AMES, Iowa — Although schools have begun to learn how to prevent bullying, new technology has given children new ways to bully – sometimes called cyberbullying. Iowa State University Extension is taking a closer look at cyberbullying in this month’s Science of Parenting radio program podcast.
Warren Blumenfeld, an associate professor in curriculum and instruction at Iowa State, discusses cyberbullying and other bullying trends with program host Douglas Gentile, an ISU Extension specialist and associate professor of psychology, and co-host Mike Murray, who brings the “parent-on-the-street perspective” to the program.
“We’re seeing young people today with deep psychological scars that last throughout their lives because of what society thinks is just a mere rite of passage. But bullying is much more than that,” Blumenfeld said.
People who bully intend to humiliate, coerce or in some way harm others who have less social or physical power, Blumenfeld explained.
Too often bullying is overlooked — young people see their elders, including community and governmental leaders, bullying, so they think it’s acceptable behavior, he said. But the results are unacceptable: bullying can lead to post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, depression, skipping school and lower school grades, increased risk for drug use, and suicidal thoughts or actions in those who are being bullied.
Some reports indicate that face-to-face bullying seems to be decreasing somewhat in schools, but cyberbullying has increased, from mean text messages to embarrassing photos on social networking sites, Blumenfeld said. Cyberbullying often is done anonymously, but it’s as serious as face-to-face bullying.
Blumenfeld has been interested in the effects of bullying for more than 30 years. His research includes topics related to equity, including race, ethnicity, sexual identity and gender expression, religion and socioeconomic status.
Learn more about co-hosts Douglas Gentile and Mike Murray.
The cyberbullying podcast is available for free download from the Science of Parenting website, or can be subscribed to in iTunes. Each month a new, 30-minute Science of Parenting program, as well as previous programs, will be available, as well as blog posts and other research-based parenting information.
Warren Blumenfeld, Curriculum and Instruction, 515-294-5931, firstname.lastname@example.org