Tag Archives: The American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association study: Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade

17 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Reputation takes a long time to burnish and nurture. It can be destroyed by a smear or an ill-thought-out act in a nanosecond.

“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Socrates
“Your reputation is in the hands of others. That’s what the reputation is. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is your character.”
Wayne W. Dyer
In an attempt to control online reputation, many schools are now helping their students clean their online presentation. Why? Because people like to gossip and most of us have been young and stupid or old and ill-advised.
“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
Eleanor Roosevelt
“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”
Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens

Science Daily reported in Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade: Shift may be due in part to rise of digital media, study suggests:

The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
“More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” said lead author Jean Twenge, PhD, author of the book “iGen” and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages.”
The research was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Twenge and her co-authors analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that has tracked drug and alcohol use, mental health and other health-related issues in individuals age 12 and over in the United States since 1971. They looked at survey responses from more than 200,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 from 2005 to 2017, and almost 400,000 adults age 18 and over from 2008 to 2017.
The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 percent in adolescents from 2005 to 2017 (from 8.7 percent to 13.2 percent) and 63 percent in young adults age 18 to 25 from 2009 to 2017 (from 8.1 percent to 13.2 percent). There was also a 71 percent increase in young adults experiencing serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.7 percent to 13.1 percent). The rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.0 percent to 10.3 percent).
There was no significant increase in the percentage of older adults experiencing depression or psychological distress during corresponding time periods. The researchers even saw a slight decline in psychological distress in individuals over 65.
“Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” said Twenge, who believes this trend may be partially due to increased use of electronic communication and digital media, which may have changed modes of social interaction enough to affect mood disorders. She also noted research shows that young people are not sleeping as much as they did in previous generations.
The increase in digital media use may have had a bigger impact on teens and young adults because older adults’ social lives are more stable and might have changed less than teens’ social lives have in the last ten years, said Twenge. Older adults might also be less likely to use digital media in a way that interferes with sleep — for example, they might be better at not staying up late on their phones or using them in the middle of the night.
“These results suggest a need for more research to understand how digital communication versus face-to-face social interaction influences mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes and to develop specialized interventions for younger age groups,” she said…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190315110908.htm

Citation:

Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade
Shift may be due in part to rise of digital media, study suggests
Date: March 15, 2019
Source: American Psychological Association
Summary:
The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to new research.

Journal Reference:
Jean M. Twenge, A. Bell Cooper, Thomas E. Joiner, Mary E. Duffy, Sarah G. Binau. Age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes in a nationally representative dataset, 2005–2017.. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/abn0000410

Here is the press release from the American Psychological Association:

PUBLIC RELEASE: 14-MAR-2019
Mental health issues increased significantly in young adults over last decade
Shift may be due in part to rise of digital media, study suggests
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
WASHINGTON — The percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders has risen significantly over the past decade, with no corresponding increase in older adults, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
“More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” said lead author Jean Twenge, PhD, author of the book “iGen” and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages.”
The research was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Twenge and her co-authors analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey that has tracked drug and alcohol use, mental health and other health-related issues in individuals age 12 and over in the United States since 1971. They looked at survey responses from more than 200,000 adolescents age 12 to 17 from 2005 to 2017, and almost 400,000 adults age 18 and over from 2008 to 2017.
The rate of individuals reporting symptoms consistent with major depression in the last 12 months increased 52 percent in adolescents from 2005 to 2017 (from 8.7 percent to 13.2 percent) and 63 percent in young adults age 18 to 25 from 2009 to 2017 (from 8.1 percent to 13.2 percent). There was also a 71 percent increase in young adults experiencing serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.7 percent to 13.1 percent). The rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased 47 percent from 2008 to 2017 (from 7.0 percent to 10.3 percent).
There was no significant increase in the percentage of older adults experiencing depression or psychological distress during corresponding time periods. The researchers even saw a slight decline in psychological distress in individuals over 65.
“Cultural trends in the last 10 years may have had a larger effect on mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among younger generations compared with older generations,” said Twenge, who believes this trend may be partially due to increased use of electronic communication and digital media, which may have changed modes of social interaction enough to affect mood disorders. She also noted research shows that young people are not sleeping as much as they did in previous generations.
The increase in digital media use may have had a bigger impact on teens and young adults because older adults’ social lives are more stable and might have changed less than teens’ social lives have in the last ten years, said Twenge. Older adults might also be less likely to use digital media in a way that interferes with sleep – for example, they might be better at not staying up late on their phones or using them in the middle of the night.
“These results suggest a need for more research to understand how digital communication versus face-to-face social interaction influences mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes and to develop specialized interventions for younger age groups,” she said.
Given that the increase in mental health issues was sharpest after 2011, Twenge believes it’s unlikely to be due to genetics or economic woes and more likely to be due to sudden cultural changes, such as shifts in how teens and young adults spend their time outside of work and school. If so, that may be good news, she said.
“Young people can’t change their genetics or the economic situation of the country, but they can choose how they spend their leisure time. First and most important is to get enough sleep. Make sure your device use doesn’t interfere with sleep — don’t keep phones or tablets in the bedroom at night, and put devices down within an hour of bedtime,” she said. “Overall, make sure digital media use doesn’t interfere with activities more beneficial to mental health such as face-to-face social interaction, exercise and sleep.”
###
Article: “Age, Period, and Cohort Trends in Mood Disorder and Suicide-Related Outcomes in a Nationally Representative Dataset, 2005-2017,” by Jean Twenge, PhD, San Diego State University; Thomas Joiner, PhD, and Mary Duffy, BA, Florida State University; Bell Cooper, PhD, Lynn University; and Sara Binau, Pomona College. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published online March 14, 2019.
Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/abn-abn0000410.pdf.
Contact: Jean Twenge can be contacted via email at jtwenge@mail.sdsu.edu.
The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 118,400 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.
http://www.apa.org
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
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Copyright © 2019 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

There is something to be said for Cafe Society where people actually meet face-to-face for conversation or the custom of families eating at least one meal together. Time has a good article on The Magic of the Family Meal http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html See, also The

Importance of Eating Together: Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/

It also looks like Internet rehab will have a steady supply of customers according to an article reprinted in the Seattle Times by Hillary Stout of the New York Times. In Toddlers Latch On to iPhones – and Won’t Let Go https://www.seattletimes.com/life/lifestyle/toddlers-latch-onto-iphones-8212-and-wont-let-go/ Stout reports:

But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.

Looks like social networking may not be all that social.

Where information leads to Hope. ©

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U.S. Supreme Court declines to accept school bullying case, Morrow v. The Blackhawk School District

16 Dec

Moi wrote about bullying in School bullying: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency report:
The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency has issued the report, Bullying in Schools: An Overview by Ken Seeley, Martin L. Tombari, Laurie J. Bennett, and Jason B. Dunkle. Among the study’s findings are:

o Bullying is a complex social and emotional phenomenon that plays out differently on an individual level.
o Bullying does not directly cause truancy.
o School engagement protects victims from truancy and low academic achievement.
o When schools provide a safe learning environment in which adults model positive behavior, they can mitigate the negative effects of bullying.
o Any interventions to address bullying or victimization should be intentional, student-focused engagement strategies that fit the context of the school where they are used.
The report makes the following recommendations:
o Increase student engagement.
o Model caring behavior for students.
o Offer mentoring programs.
o Provide students with opportunities for service learning as a means of improving school engagement.
o Address the difficult transition between elementary and middle school (from a single classroom teacher to teams of teachers with periods and class changes in a large school) (Lohaus et al., 2004).
o Start prevention programs early.
o Resist the temptation to use prefabricated curriculums that are not aligned to local conditions.
Increase Student Engagement
Bullied children who remain engaged in school attend class more frequently and achieve more. Challenging academics, extracurricular activities, understanding teachers and coaches, and a focus on the future help keep victimized children engaged in their education (Bausell, 2011). Schools, administrations, and districts that wish to stave off the negative effects of bullying must redouble their efforts to engage each student in school. Typical school engagement strategies include (Karcher, 2005):
• Providing a caring adult for every student through an advisory program or similar arrangement.
o Carefully monitoring attendance, calling home each time a student is absent, and allowing students the ability to make up missed work with support from a teacher.
o Adopting and implementing the National School Climate Standardsfrom the National School Climate Council (2010).
o Promoting and fostering parent and community engagement, including afterschool and summer programs.
o Providing school-based mentorship options for students.http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/234205.pdf
https://drwilda.com/2011/12/20/school-bullying-office-of-juvenile-justice-and-delinquency-report/

See, School Bullying Report Makes Recommendations To Address Issue, Support Victims http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/17/school-bullying-report-ma_n_1155250.html?ref=email_share

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of Morrow v. The Blackhawk School District.

Mark Walsh reported in the Education Week article, Supreme Court Declines to Take Up School Bullying Case:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal seeking to hold a Pennsylvania school district responsible for repeated bullying of a high school student by one of her peers.
A federal appeals court had taken note of school shooting tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., as symbols of the new dangers in schools. But it nonetheless held that despite compulsory education laws, the Blackhawk school district in Pennsylvania did not have a “special relationship” with its students that would give rise to a duty to protect them from harm from other students….
The case involves Brittany Morrow, who in early 2008 at Blackhawk High School in Beaver County, Pa., began facing bullying from a schoolmate that included “racially motivated” threats and physical assaults, court papers say. In one incident, the perpetrator attacked Brittany in the lunchroom and because Brittany defended herself, she was suspended along with her attacker.
For that and other incidents, the perpetrator was charged in juvenile court with assault, making terroristic threats, and harassment. She was adjudicated delinquent and ordered to have no contact with Brittany. The perpetrator was nevertheless allowed to return to Blackhawk High. In the fall of 2008, she allegedly boarded Brittany’s school bus and threatened her, and later elbowed her in the face at a high school football game…
They lost before a federal district court and the full 3rd Circuit court.
The appeals court ruled 9-5 for the school defendants that there was no “special relationship” between schools and students and 10-4 that legal injuries to the victims were not the result of actions taken by administrators under a “state-created danger” theory of liability.
In their appeal to the Supreme Court in Morrow v. Balaski (Case No. 13-302), the family said school officials “acted to allow the aggressor to return to school following her temporary suspension and despite court orders mandating no contact. They opened the front door of the school to a person they knew would cause harm to the children.”
In a brief opposing high court review, the school district and the assistant principal argued that there was no conflict among the federal appeals courts about the special relationship theory of liability and that no school official acted affirmatively to increase the dangers to Morrow.
The justices declined without comment to take up the appeal.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/2013/12/supreme_court_declines_to_take_1.html

Justia.com summarized the case:

Justia.com Opinion Summary: Brittany and Emily Morrow were subjected to threats and physical assaults by Anderson, a fellow student at Blackhawk High School. After Anderson physically attacked Brittany in the lunch room, the school suspended both girls. Brittany’s mother reported Anderson to the police at the recommendation of administration. Anderson was charged with simple assault, terroristic threats, and harassment. Anderson continued to bully Brittany and Emily. A state court placed Anderson on probation and ordered her to have no contact with Brittany. Five months later, Anderson was adjudicated delinquent and was again given a “no contact” order, which was provided to the school. Anderson subsequently boarded Brittany’s school bus and threatened Brittany, even though that bus did not service Anderson’s home. School officials told the Morrows that they could not guarantee their daughters’ safety and advised the Morrows to consider another school. The Morrows filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violation of their substantive due process rights. The district court dismissed, reasoning that the school did not have a “special relationship” with students that would create a constitutional duty to protect them from other students and that the Morrows’ injury was not the result of any affirmative action by the defendants, under the “state-created danger” doctrine. The Third Circuit affirmed.
The court issued a Revised version of this opinion on June 14, 2013
PDF Download PDF
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca3/11-2000/11-2000-2013-06-05.pdf
http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca3/11-2000/11-2000-2013-06-05.html

The American Psychological Association (APA) has information about bullying.

The APA has the following suggestions for teachers and administrators:

Be knowledgeable and observant
Teachers and administrators need to be aware that although bullying generally happens in areas such as the bathroom, playground, crowded hallways, and school buses as well as via cell phones and computers (where supervision is limited or absent), it must be taken seriously. Teachers and administrators should emphasize that telling is not tattling. If a teacher observes bullying in a classroom, he/she needs to immediately intervene to stop it, record the incident and inform the appropriate school administrators so the incident can be investigated. Having a joint meeting with the bullied student and the student who is bullying is not recommended — it is embarrassing and very intimidating for the student that is being bullied.
Involve students and parents
Students and parents need to be a part of the solution and involved in safety teams and antibullying task forces. Students can inform adults about what is really going on and also teach adults about new technologies that kids are using to bully. Parents, teachers, and school administrators can help students engage in positive behavior and teach them skills so that they know how to intervene when bullying occurs. Older students can serve as mentors and inform younger students about safe practices on the Internet.
Set positive expectations about behavior for students and adults
Schools and classrooms must offer students a safe learning environment. Teachers and coaches need to explicitly remind students that bullying is not accepted in school and such behaviors will have consequences. Creating an anti-bullying document and having both the student and the parents/guardians sign and return it to the school office helps students understand the seriousness of bullying. Also, for students who have a hard time adjusting or finding friends, teachers and administrators can facilitate friendships or provide “jobs” for the student to do during lunch and recess so that children do not feel isolated or in danger of becoming targets for bullying. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/bullying.aspx

Stop Bullying.gov has some great advice about bullying.

According to the Stop Bullying.gov article, What You Can Do:

What to Do If You’re Bullied
There are things you can do if you are being bullied:
Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard.
If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.
There are things you can do to stay safe in the future, too.
Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.
Stay away from places where bullying happens.
Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.
http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do

Even though children are encouraged to report bullying, they often don’t.

The Committee for Children explains Why Don’t Kids Report Bullying?

There is good evidence that young people often do not report bullying to adults. Children are adept at hiding bullying-related behaviors and the unequal “shadow” power dynamics that can exist among them. Because of this secrecy, adults underestimate the seriousness and extent of bullying at their schools.
Schools cannot help if children do not entrust them with information. So why don’t children report bullying?
Research Shows That Adults Rarely Intervene
There is a catch-22: Students don’t tell because they don’t see adults helping, but adults can’t help if students don’t tell them what is going on in their peer groups.
The perception that adults don’t act may lead students to conclude that adults don’t care, or that there are different standards for adults’ behavior than for young people’s. In the workplace, shoving co-workers in the hallway would not be tolerated. Yet many adults believe that young people need to “work out” bullying problems like these on their own. This belief may promote a “code of silence” about abusive behavior. A logical consequence would be the failure of students to report other dangers, such as knowledge about a weapon at school.
Students Fear Retaliation and a Reputation as a “Rat”
Fear of retailiation might be especially the case about reporting popular students who bully. There is evidence that well-liked and successful children can be the most skilled at bullying and at escaping detection.
They Don’t Want to Lose Power
Students may not report that they or their friends bully because they don’t want to lose the power they gain through controlling others.
They Don’t Recognize Subtle Bullying
Students may not report more subtle, indirect, and relational types of bullying (such as deliberately excluding peers or spreading rumors) because they don’t realize that these are also unfair, unequal ways to treat others.
They Feel Ashamed, Afraid, or Powerless
Students may not report being victims of bullying because it makes them feel ashamed, afraid, and powerless. Over time, they may come to feel they deserve to be bullied. This may be particularly true of children in fourth grade and up.
Because adults rarely intervene, young people may come to believe they can bully without any consequences. Many believe that “acting bad” pays off. In fact, it may win them status with others, as children do act more friendly and respectful toward those who bully.
What Can Adults Do?
If we want children to talk to us and ask for help, we need to invite them to report. And effective adult follow-through is critical. This means “walking the talk” of bullying prevention, and addressing the power imbalances that put children who bully, those who are bullied, and bystanders at risk of perpetuating abuse. Bringing children who bully and those they bully into the same room to talk is not advisable. Intervening, making plans for behavior change, and continuing to check in on an individual basis with the students involved is best.
Adults can also give young people tools to help them evaluate when and how to report. Teaching about the distinction between reporting (telling to keep someone safe) and tattling (telling to get someone in trouble), for example, can help students make responsible decisions. This, in turn, can empower everyone in schools to help prevent inequity and suffering. http://www.cfchildren.org/advocacy/bullying-prevention/why-kids-dont-report-bullying.aspx

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

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/

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Kids need to tell teachers and schools when they are bullied

8 Apr

Moi wrote about bullying in School bullying: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency report:

The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency has issued the report, Bullying in Schools: An Overview by Ken Seeley, Martin L. Tombari, Laurie J. Bennett, and Jason B. Dunkle. Among the study’s findings are:

  • Bullying is a complex social and emotional phenomenon that plays out differently on an individual level.

  • Bullying does not directly cause truancy.

  • School engagement protects victims from truancy and low academic achievement.

  • When schools provide a safe learning environment in which adults model positive behavior, they can mitigate the negative effects of bullying.

  • Any interventions to address bullying or victimization should be intentional, student-focused engagement strategies that fit the context of the school where they are used.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Increase student engagement.

  • Model caring behavior for students.

  • Offer mentoring programs.

  • Provide students with opportunities for service learning as a means of improving school engagement.

  • Address the difficult transition between elementary and middle school (from a single classroom teacher to teams of teachers with periods and class changes in a large school) (Lohaus et al., 2004).

  • Start prevention programs early.

  • Resist the temptation to use prefabricated curriculums that are not aligned to local conditions.

Increase Student Engagement

Bullied children who remain engaged in school attend class more frequently and achieve more. Challenging academics, extracurricular activities, understanding teachers and coaches, and a focus on the future help keep victimized children engaged in their education (Bausell, 2011). Schools, administrations, and districts that wish to stave off the negative effects of bullying must redouble their efforts to engage each student in school. Typical school engagement strategies include (Karcher, 2005):

•            Providing a caring adult for every student through an advisory program or similar arrangement.

See, School Bullying Report Makes Recommendations To Address Issue, Support Victims  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/17/school-bullying-report-ma_n_1155250.html?ref=email_share

The Takepart.com article, When Kids Are Afraid to Tell Teachers About Bullying—That Is a Problem discusses the reluctance of some children to tell teachers about bullying.

Learning when and how to “tattle”—I mean when and how to report incidents—is extremely important to preventing bullying and building a safe and caring learning community in the classroom.

When acts of meanness, small or large, go unchecked, disrespectful and mean behavior becomes the norm. Over time, this creates a culture of meanness that eventually can grow to permeate the entire classroom or school.

Parents and educators should redefine tattling as reporting and teach children why it’s important to report hurtful behavior to an adult in order to help keep someone else safe. Teaching young children how to “report” may have lasting effects, and help prevent some of the awful incidents of violence that have occurred in our high schools. 

As a more experienced, and hopefully wiser, teacher now, I listen carefully first and then determine what to do with the information children share with me. On the first day of school, I tell my students, “My most important job at school is to keep you safe.” I also make sure parents know it’s a message I take very seriously.

I go on to tell my students, “If someone is being mean to you—hurting you on the outside or on the inside—I need you to tell me.” They learn quickly that kindness is valued and meanness is not allowed. As a community, we learn better ways to take care of each other. We spend lots of time strengthening our skills of cooperation and problem-solving.

But, even with all of this proactive work, children will still test limits and experiment with how to treat each other. Because I know this, we model, we practice, and we role-play what to do when someone is unkind to someone else.

We get really good at identifying when we need to tell an adult and what we should say. A dilemma we face is that much of the meanness and bullying goes on when teachers aren’t around—at lunchtime, recess, in the hallways, and just before and after school.

Teachers can’t be everywhere and even if we could, we can’t see everything. We need to prepare our students to get help outside the safety of our classrooms.   

When children tell us about bullying behavior, we adults need to intervene and send the message that we will not let this continue. Children need to know we are going to help them.

As teachers, we need to think carefully about our responses when children come to us and share information.

As teachers, we need to think carefully about our responses when children come to us and share information. When they tell us that something is happening to them or to someone else, they should know that we will help them.

We need to show them that the information they shared with us will not be ignored and that the adults in the school will help them.

When it comes to tattling reporting, we need children to have the skills and courage to tell us about problems they’re noticing. Because we teachers can’t stop what we don’t see or hear—or know about. http://news.yahoo.com/kids-afraid-tell-teachers-bullying-problem-191700642.html

The American Psychological Association (APA) has information about bullying.

The APA has the following suggestions for teachers and administrators:

Be knowledgeable and observant

Teachers and administrators need to be aware that although bullying generally happens in areas such as the bathroom, playground, crowded hallways, and school buses as well as via cell phones and computers (where supervision is limited or absent), it must be taken seriously. Teachers and administrators should emphasize that telling is not tattling. If a teacher observes bullying in a classroom, he/she needs to immediately intervene to stop it, record the incident and inform the appropriate school administrators so the incident can be investigated. Having a joint meeting with the bullied student and the student who is bullying is not recommended — it is embarrassing and very intimidating for the student that is being bullied.

Involve students and parents

Students and parents need to be a part of the solution and involved in safety teams and antibullying task forces. Students can inform adults about what is really going on and also teach adults about new technologies that kids are using to bully. Parents, teachers, and school administrators can help students engage in positive behavior and teach them skills so that they know how to intervene when bullying occurs. Older students can serve as mentors and inform younger students about safe practices on the Internet.

Set positive expectations about behavior for students and adults

Schools and classrooms must offer students a safe learning environment. Teachers and coaches need to explicitly remind students that bullying is not accepted in school and such behaviors will have consequences. Creating an anti-bullying document and having both the student and the parents/guardians sign and return it to the school office helps students understand the seriousness of bullying. Also, for students who have a hard time adjusting or finding friends, teachers and administrators can facilitate friendships or provide “jobs” for the student to do during lunch and recess so that children do not feel isolated or in danger of becoming targets for bullying. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/bullying.aspx

Stop Bullying.gov has some great advice about bullying.

According to the Stop Bullying.gov article, What You Can Do:

What to Do If You’re Bullied 

There are things you can do if you are being bullied:

  • Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard.
  • If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.

There are things you can do to stay safe in the future, too.

  • Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.
  • Stay away from places where bullying happens.
  • Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.

http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do

Even though children are encouraged to report bullying, they often don’t.

The Committee for Children explains Why Don’t Kids Report Bullying?

There is good evidence that young people often do not report bullying to adults. Children are adept at hiding bullying-related behaviors and the unequal “shadow” power dynamics that can exist among them. Because of this secrecy, adults underestimate the seriousness and extent of bullying at their schools.

Schools cannot help if children do not entrust them with information. So why don’t children report bullying?

Research Shows That Adults Rarely Intervene

There is a catch-22: Students don’t tell because they don’t see adults helping, but adults can’t help if students don’t tell them what is going on in their peer groups.

The perception that adults don’t act may lead students to conclude that adults don’t care, or that there are different standards for adults’ behavior than for young people’s. In the workplace, shoving co-workers in the hallway would not be tolerated. Yet many adults believe that young people need to “work out” bullying problems like these on their own. This belief may promote a “code of silence” about abusive behavior. A logical consequence would be the failure of students to report other dangers, such as knowledge about a weapon at school.

Students Fear Retaliation and a Reputation as a “Rat”

Fear of retailiation might be especially the case about reporting popular students who bully. There is evidence that well-liked and successful children can be the most skilled at bullying and at escaping detection.

They Don’t Want to Lose Power

Students may not report that they or their friends bully because they don’t want to lose the power they gain through controlling others.

They Don’t Recognize Subtle Bullying

Students may not report more subtle, indirect, and relational types of bullying (such as deliberately excluding peers or spreading rumors) because they don’t realize that these are also unfair, unequal ways to treat others.

They Feel Ashamed, Afraid, or Powerless

Students may not report being victims of bullying because it makes them feel ashamed, afraid, and powerless. Over time, they may come to feel they deserve to be bullied. This may be particularly true of children in fourth grade and up.

Because adults rarely intervene, young people may come to believe they can bully without any consequences. Many believe that “acting bad” pays off. In fact, it may win them status with others, as children do act more friendly and respectful toward those who bully.

What Can Adults Do?

If we want children to talk to us and ask for help, we need to invite them to report. And effective adult follow-through is critical. This means “walking the talk” of bullying prevention, and addressing the power imbalances that put children who bully, those who are bullied, and bystanders at risk of perpetuating abuse. Bringing children who bully and those they bully into the same room to talk is not advisable. Intervening, making plans for behavior change, and continuing to check in on an individual basis with the students involved is best.

Adults can also give young people tools to help them evaluate when and how to report. Teaching about the distinction between reporting (telling to keep someone safe) and tattling (telling to get someone in trouble), for example, can help students make responsible decisions. This, in turn, can empower everyone in schools to help prevent inequity and suffering. http://www.cfchildren.org/advocacy/bullying-prevention/why-kids-dont-report-bullying.aspx

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “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

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Do ‘grown-ups’ have to be reminded to keep their clothes on in public? Apparently so

9 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi had to look twice at this notice from CBS to those attending the GRAMMY show, Breasts, buttocks banned by CBS from Grammys:

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS is asking stars not to bare too much skin at the Grammy Awards on Sunday.

The network requests that “buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered” for the televised award show. The memo sent out Wednesday also warned against “see-through clothing,” exposure of “the genital region” and said that “thong type costumes are problematic.”

Representatives for CBS and the Recording Academy declined to comment on Thursday. Deadline Hollywood first reported the memo.

CBS broadcast the infamous 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that included Janet Jackson‘s “wardrobe malfunction.” The network was initially fined by the Federal Communications Commission, though the fine was later overturned. http://www.seattlepi.com/entertainment/article/Breasts-buttocks-banned-by-CBS-from-Grammys-4260323.php?cmpid=emailarticle&cmpid=emailarticle

See, Was Beyoncé’s racy Super Bowl outfit too much? Parents’ backlash over ‘trampy’ stage costume http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2273282/Was-Beyonc-s-racy-Super-Bowl-outfit-Parents-backlash-trampy-stage-costume.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#axzz2KQqoELyE

One of the hallmarks of a generation or a cohort are attitudes which were formed by the period of time in which the generation or cohort existed. Perhaps, the best capsule to explain the attitude differences between the early days of the women’s movement and the sex is one way to climb the ladder of success ethos of the Sex in the City crowd is in the Dolly Parton movie, 9 to 5 which was released in 1980. It is interesting to read the NOW 1966 Statement of Purpose which states principles such as:

WE BELIEVE that it is as essential for every girl to be educated to her full potential of human ability as it is for every boy — with the knowledge that such education is the key to effective participation in today’s economy and that, for a girl as for a boy, education can only be serious where there is expectation that it will be used in society. We believe that American educators are capable of devising means of imparting such expectations to girl students. Moreover, we consider the decline in the proportion of women receiving higher and professional education to be evidence of discrimination. This discrimination may take the form of quotas against the admission of women to colleges, and professional schools; lack of encouragement by parents, counselors and educators; denial of loans or fellowships; or the traditional or arbitrary procedures in graduate and professional training geared in terms of men, which inadvertently discriminate against women. We believe that the same serious attention must be given to high school dropouts who are girls as to boys.

The naive little idea which NOW was enunciating at the time that was that women should get educated and gain experience so that they would be qualified on their merits for promotion. Women’s ENews has an article about the casting couch syndrome which the movie 9 to 5 highlighted and the early women’s movement fought so hard to overcome. In the article Sexual Harassment  Sandra Kobrin correctly takes the likes of Polanski and Letterman to task.

Marc D. Hauser writes in the Education Week commentary, Don’t Run Away From Teaching Pop Culture:

Check out the music children listen to, and you will hear rap and hip-hop songs about sex, violence, women as objects, and domination. Sometimes the questionable language is explicit and sometimes it’s implicit, veiled in metaphors. Ask children if the content is appropriate or what the song is about, and you will get one of four answers:

“I don’t know. I just like the music.”

“I don’t know, but it’s OK because it doesn’t have any swears in it.”

“I know it has cursing in it so I listen to the ‘clean’ version.”

“I know it’s about sex and violence, but I like the beat.”

When children think that music is inappropriate, most often they believe that the moral infraction lies with the use of profanity. If you clean up the words, you cleanse the moral space and thus are free to listen, they believe. In fact, YouTube is littered with tunes that are designated “clean” because censors have “bleeped out” the swearing in them. But that really isn’t good enough.

There are two problems with editing out profanity and acting as if a song is subsequently appropriate for all listeners. First, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what words have been papered over and then mentally fill them in as the song goes by. Second, I think it is fair to assume that most parents and educators are far more worried about the larger meaning of a song—its message—than we are about a few bad words….

The bottom line is that educators (and parents) can’t run away from these issues, and we certainly can’t keep the material from children unless we believe that a life without radio and the Internet is possible; similar issues arise with books and movies, including many of the topics covered within the Twilight and Hunger Games series….

Although these issues are critical for parents, I’m going to focus here on what educators can, and I believe should, do to address this matter.

“Teachers should actively engage their students in discussions about the controversial material bombarding them.”

First, we must recognize that our students are surrounded by material that is, in many ways, not only age-inappropriate, but in some cases, morally inappropriate. Although what counts as morally inappropriate is certainly debatable, I would hope that most educators might agree on some topics, such as the barrage of rap songs that demean women or seem to promote violence as cool and exciting.

Second, we cannot sit back and let our students passively digest this material. No, instead, teachers should actively engage their students in discussions about the controversial material bombarding them.

More concretely, it should be a priority of all schools to develop classes around the lyrics in present-day music and to fully engage with the fiction that many of our children seek out. Literature classes provide a natural home for these topics; after all, great literature addresses moral challenges. Think Anna Karenina, Adam Bede, David Copperfield. So why not do the same for the song lyrics and for many of the most popular works of fiction on the market now? Or, if high school English teachers are too busy with other tasks, why not create electives centered around the moral issues that modern songs and books raise? http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/06/20hauser.h32.html?tkn=RYCFHYHX7zZNkAI6qv8hs9lOI5U7ENQ%2BQ9Wo&cmp=clp-sb-ascd&intc=es

The American Psychological Association has written a report Sexualization of Girls and the Executive Summary contains the following definition:

There are several components to sexualization, and these set it apart from healthy sexuality. Sexualization occurs when

  • a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics;
  • a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy;
  • a person is sexually objectified—that is, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; and/or
  • sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person.

All four conditions need not be present; any one is an indication of sexualization. The fourth condition (the inappropriate imposition of sexuality) is especially relevant to children. Anyone (girls, boys, men, women) can be sexualized. But when children are imbued with adult sexuality, it is often imposed upon them rather than chosen by them. Self-motivated sexual exploration, on the other hand, is not sexualization by our definition, nor is age-appropriate exposure to information about sexuality.        http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

This society is setting up women and girls to make some personally destructive choices which have nothing to do with a liberating and healthy sexuality. Much of the culture is simply aimed at demeaning and trivializing women. Children of both sexes need to be urged toward education, training, and life experiences which grow them as responsible and caring people. They should be urged to make choices which benefit them and the society in which they live. Unfortunately, there are some who enter the world of whoredom because they are forced. There is a lot of information about human trafficking No one in their right mind would honestly advocate that someone they care about was “in the life” or “on the game.” But if young women are going to voluntarily take the road of whoredom, then you need to sell yourselves for Goldman Sachs type $$$$$$$$$$. That is what Miley, Britney, Janet and the other pop tarts have done. Short of that, you might as well be walking the streets looking for a really nice car that isn’t leased so that you can become the next “Pretty Woman.”

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