Parents should feel free to send their kids to school with boxers that haven't been pre-ripped and a pocket full of vending machine money, because bullying is on the decline.
As reported by the AP, “There’s been a sharp drop in the percentage of America’s children being bullied or beaten up by their peers, according to a new national survey by experts who believe anti-bullying programs are having an impact.”
The survey was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. They “found that the percentage of children who reported being physically bullied over the past year had declined from nearly 22 percent in 2003 to under 15 percent in 2008” and also found that youths reporting assault dropped from 45% to 38.4% — still way too high, in my opinion, but admittedly not as high.
Reasons for this drop in youthful hostility? The study’s lead author credits anti-bullying programs as a possible cause. Such programs reportedly received boosts in funding and attention after the 1999 Columbine tragedy.
We have our own guesses as to why children are bullying each other less. For one thing, they have more important things to worry about… you can’t exactly loiter in the school parking lot and shove younger kids around when you are too busy competing for that last remaining part-time job at Auntie Anne’s in the mall.
Secondly, it is entirely possible that bullying has migrated online. Instead of a push or a punch, bullies may feel that a threatening Facebook message will suffice.