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Bullying Associated with Violence at Home
By Alejandro Adrian LeMon, PhD News Editor on May 9, 2011
Researchers at the Center of Disease Control (CDC) have identified that bullying among middle school and high school students is highly associated with violence at home.
The results of the investigation show that 43.9% of middle school students and 30.5% of high school students in Massachusetts were either involved in or affected by bullying in 2009.
Furthermore, 26.8% of middle school students claimed to be victims, 7.5% said they were bullies, and 9.6% reported they had been both bully and victims.
Experts say that bullies, victims of bullying, and bully-victims were more likely to be exposed to violence at home, the study showed. In addition, teenagers who are involved in bullying are also more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol and are at greater risk for depression and/or suicide.
“Bullying is extremely prevalent and it is a public health problem because of its prevalence. And it doesn’t happen in isolation,” said study researcher Marci Hertz, a lead health scientist at the CDC in Atlanta. “Victims, perpetrators, or both are at increased risk for engaging in other sorts of behaviors.”
Females were more likely to be victims of bullying than males. However, males were more likely to be both bullies and victims.
Bullying is becoming more prevalent in social networking sites such as Facebook, MyYearbook and MySpace. “Ask where your kids go online the same way that you ask where they are going when they leave the house,” she says.
Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach ultimately stated that, “Changing social climate in schools and supporting young people in developing healthy relationships with adults and peers are the best ways to prevent bullying.”
“So, when bullying does occur, it is very important that parents take it seriously and take a role in working with the child’s school to find a solution,” he says. “Parents can talk with their children about the bullying, express empathy, and never suggest that the bullying is the victim’s fault.“
Jennifer Newman, PhD, staff psychologist in the division of trauma psychiatry at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, said, ““Bullying now follows kids to their home, and we are starting to hear more stories about kids hurting themselves or others to get out of the bullying.”
Newman concluded, “Parents have to be really aware of what is going on with children and talk openly about bullying and be in contact with their school and teachers and work together as a team.”
“Schools are rolling out programs to stop bullying, but they are finding that these programs may not be as effective if they don’t include families.”