'Cool' Kids in Middle School Bully More, Psychologists Report

Bullying, whether it's physical aggression or spreading rumors, boosts the social status and popularity of middle school students, according to a new UCLA psychology study... In addition, students already considered popular engage in these forms of bullying, the researchers found.

... both physical aggression and spreading rumors are rewarded by middle school peers.

The study implies that anti-bullying programs have to be sophisticated and subtle to succeed.

"A simple message, such as 'Bullying is not tolerated,' is not likely to be very effective," Juvonen said, when bullying often increases social status and respect.

Effective anti-bullying programs need to focus on the bystanders, who play a critical role and can either encourage or discourage bullying,...

This reflects values from adult culture. TV "heroes" often engage in bullying.

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Replies to This Discussion

I can't understand why people, even young people, reward bullies with status.  I was never like that.  I've always been repulsed by unkind people.  Even as a young person, I knew that if they did it to other people, they could do it to me.

I guess popularity and being on the winning team are important to most people, no matter what.  To me, popularity was never important.  I desire companionship, but not with bullies.  They are extremely repulsive to me.  The same with being on the winning team.  My winning team would be composed of kind and intelligent people.


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