbullying. However, both types of bullying increased across the three years. Just being a victim actually decreased from third to fifth grade; however, the percentage of children who both bully and are victims (“bully/victims”) increased from 15% in third grade to 21% in grade five.
7. In third grade, 72% of cyberbullying victims said that the bully online was anonymous. However, that percentage dropped to 64% by grade 5. (That trend continues through high school.) This suggests
: as children grow, cyberbullying increasingly reflects a dynamic between a target and a bully who know each other, usually from school.
8. Experiencing one episode of bullying is more common than experiencing bullying repeatedly. This was true for both victims and bullies. This suggests: efforts to control bullying may often be successful. It is also possible that many children learn, from one episode, how to avoid future episodes.
9. Cyberbullying education appears to be having an impact in Massachusetts. The proportion of children who could not define cyberbullying declined from 24% in 2010 to 10% in 2012. Non-bullies were more likely than bullies to report that their class had been offered education about bullying and cyberbullying (especially among fifth graders). Children who were repeatedly mean online reported the lowest level of education. This suggests: elementary education and awareness about cyberbullying can be can be successful.
10. Between 2010 and 2012, children were increasingly likely to claim that they had reported cyberbullying.
Furthermore, reporting to both adults and peers increased similarly. This suggests : cyberbullying programs appear to be successfully increasing the rate at which children report cyberbullying.

Dr. Elizabeth Englander
Director, Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center
Professor of Psychology
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, MA
Webpage: http://www.MARCcenter.org
Email: marc@bridgew.edu
Phone: 508-531-1784
Text Messaging: 508-955-0270

Two articles describe the effects of social networking on teen relationships. In the first article, Antisocial Networking?, Hillary Stout writes in the New York Times about toxic social networking sites and their effect on teens. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/fashion/02BEST.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Hans Villarica has an excellent article in Time, Dealing With Cyberbullying: 5 Essential Parenting Tips

Make sure your kids know cyberbullying is wrong. Many kids don’t understand that when they write down and disseminate feelings of frustration, jealousy or anger toward others online, it can quickly escalate into problems in the real world. They also tend to think that what happens digitally “doesn’t count” and that digital abuse doesn’t hurt, especially since parents usually focus on their kids’ behavior in person…. (More on Time.com: Lessons on Cyberbullying: Is Rebecca Black a Victim? Experts Weigh In)
Take an interest in your kids’ online behavior. Kids tend to think their parents don’t know or care about their online lives. They fear that their parents, in not understanding, will simply take away their cell phone or computer if anything goes wrong….. (More on Time.com: The Tricky Politics of Tween Bullying)
Check school policies on cyberbullying. Contact your child’s teacher or a school social worker or administrator and find out whether there is an official policy on cyberbullying. If there is one, read it and discuss it with your kids.
If there isn’t a written policy in place, ask about how cyberbullying is handled and whether there are any plans to create an official policy. Better yet, step up and join — or push to create — a committee to set the standards…. (More on Time.com: Cyberbullying? Homophobia? Tyler Clementi’s Death Highlights Online Lawlessness)
Set guidelines about cell-phone use. Many parents give their kids cell phones, so they can stay in closer contact with them. But that’s typically not the reason kids want cell phones. Rather, kids use them to surf the Web, send text messages to friends, update their social-networking status, and share pictures and videos.
Review with your children the laws that could affect their cell phone use, including limitations on where and when they can legally take photos or videos, and how you expect them to handle text messaging or Internet use. If you choose to monitor what’s on your kids’ phones, be aware that more than 70% of kids delete messages or photos before giving their parents their phones for checks, according to research from the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center. (More on Time.com: A Glimmer of Hope in a Bad-News Survey About Bullying)
Help your children respond appropriately if they are cyberbullied. First, talk with your children about what happened and how they feel about it. Be supportive. Remember that your kids feel that they are under attack. Second, report the abuse to the website on which it occurred. This can often be done via an “abuse” or “report” button or link on the site. Lastly, report the bullying to school administrators and ask them to look after your children. http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/25/dealing-with-cyberbullying-5-essential-parenting-tips/

Parents must monitor their children’s use of technology.
Where information leads to Hope. ©  Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

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 ©