Dr. Wayne Baker is away this week.
Guest columnist Joe Grimm teaches journalism at Michigan State University and leads a team of students researching the issue of bullying. Policy-makers nationwide are looking for guidance on how to tackle this problem. You can help by reading this column, then adding a comment below.
This is Joe Grimm’s 3rd of five columns …
A trove of cyberbullying cases—and analyses of the problem—surfaced in 2011. These cyberbullying statistics come from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. Take a look at these findings and tell us what you think:
Twenty percent of teens flatly responded that their peers are mostly unkind, and an additional 11 percent responded “it depends.”
Eighty-eight percent said they have seen peers being mean or cruel online.
Girls aged 12-13 who are active with social media were much more likely than other teens to say that people seemed to them to be mostly unkind. Thirty-three percent said that.
More than a quarter of all girls at this age said that bad experiences online made them anxious about going to school the next day.
About 55 percent of all teens said that the most frequent response of their peers to mean behavior online is to ignore it. The report said non-responders should not be judged, as it can be difficult to know what the aggression is all about and that some might ignore such behavior to discourage it.
The major message in the report is not that bullying happens online. There has always been bullying, so it is no surprise that it has moved to social media. The a-ha is that, because kids always have a computer or phone with them, they no longer have any bully-free times or spaces. Bullying can follow students wherever they and their ever-present devices go.
School, which has been the scene for a lot of bullying, might now be seen as a haven from it because schools require phones to be shut off and because teachers are watching the classroom.
What do you think?
Is it possible to protect kids from cyberbullying?
Who is responsible? Parents? Teachers? The teens themselves?
Should teens be encouraged to pressure others from being online bullies?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue.