Anti-bullying programs give bullies latest, cutting-edge bullying ideas apparently

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bullying. Collage: CBS Dallas screenshot, Getty Images/Photonica/Henry King

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bullying. Collage: CBS Dallas screenshot, Getty Images/Photonica/Henry King

So, it turns out that all the anti-bullying programs that are all the rage in schools across America right now could actually be leading to an increase in bullying.

University of Texas at Arlington criminology professor Seokjin Jeong analyzed an unidentified data set on bullying that included information from 7,000 students in every state, reports CBS Dallas.

Jeong was expecting to verify that anti-bullying programs reduce torment and intimidation. Instead, he said, he discovered evidence that incessant anti-bullying campaigns are providing a handy how-to manual for bullies.

The results of the study suggest that students suffer from bullying at a higher rate at schools where anti-bullying programs have been instituted. At schools without such bullying programs, bullying appears less likely.

Jeong called his highly ironic findings “very disappointing and very surprising.”

“Our anti-bullying program — either intervention or prevention — is not working,” he told CBS Dallas.

The professor observed that a number of anti-bullying campaigns use videos showing occurrences of bullying (like the ones at stopbullying.gov). From the perspective of their creators, the point of these videos is obviously to show students how not to act. They also show students how to interfere and stop bullies.

However, Jeong proposed that an unintended consequence of the videos could be that bullies are able to use the videos to improve their skills and acquire new-fangled ways to terrorize other students—particularly in social media, the newest frontier for intimidation of dodgeball targets.

“They are able to learn, okay, there’s new techniques,” Jeong said. “There’s new skills I want to try. I want to try a good victim, a more vulnerable victim.”

“This study raises an alarm,” Jeong said, because “there is a possibility of a negative impact” resulting from anti-bullying programs.

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