In a recent survey of 1,100 middle school and high school students, 24 percent said they had been picked on via text messaging, which is up from 14 percent when the same kids were surveyed in the year before.
Harassment was defined as having peers spread rumors about them, make “rude or mean comments,” or threaten them.
However, even though the percentage of text-based bullying is on the rise, researchers say parents shouldn’t react by taking away phones or reading their kids’ texts. They found many kids who were picked on took it “in stride.”
“If online bullying were getting worse,” said one researcher, “I would expect to see more kids saying they’re distressed by it. But we didn’t see that, and I think that’s good news.”
Researchers also believe the ability for the majority of students to handle cellphone, cyber, and face-to-face bullying is due to the many schools implementing anti-bullying programs to raise awareness in the school and community.
The rise of anti-bullying awareness is encouraging, however, not every student is given the skills they need to deal with a bullying situation and be able to heal and move on. If you are an educator or parent and your school doesn’t offer an anti-bullying program, I suggest reading the article I wrote for National Bullying Prevention Month, “How Can Educators Combat Bullying Without Training.” You’ll find tips for educators and further links for parents interested in getting involved with an anti-bullying initiative.
“Text-message bullying becoming more common,” by Amy Norton. 21 November 2011. Reuters. Accessed on 22 November 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/21/us-text-bullying-idUSTRE7AK1QY20111121