Saturday, June 18, 2016

Online program reduces bullying behavior in schools, tests show

ublic Release: 20-Apr-2016
Online program reduces bullying behavior in schools, tests show
Case Western Reserve University

Behaviors that enable bullying--a significant public health problem for adolescents--were reduced among students who completed a new online anti-bullying program, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University.


After completing the program--which addresses verbal, physical, sexual and cyberbullying--students reported significantly reduced odds of bystander passivity to both emotional and physical bullying. Use of healthy relationship skills also increased significantly.

Most anti-bullying programs are taught as a curriculum in-person and have proven to be a hard sell to schools pressed to complete compulsory coursework and testing. They have also yielded mixed results but have been especially ineffective for non-white students and students in eighth grade and higher.

"We have to go where the kids are, instead of telling them where they should be," said Timmons-Mitchell. "We do that by using new technology."


All states have laws and/or policies that require schools to provide a mechanism to address bullying.

"Any participation in bullying can affect youth negatively. Being both a bully and a victim can lead to depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts," said Timmons-Mitchell, adding that perpetrators of bullying are more likely to commit crimes as young adults.


Users are given individualized guidance matched to their bullying experiences, including an emphasis on six healthy relationship skills:

Using calm, nonviolent ways to deal with disagreements (leaving the room to cool down, for example);
Respecting the boundaries of others;
Communicating feelings and needs clearly and respectfully;
Making decisions in social situations that are right for each person;
Respecting the feelings and needs of other people;
How to appropriately take a stand to stop bullying.

Studies have shown that adolescents especially respond more honestly to questions delivered by computers than on paper, Timmons-Mitchell said.


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