A new study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that there is a drop int he percentage of American children being bullied or beaten up. The author of the study, Professor David Finkelhor, attributes this decline to the acceptance and use of anti-bullying programs throughout schools and communities.
The national study shows that under 15 percent of children have reported being physically bullied in 2008 vs. 22 percent of children who said they were bullied in year 2003. During the same time frame, the percentage of youths who said they had been assaulted either by other youths or by siblings went from 45 percent in 2003 to 38.4 percent in 2008.
Professor Finkelhor is quoted that the results are encouraging. He believes that this trend, if it continues, will show a benefits in the future as these children will have lower rates of crime and spousal assault. He correlates that bullying is the foundation for which future aggressive behavior is built.
The study was based on two national surveys of children ages 2 to 17 that were conducted five years apart. The final report and findings are published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
But experts, such as Marlene Snyder of Clemson University’s Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, cautions that,while the survey is positive, we cannot be complacent.
“The decline is not happening everywhere,” she said. “It’s in schools where adults really understand how detrimental this conduct can be and have made a conscious effort to bring these numbers down.”
These results also match a survey that shows a drop in overall child abuse. Experts agree that when dollars and resources are focused on an issue, the results should be a sharp decrease in victims. They believe that these results show the effectiveness of the anti-bullying programs being implemented in schools and our communities and that the trend will continue as long as funding and focus are in place. And that can only be a good thing for the victims of bullying.