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Bullying and Harassment Among Children & Youth

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1 Bullying and Harassment Among Children & Youth
Office of Civil Rights: September 7, 2007

2 Recent Attention to Bullying
Since 1992, there have been decreases in most measures of school violence. But there has been a dramatic increase (post-Columbine) in the public’s attention to bullying.

3 Bullying in the News. (Lexis/Nexis Citations with
Bullying in the News (Lexis/Nexis Citations with bullying in headline and text, “schools” in text) Rapid rise in the reports.

4 Number of State Laws Related to Bullying

5 State Laws on Bullying = States with laws on bullying
= States with no laws on bullying

6 Research on Bullying PSYCHInfo Searches for “bully” or “bullying”

7 Has bullying increased since 1999?

8 Bullying… Is aggressive behavior that intends to cause harm or distress. Usually is repeated over time. Occurs in a relationship where there is an imbalance of power or strength.

9 Direct Bullying Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting
Taunting, teasing, racial slurs, verbal harassment Threatening, obscene gestures

10 Indirect Bullying Getting another person to bully someone for you
Spreading rumors Deliberately excluding someone from a group or activity Cyberbullying

11 Type of Bullying Experienced NCVS 2005

12 Key Findings About Bullying
1. Many children are involved in bullying situations, and most are quite concerned about it.

13 Prevalence of Bullying
Nansel et al. (2001): national sample of 15,600 students in grades 6-10 19% bullied others “sometimes” or more often 9% bullied others weekly 17% were bullied “sometimes” or more often 8% were bullied weekly 6% reported bullying and being bullied “sometimes” or more often

14 Key Findings About Bullying
2. There are similarities and differences among boys and girls in their experiences of bullying.

15 Gender & Bullying Similarities: Differences:
Both boys and girls engage in frequent verbal bullying. Girls and boys engage in relational bullying. Differences: Most studies indicate that boys bully more than girls. Boys are more likely to be physically bullied. Girls are more likely to be bullied through social exclusion, rumor-spreading, cyber bullying, and sexual comments. Boys are bullied primarily by boys; girls are bullied by boys and girls.

16 Frequency of Self-Reported Bullying Among Boys & Girls
Nansel et al. study (2001) of 15,686 6th-10th graders. Boys were 2x as likely as girls to report bullying others: “sometimes” or more. “once a week” or more often.

17 Key Findings About Bullying
3. Bullying is more common among elementary and middle school children than high school youth.

18 Victimization Rates Nansel et al. (2001)

19 Bullying Rates Nansel et al. (2001)

20 Key Findings About Bullying
4. Cyber Bullying is a “new modality” for bullying that has some unique characteristics.

21 Cyber Bullying. How prevalent is it
Cyber Bullying How prevalent is it? Kowalski, Limber, & Agatston, in press) Survey of 3,767 middle school students 18% had been cyber bullied at least once in the last 2 months (girls 2x boys) 11% had cyber bullied others at least once (girls somewhat more)

22 Method of Cyber Bully Victimization (Kowalski et al.)

23 Identity of “Cyber Bully” (Kowalski et al.)

24 What is cyber bullying Willful and repeated harm inflicted through medium of electronic text Using information and communication technologies with the intent to harass, humiliate, and intimidate another Text and images communicated via computer , IM, S.N. websites, chat rooms) … or via cell phone (text messages, images)

25 “It’s great! Over the internet you don’t really see the faces and they don’t see you. You don’t even have to look at their eyes and see their hurt.” From A Girl Bully

26 The psychology of online behavior: disinhibition effect
“You can’t see me” (invisible/anonymous) “I can’t see you” (no tangible feedback) Role playing (personas/avatars) Online social norms … revealing of personal information, freedom of speech, perception that it is not real (no one gets hurt)

27 Popular Social Networking Sites
myspace .com (30 million R.U.) ( 2 million members)

28 Cyber – bullying types Some of the many forms (Willard):
A threatening (Harassment) Nasty instant messaging session (Flaming) Repeated notes sent to the cell phone (Harassment) A website set top to mock others (Denigration) “Borrowing” someone’s and pretending to be them while posting a message (Impersonation) Forwarding supposedly private messages pictures or video to others (Outing and Trickery) Intentionally leaving out of conversations (Exclusion)

29 Differences between traditional bullying and cyber-bullying
Cyber bullying: occurs more often at home Is more anonymous Involves a different power balance: may stem from proficiency, may be used by “lower social status” individual to retaliate Is just as likely to be done by girls May be more harmful: can happen anytime; information widely disseminated; lack of tangible feedback can increase intensity of harassment Similar to bullying: repeated, harmful, not reported!

30 The digital divide 93% of parents say they have established internet safety rules 37% of students report being given no rules from parents on internet safety 95% of parents say they know “some” or “a lot” about where children go or what children do on the internet 41% of students do not share where they go or what they do on the internet with parents

31 Text Messaging Students in Our Focus Groups Were Asked:
“Do kids text message during the school day? Answer: “All day every day.”

32 Cyber-bullying What to do?
Tell someone, if it is school related; tell your school. All schools have bullying solutions. Never open, read or respond to messages from cyber bullies. Do not erase the messages. They may be needed to take action. If bullied through chat or IM, the bully can often be blocked. If you are threatened with harm, call the police.

33 What Can Educators Do? Educate the school community
Update bullying rules an d policies Monitor student’s use of computers-supervision! Use filtering and tracking software Investigate reports of cyber-bullying Model and promote positive behavior

34 What Can Educators Do? Emphasize the importance of speaking out against bullying in all its forms. Establish and anonymous reporting box/system. Bullying prevention programs.

35 Text Messaging and Instant Messaging Abbreviations

36 Warning: Offensive Profanity
Blog Case Example Warning: Offensive Profanity

37 This case was brought to the attention of Patti Agatston who works with a suburban school district in Georgia. A middle school girl (we’ll call her Brandy) discovered that she was the subject of this threatening posting on Xanga. Her parents were extremely worried so contacted the school and also the police. Because a threat was involved, the police were able to force Xanga to reveal the identity of individual who posted the messages. To everyone’s surprise…the “perpetrators” were 2 middle school girls who barely knew Brandy. They were “wannabe” friends of another girl (we’ll call Kim), who had felt “dissed” by Brandy and was upset that they had grown apart. The 2 friends (perhaps wanting to become closer friends of Brandy’s) launched this site unbenownst to Kim. Brandy’s parents could have pressed charges but did not. Instead, with the careful help of Patti, they participated in a meeting with the parents of one of the “perpetrators” and with the young girl who posted the messages to Xanga. All participated voluntarily. The girls were very contrite, as were their parents. Discuss how personal slights (which may or may not be addressed in person) take on a different light when they are online and anonymous…

38 Key Findings About Bullying
5. Bullying can seriously effect children who are targeted. Myth: Bullying isn’t serious—it’s just a matter of “kids being kids.”

39 Short-Term Effects of Bullying on Victims
Lower self-esteem Higher anxiety and depression More suicidal ideation Higher rates of illness

40 Health Consequences of Bullying (Fekkes et al., 2003)
Bullied Not bullied Headache 16% 6% Sleep problems 42% 23% Abdominal pain 17% 9% Feeling tense 20% 9% Anxiety 28% 10% Feeling unhappy 23% 5% Depression scale moderate indication 49% 16% strong indication 16% 2%

41 Impact of Bullying on School Engagement & Student Academic Achievement
Bullied children are more likely to: Want to avoid going to school (Kochenderfer & Ladd, 1996) Have higher absenteeism rates (Rigby, 1996; Smith et al, 2004) Say they dislike school; receive lower grades (Eisenberg et al., 2003)

42 Buhs et al. (2006) Study of Peer Exclusion & Victimization and Academic Achievement
Peer Abuse Achievement Decrease Classroom Participation School Avoidance Peer Rejection Kindergarten th Grade Early peer rejection in kindergarten is associated with peer exclusion and peer abuse in grades K-5. Peer exclusion leads to a decrease in classroom participation, which in turn leads to a decrease in achievement Peer abuse leads to an increase in school avoidance (but not directly to decreases in achievement) In this longitudinal study of 380 Kindergarten through 5th graders, researchers found that: Early peer rejection in kindergarten (e.g., “How much do you like to hang out with ____”) is associated with peer exclusion in grades K-5 (e.g., excluded from activities) and peer abuse (e.g., picked on; others say bad things about). Peer exclusion leads to a decrease in classroom participation (e.g., follows teacher directions; seeks challenges; accepts responsibility for a task), which in turn leads to a decrease in achievement (on the Wide Range Achievement Test). Peer abuse leads to an increase in school avoidance (although this is not directly related to achievement). Citation: Buhs, E. S., Ladd, G.W., Herald, S. L. (2006). Peer exclusion and victimization: Processes that mediate the relation between peer group rejection and children’s classroom engagement and achievement? Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 1-13

43 GLBT teens hear anti-gay slurs
about 26 times per day, or once every 14 minutes … (National Mental Health Association) Safe Places to Learn 7.5% of California students reported being harassed on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation They are more than 3X as likely: Carry a weapon to school Seriously consider suicide Make a plan for attempting suicide or Miss at least one of school in the last 30 days because they felt unsafe California Safe School Coalition

44 Long-Term Effects of Bullying
Lower self-esteem Higher rates of depression

45 Chronic Peer Abuse: the rise of “bullycide”
“Exposure to repeated insults and rejection by peers can generate deadly results such as suicide or homicide. Ongoing victimization can create or exacerbate adolescent and low self-esteem, raising the risk of a suicide attempt. “Bullied to Death,” JoLynn Carney and Adolescence, 2003

46 Bullying and Mental Health … problems later in life
Boys who were frequent victims of bullying had elevated risks of anxiety disorders Boys who both bullied others and who were bullied by others appeared to the “worst off.” They had elevated risks of both and antisocial personality disorders as adults. Pediatrics, August 2007

47 Bullying and Mental Health … problems later in life
At particular risk for later mental health problems are young men who were both involved in bullying – as a perpetrator and as one who was bullied. In the research these boys represented 3% of the study group and nearly all had some psychiatric problem at the age of 8. Dr. Andre Sourander Pediatrics, August 2007

48 Key Findings About Bullying
6. Children who bully are more likely to be engaged in other antisocial, violent, or troubling behavior.

49 Bullying and Mental Health … problems later in life
Boys who habitually bullied others were more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders as young men … resulting in less regard for the law, rights of other people, and are prone toward aggression and violence. Pediatrics, August 2007

50 Children Who Bully are More Likely to:
Get into frequent fights Be injured in a fight Steal, vandalize property Drink alcohol Smoke Be truant, drop out of school Report poorer academic achievement Perceive a negative climate at school Carry a weapon

51 Longitudinal Study of Children who Bullied Others (Olweus, 1993)
60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one conviction by age 24. 40% had three or more convictions. Bullies were 4 times as likely as peers to have multiple convictions.

52 Key Findings About Bullying
7. Bullying can occur anywhere—even where adults are present.

53 Locations of Bully Victimization NCVS 2005

54 Common Bullying Locations
Classroom (with and w/o teacher present) Hallways/stairwells Playground/athletic fields Cafeteria Restrooms Gym/gym locker rooms

55 Key Findings About Bullying
8. Many children don’t report bullying experiences to adults.

56 Reporting of Bullying to School Staff
Many do not report being bullied. Older children and boys are less likely to report victimization. Why don’t children report? 2/3 of victims felt that staff responded poorly 6% believed that staff responded very well. (Hoover et al., 1992)

57 Key Findings About Bullying
9. Adults are not as responsive to bullying as they should be and as children want us to be.

58 Adults’ Responsiveness to Bullying
Adults overestimate their effectiveness in identifying bullying and intervening. 70% of teachers believed that adults intervene almost all the time 25% of students agreed (Charach et al., 1995)

59 Students’ Perceptions of Adult Concerns About Bullying
Study of 9th grade students (Harris et al., 2002): 35% believed their teachers were interested in trying to stop bullying (25% for administrators) 44% did not know if their teachers were interested 21% felt teachers were NOT interested

60 Key Findings About Bullying
10. Bullying is best understood as a group phenomenon in which children may play a variety of roles.

61 The Bullying Circle: Students’ Reactions/Roles in a Bullying Situation (Olweus)
Start the bullying and take an active part A Students who bully Defenders of the bullied child Victim Dislike the bullying, helps or try to help the bullied child Take an active part, but do not start the bullying B Followers H The one who is exposed Supporters Support the bullying, but do not take an active part C Possible Defenders F As Olweus’ (Olweus et al., 1999) reminds, in most cases of bullying, there are defenders (and possible defenders) who may play key roles in stopping the bullying. Citation: Olweus, D., Limber, S. P., & Mihalic, S. (1999). The Bullying Prevention Program: Blueprints for Violence Prevention, Vol Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence: Boulder, CO. Passive Supporters Dislike the bullying and think they ought to help, but don’t do it D Like the bullying, but do not display open support Disengaged Onlookers E Watches what happens. Doesn’t take a stand. © The Olweus Bullying Prevention Group, 2004

62 Peer Attitudes Toward Bullying
Most children have sympathy for bullied children. 80% of middle school students “felt sorry” for victims of bullying (Unnever & Cornell, 2003) But, sympathy does not always translate into action. 64% said that other students try to prevent bullying only “once in a while” or “never.”

63 Kids Who Observe Bullying (Study by Melton et al., 1998)
What do you usually do when you see a student being bullied? 38% Nothing, because it’s none of my business 27% I don’t do anything, but I think I should help 35% I try to help him or her

64 Effects of Bullying on Bystanders
Bystanders may feel: Afraid Powerless to change the situation Guilty for not acting Diminished empathy for victims over time

65 Possible Legal Concerns
State Laws related to bullying/bullying prevention Civil suits brought against schools/school systems Risk management issues for schools

66 It’s a question of rights.
Ultimately... It’s a question of rights. © The Olweus Bullying Prevention Group, 2001

67 Best Practices in Bullying Prevention and Intervention

68 #1 Focus on the School Environment
What is required to reduce bullying in schools is nothing less than a change in the school climate and in norms for behavior. This requires a comprehensive, school-wide effort involving the entire school community.


70 #2: Access Bullying at Your School
Administer an anonymous survey to students Benefits of a survey: Findings may help to motivate staff, parents to address issue Findings will help to target specific interventions Will provide important baseline data from which to measure improvement

71 #3: Seek Out Support for Bullying Prevention
Early and enthusiastic support from the principal is critical. Commitment from a majority of classroom teachers is important. Teachers who are committed to bullying prevention are more likely to fully implement programs. Include Parents in the process … early and often!

72 #4: Form A Group To Coordinate Efforts
Should be representative of the school community Principal Teacher from each grade Counselor Non-teaching staff (e.g. bus driver) School-based health professional Parent Community member

73 #5; Train All Staff in Effective Bullying Prevention and Intervention Strategies
Administrators All Teachers Health & mental health professionals Support Staff Custodians Bus drivers Luncheon Supervisors Playground aides

74 #6: Establish & Enforce School Rules and Policies
Many schools do not have explicit rules against bullying. Rules should guide the behavior of children who bully AND children who witness bullying. Follow-up with positive and negative consequences.

75 #7: Increase Adult Supervision
Focus on “hot spots” for bullying that are identified by students. All adults in a school community should be vigilant to stop bullying.

76 #8: Intervene Consistently and Appropriately
Are all adults prepared to intervene appropriately on-the-spot, whenever they observe bullying? Do we have plan for follow-up interventions with children who bully, children who are bullied by others, parents?

77 #9: Focus Classroom Time on Bullying Prevention
Set aside a small amount of time each week. Discuss bullying and peer relations. Videos, story books, role playing, artistic expression … Integrate bullying prevention throughout the curriculum.

78 #10: Continue the Effort Over Time
Bullying prevention should have no “end date.” Implement Comprehensive Bullying Prevention Programs in Schools and Community Centers

79 (Campaign “HQ”)
Every campaign product/activity housed here Specially designated youth and adult sections Updated every 60 days since launch in March, 2004 Employs latest Web technology and online communication tools Sitio Web en español – Web site content available in Spanish

80 (Campaign “HQ”)
Every campaign product/activity housed here Specially designated youth and adult sections Updated every 60 days since launch in March, 2004 Employs latest Web technology and online communication tools Sitio Web en español – Web site content available in Spanish

81 For Adults: Facts and Figures
“All About Bullying” Definitions of bullying, prevalence of bullying, research, and more. “Additional Resources” Links to books, research, and campaigns with more facts on bullying and bullying prevention.

82 For Adults: Prevention & Intervention Tips
“Tip Sheets and Resources” More than 40 tip sheets in PDF format, ready to be downloaded, viewed, and printed. Customized tip sheets available for parents and children, educators and school staff, and other professionals.

83 Welcome to the U.S. website for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The Olweus [pronounced Ol-VEY-us] Bullying Prevention Program is a comprehensive, school-wide program designed for use in elementary, middle, or junior high schools. Its goals are to reduce and prevent bullying problems among school children and to improve peer relations at school. The program has been found to reduce bullying among children, improve the social climate of classrooms, and reduce related antisocial behaviors, such as vandalism and truancy. The Olweus Program has been implemented in more than one dozen countries around the world. For more information about the elements of the program, click here. For Program History, click here. For fact sheets about the program, click here. To check out the website for HRSA's National Bullying Prevention Campaign, "Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now.", click here. So Where Should I Start? If you are a parent, educators, or other concerned adult who may be interested in implementing the Olweus program, we suggest that you: Visit the page entitled, Program Content to learn about the basic elements of the program. Print out a fact sheet to review and share with others. Review the program's Evidence of Effectiveness, Suggested Timeline, Program Costs, and Program Materials. If you are interested in more in-depth information about the program, consider ordering a copy of the Blueprint or the book, Bullying at School (see Program Materials for ordering information). Review the Readiness Checklist to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. If you are interested in possible training for members of your school, visit Training & Consultation. If you have questions that aren't answered on the web site, feel free to Contact Us. If you would like to learn about how you might become a certified trainer in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, click here.

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