A study released Thursday by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Center for Education Statistics found that while the percentage of kids who say they bully their peers has declined since the early 2000s, bullying is still a problem in school.
The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, looked at data from more than 13,000 students from four schools across the U.S. The study analyzed bullying from the 2009-10 school year and found that it has remained a significant problem for students across grades 6-12.
“The most important finding in the study was that while bullying among students has dropped, bullying among peers has not,” study co-author Susan J. Roesler, a research associate in the Institute for Research on Educational Attainment at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement.
“We need to be clear about the fact that the decrease in bullying is not a good thing,” Roesling added.
“Bully boys are less likely to be bullied and are more willing to listen to others.
This is a good outcome because it indicates that bullies are not as aggressive and can be coached into learning to tolerate others’ challenges.”
Bully Boys: How They Became the Most Common Type of Behavior Among Children, Researchers FindsOne of the key findings from the study is that the prevalence of bullying among kids has decreased since the mid-2000s, with the decline happening more among girls than boys.
The authors say that the drop may be due to improved communication skills, such as in the classroom.
“Bullying can take many forms, and bullying among boys has been the most common type of behavior among children in the last decade,” Retsler said.
“While this is a trend that has been going on for a while, it was very, very, recent.
We found that the overall prevalence of bully boys has dropped significantly over time.”
According to the study, about 3 percent of children in grades 6 to 12 said they had bullied a peer in the previous 12 months.
The percentage of students who said they were bullied increased significantly from 2009 to 2012, with 17.9 percent of students in grades 7-8 being bullied.
“This is a positive trend that reflects the fact it’s less about a decrease in the number of boys being bullied, and more about the students who have actually learned how to be more respectful to other people,” Rowser said.
While the study does not prove that bullying has gone down among kids, it does provide insight into the phenomenon, as the prevalence rate of bullying has increased in the past several decades.
In the 1980s, approximately 40 percent of kids reported having been bullied at some point, according to the National Education Association.
But in the 2000s that number dropped to 27.5 percent.
“In the last five years, bullying has become more of a problem,” Rrowser said, “but the reason for that is not clear.”
Researchers found that kids who are bullied tend to be less likely than kids who do not bully to engage in peer-to-peer activities.
“For many kids, bullying becomes a habit, a way of life, a normal part of the school environment, and it may be a way that kids are taught about bullying,” Romsdell said.
For children who do bully, the most important thing to do is to be aware of how to manage the situation, Roesing said.