How It's Changed: Bullying in the 21st Century

12:37 PM, Feb 17, 2011   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

ATLANTA -- It has gotten softer, and louder.

Bullies may have the same motivations as in the past, but the methods have changed, starting with the most obvious: technology.

"That's what technology does," said Dan Rauzi, senior director of Youth and Technology Programs for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "It just magnifies everything."

The percentage of youth using social networks nearly doubles that of adults. In addition, the bulk of teens with cell phones first get them in middle school. On top of that, many studies say parents aren't getting any better at monitoring their kids online.

"Friend your child, so that you can see what's being posted, and you can see what their friends are posting about them as well," Rauzi said. 

The next big change in the scope of bullying deals with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, who are coming out earlier and earlier. This means they are facing the complexity of coming out earlier and earlier.

"Roughly 85 percent of LGBT youths indicate they have been bullied in school," said Terence McPaul, the executive director and CEO for YouthPride. "And that compares to 25-35 percent of the general population."

"We know that in school, LGBT youth who are victimized are less likely to complete school," he added. "They miss more days of school, and their grades are lower."

The last major change is something past generations might be a little more familiar with: the "mean girls" issue.

It's named after the cliquey, mental-intimidation style of bullying from the movie "Mean Girls". These days, though, that form of bullying is occurring way earlier than high school -- "as early as pre-K," according to Stacey DeWitt, president of Connect With Kids.

"If you talk to mothers in pre-K and kindergarten classes, I am constantly being asked, 'How does it start this young?'," she said.

One thing has not changed: the best solution. All the experts agree, the best thing for parents to do is to be proactive in learning about bullying and talking with their kids about it.

"We're more aware," DeWitt said. "And that's the good news. We know better how to tackle the problem." 

The attached v
ideo "Monitoring Your Kids Better Online" offers a quick tutorial on some ways to better monitor what your children are doing online.

Below are some valuable resources to learn more about bullying in all forms:

Most Watched Videos