Bullying Declining In Schools? Study Probes What Led To The Decrease

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald May 05, 07:51 am
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Study reveals school bullying has dipped in the last 10 years. PICTURED: Protesters attend the Hands Off Safe Schools Rally on Swanston Street on March 10, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Photo : Chris Hopkins/Getty Images)

There's finally progress in the U.S. schools! A new study revealed bullying has been on the decline and experts noted the decreasing trend has been happening in the last 10 years. Do this signal good news for school kids and their parents? Do the children really feel safer and did anti-bullying campaigns work?

Experts from the University of Virginia gathered data from 246,000 students in the fourth to 12th grade across 109 Maryland schools. They looked into the prevalence of bullying for their 10-year study. They published their findings in the journal Pediatrics last Monday.

The researchers saw a significant decline in bullying, whether online or in person, from 2005 to 2014. Some 80 percent of the students said they felt safe in school even as 28 percent said they experienced bullying and half of the respondents witnessed someone getting bullied, as per Pix 11 News.

The researchers also saw a drop in bullying incidents at the rate of one to two percent per year. Over the last years of the study, the number dipped further to 10 percent, as per US News.

The researchers defined bullying as "actions like threatening, teasing, name-calling, ignoring, rumor-spreading, sending hurtful emails and text messages, and leaving someone out on purpose," Reuters reported. Their findings seemed to go against the common perception that bullying increased, especially with social media use among teens.

The researchers, however, determined bullying appeared to happen often in the last decade because of media attention. The actual incidents, however, occurred less and less, especially since most schools already established its anti-bullying policy. The researchers also determined previous studies on bullying were flawed in that only victims were surveyed or there were limited parameters on what constituted bullying.

Regardless of their findings, Dr. Catherine Bradshaw said this doesn't mean parents, schools and communities shouldn't concern themselves with the problem any longer as bullying still happens. Their study should help "give some ideas that what we're doing continues to work." "We want to build momentum and not lose any traction," Bradshaw said.

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