There’s two reasons I’m not surprised to read a headline such as this. And both could have been easily predicted by anyone who knows how people operate.
(CBS Local) — 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.
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 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.
First, I agree that programs like this essentially teach new bullying techniques to anyone who hasn’t before seen the examples. Bullies are always on the look out for new ways to harass weaker victims. I read some time ago this effect occurs when children watch shows with similar plots. Even though there is a positive resolution by the end of the show, the child just spent 20 minutes watching kids being mean to one another.
This other factor I don’t think is as obvious as the first and is more controversial. The hysteria that comes with the bullying hype also comes with new criteria for which a behavior becomes bullying. Children are now schooled in an environment where anything and everything another student does to make them upset or uncomfortable constitutes bullying.
When children are told that they must constantly be on the lookout for bullies and bullying behavior, they become paranoid, forever on the lookout for bullies. These programs create bullying where there never was any in the first place.
What isn’t accounted for is that some children are simply over sensitive. I’m not speaking out of turn here, my daughters are a tad oversensitive. There’s no doubt in my mind that the rise of excessive coddling of children is most responsible. Helicopter parents who won’t allow their children to play outside without adult supervision; acting as if every scrape and cut is a medical emergency; removing the competitive aspect from junior sports so that lil Timmy’s feelings aren’t hurt; all of it. It creates emotionally fragile children who grow up to be emotionally fragile adults. Because of all this, the fragility of the children creates an environment where every hurt feeling needs to result in the discipline of another.
Look, I’m not suggesting this is all bullying. Of course there is legitimate instances of bullying. I’m just suggesting that there is less real bullying than some parents and school administrators would have us believe. Children need to be taught from an early age to be emotionally tougher. Every child alive will be bullied to one degree or another throughout the course of their life. They need to be taught how to handle the situation and their feelings so that their first reaction isn’t to find someone else to fix their problem.