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  • Are Anti-Bullying Programs Having An Opposite Effect?

    Are Anti-Bullying Programs Having An Opposite Effect?
    October 8, 2013 10:00 PM


    NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A lot of schools spend countless hours trying to stop bullying. But some question if they are sending the right message.

    It started as a simple look at bullying. University of Texas at Arlington criminologist Seokjin Jeong analyzed data collected from 7,000 students from all 50 states.

    He thought the results would be predictable and would show that anti-bullying programs curb bullying. Instead — he found the opposite.

    Jeong said it was, “A very disappointing and a very surprising thing. Our anti-bullying programs, either intervention or prevention does not work.”

    The study concluded that students at schools with anti-bullying programs might actually be more likely to become a victim of bullying. It also found that students at schools with no bullying programs were less likely to become victims.

    The results were stunning for Jeong. “Usually people expect an anti-bullying program to have some impact — some positive impact.”


    The student videos used in many campaigns show examples of bullying and how to intervene. But Jeong says they may actually teach students different bullying techniques — and even educate about new ways to bully through social media and texting.

    Jeong said students with ill intentions “…are able to learn, there are new techniques [and gain] new skills.” He says students might see examples in videos and then want to try it.

    According to Jeong, some programs even teach students how to bully without leaving evidence behind. “This study raises an alarm,” he said. “There is a possibility of negative impact from anti-bullying programs.”

    Jeong and others like him believe that until the message delivered by anti-bullying programs improves — some programs may be doing more harm than good.
    Ya think? Bullies already know they are bullies and they are fine with it (contrary to some speculation), victims already know they are victims, witnesses already know they are seeing bullying and quite a few are entertained by the spectacle even if they won't participate or rescue.

    Bullying is a social strategy hard-wired into human beings. To derail it, you have to make the consequence much, much worse than the pleasure of doing it or seeing it. That means bullies have to be identified and punished publicly. Those of us who have dealt with bullies (adult and childhood) know that only extreme public humiliation will stop a bully. It doesn't change the bully, they still remain the sadistic, happy evil-doers they always were but it switches them to a softer target.

    That's about the best you can hope for. A few bullies do grow out of it eventually but I think most just become more subtle.

    CBS Local
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    Duh!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tell a sociopath he's crazy and you'll get what?

    Comment


    • #3
      This is the entire problem with these standardized "leading indicator" sets of policies. It's just a shortcut for true decision making and it often does more harm than good. Little boys are violent, little girls are cruel. The way to make them less so is not to treat the behavior, it's to teach them to control their impulses and set strict boundaries of conduct. Teasing is wrong, physical altercation is worse, constant berating can be sometimes the most destructive.

      But sometimes the little guy just needs to take the punishment that goes with kicking a few teeth out of the spoiled bully's grin. Life has a pecking order and it's disrupted constantly.
      "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

      -John Locke

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      • #4
        Everyone must conform to the new standards.

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        • #5
          Why would schools with few problems with bullying make serious efforts to institute anti-bullying campaigns?

          I think I am missing something here but this looks like a correlation causation problem.
          "There are four lights!"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Billy Jingo View Post
            Why would schools with few problems with bullying make serious efforts to institute anti-bullying campaigns?

            I think I am missing something here but this looks like a correlation causation problem.
            In my observation, it tends to be a mandate handed down from on high, rather like idiotic "zero-tolerance" policies.
            Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
            No one will be denied:
            Big law suits and bathroom toots;
            We're all getting Dixie-fried.
            But somewhere Hank and Lefty
            Are rollin' in their graves
            While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Adam View Post
              In my observation, it tends to be a mandate handed down from on high, rather like idiotic "zero-tolerance" policies.
              Maybe. My experience is these things (like anti-harassment stuff) are reactionary. A kid or two has problems with bullies and it gets out of hand (someone gets hurt ... hurts self ... ect) and parents confront the school asking what they are going to do about it.
              "There are four lights!"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Billy Jingo View Post
                Maybe. My experience is these things (like anti-harassment stuff) are reactionary. A kid or two has problems with bullies and it gets out of hand (someone gets hurt ... hurts self ... ect) and parents confront the school asking what they are going to do about it.
                I've seen it much more as someone in a "position of power" decides to be the reactionary in question: there's some fight at a school playground, and then the county school board decides to ban playgrounds as a "solution" because someone has to "do something." Sort of like the George Carlin saw about the "news:"
                "Today, an armed man boarded a bus and shot six people as the bus proceeded uptown. Then, he boarded a cross-town bus and shot four more people. An MTA spokesman said that in response to this tragedy, the transfer system will be eliminated."
                Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
                No one will be denied:
                Big law suits and bathroom toots;
                We're all getting Dixie-fried.
                But somewhere Hank and Lefty
                Are rollin' in their graves
                While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can we please bring back the paddle and this time use it on kids who are caught bullying? Sheesh.

                  The problem with "taking the punishment" when you fight the bully is that the bully beating you up might not be the only punishment. The schools will suspend and call the law. When I was a kid, it was a day or two of ISS the first time in the school year. Now, they practically want to ruin your life.

                  Perhaps videos aren't the best thing. I think that having kids work out their problems in a counselors office sometimes helps (it did me at least once). The main bully tells the victim what their problem is. The victim tries to accommodate (work things out). Things start getting better. That doesn't always work, but it does work sometimes. I've also read that it does help whenever the victim actually seeks out help. We're always taught not to tattle. This sends the message to the bully that nothing is going to happen to them. If there is a potential consequence, they may back off. I've seen that in action as well.

                  Instead of getting ready to fight a bully on behalf of another kid (which is what some kids feel like they might be doing if they intervene), befriend the victim. My sister befriended a girl named Hope in middle school. All the girls hated her. One day, they confronted my sister in the bathroom saying they would beat her up if she didn't stop being friends with Hope. She said to go on ahead because she wouldn't stop being her friend. Took some real guts, but those girls backed down and they didn't bother Hope so much either. At another school (my sister switched schools a lot), she became the target of one particular sociopath. He was about to beat her up one day when one of the most popular girls in school (and her friend) got in his way. If he had hit her, he would have gotten his ass kicked and he knew it. He went to jail years later. I got in a fight in the 8th grade with a girl who was bullying me. Things didn't get better for me that year, but a friend of hers (and a popular girl in general) reached out to me and we became friends. After 9th grade, I didn't have a lot of bullying problems in high school. In fact, more popular kids spoke to me.

                  That brings me to the next idea. I don't now how well it works, but some schools participate in "mix it up" day. The idea is that if kids will sit with somebody they don't know well and get to know them, they may realize that other person is "alright," and be willing to be against bullying them later. I think a lot of kids just sit where they usually do though.

                  So, there's no black and white answer here.
                  Last edited by Lanie; Thursday, October 10, 2013, 3:35 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scott View Post
                    This is the entire problem with these standardized "leading indicator" sets of policies. It's just a shortcut for true decision making and it often does more harm than good. Little boys are violent, little girls are cruel.
                    Just for the record, girls are violent too. Maybe they can't do as much damage as a boy, but they can get pretty violent. Never wear long earrings to school on a day when you know another girl wants to kick your butt.

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                    • #11
                      In my county, anti-bullying programs seem to be a normal part of every school. So either all schools have problems or it's a normal part of school life today. I kind of think it's the latter.

                      I think the best preventative against bullying is to teach children that it's "okay" to not like someone and not want to be around them. BUT it's never "okay" to mess with someone you don't like simply because you don't like them.

                      That's the adult reality. You have to work above, below, and beside people you may not like (or respect) but you don't get to corner them in the bathroom. On the other side, if you do get cornered in the bathroom you call the police, not your boss.

                      That's why I think school bullies need a big dose of public humiliation. Teach them early that acting on dominant impulses will get them hurt quick.

                      I don't know what you do about girl bullies who aren't physical. Most of that is way too subtle for school personnel to detect or even for some victims to articulate.
                      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post

                        I think the best preventative against bullying is to teach children that it's "okay" to not like someone and not want to be around them. BUT it's never "okay" to mess with someone you don't like simply because you don't like them.
                        Pretty much the exact talk that was given to me by my parents. It took all of 5 minutes. If you don't like her, don't be friends with her. But don't participate in and don't encourage anyone else to do anything that's "mean girl" type of behavior. End of story. Message received, mostly followed.
                        Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                        Robert Southwell, S.J.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                          Pretty much the exact talk that was given to me by my parents. It took all of 5 minutes. If you don't like her, don't be friends with her. But don't participate in and don't encourage anyone else to do anything that's "mean girl" type of behavior. End of story. Message received, mostly followed.
                          I wonder if part of the problem with bullying today (the online stuff, not the classic punch-out stuff) is that children are conditioned to believe that "everyone" is a friend or potential friend and then they have no explicit instruction when those feelings don't happen (and they won't always). There's no Plan B for occasions when a kid is simply disliked.

                          Back in the day, those kids were essentially ignored. Today, they are targeted for mean stuff. Is it that adults haven't made it clear that disliking someone is okay but not worth pursuing or is it that the 'everybody is your friend' mantra leaves kids more or less without tools to process bad feelings in a constructive way?

                          I dunno.
                          "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                            I wonder if part of the problem with bullying today (the online stuff, not the classic punch-out stuff) is that children are conditioned to believe that "everyone" is a friend or potential friend and then they have no explicit instruction when those feelings don't happen (and they won't always). There's no Plan B for occasions when a kid is simply disliked.

                            Back in the day, those kids were essentially ignored. Today, they are targeted for mean stuff. Is it that adults haven't made it clear that disliking someone is okay but not worth pursuing or is it that the 'everybody is your friend' mantra leaves kids more or less without tools to process bad feelings in a constructive way?

                            I dunno.
                            I actually think there is more to it than that. Back in the day there wasn't the internet. There wasn't instant shaming, with widespread ability to reach not only every member of your own school, but every neighboring school, the next county's school, and the schools in Uzebekistan.

                            I don't believe that life for the shunned was as easy as perhaps we like to pretend it was, back then. But I also think that kids have even more social pressures today than we did, and that they are more sensitive to peer criticism because they all get trophies for showing up, so the shock that that trophy doesn't come with an instant peer group of 1000 facebook friends wounds deeply.

                            And what you said.
                            Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                            Robert Southwell, S.J.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                              I actually think there is more to it than that. Back in the day there wasn't the internet. There wasn't instant shaming, with widespread ability to reach not only every member of your own school, but every neighboring school, the next county's school, and the schools in Uzebekistan.

                              I don't believe that life for the shunned was as easy as perhaps we like to pretend it was, back then. But I also think that kids have even more social pressures today than we did, and that they are more sensitive to peer criticism because they all get trophies for showing up, so the shock that that trophy doesn't come with an instant peer group of 1000 facebook friends wounds deeply.

                              And what you said.
                              That sounds right. Certainly the criticism thing resonates with me. I went into the working world kind of expecting to get reamed out occasionally (justly or unjustly). Today, it's tragic to correct an employee - they just dissolve or become irrationally defensive. I think the online peer pressure and expectations have a lot to do with that for some people (not all).
                              "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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