The study—called "Ten-Year Trends in Bullying and Related Attitudes Among 4th-12th Graders"—surveyed nearly 250,000 students in more than 100 different elementary, middle, and high schools in Maryland. Not only did the researchers find that cyberbullying has decreased since 2005, but so has physical, verbal, and relational bullying.
And while the study also revealed that between 13 percent and 29 percent of students said they had been bullied in some way during the prior month, the overall rate of all four types of bullying significantly decreased over the course of the 10-year survey period. The researchers also found a 1 percent to 2 percent drop per year in the rate by which students instigated bullying themselves. And over time, fewer students indicated that they had witnessed bullying—from 66 percent to 43 percent over the decade.
"The good news here is that some of the national attention to this important public health issue appears to be having a positive impact," she explained, before adding that a large proportion of students are still victims of or witnesses to bullying. "We need to continue to monitor bullying to ensure that these decreasing trends do not plateau or take a turn for the worse."
In an accompanying editorial, Stephen Leff, co-director of the Violence Prevention Initiative at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, underscored the importance of the role of clinicians in providing proper guidance by recommending several key points to parents and children, icluding things like recognizing the places where bullying often occurs, like the lunchroom, the hallways, or during recess, and establishing a point person at school to help the child navigate.
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