Study: Anti-Bullying Programs May Increase Bullying

Published November 15, 2013

A new study from the University of Texas-Arlington finds children who attend schools with bullying prevention programs are more likely to be bullied than those who do not. Anti-bullying programs appear to teach kids new ways to hurt others and hide their activities from adults, said the study’s lead author, Seokjin Jeong.

“Usually people expect an anti-bullying program to have some positive impact,” he told a local CBS station, sounding shocked. But his study, which used data on 7,001 children in all 50 states, found either no reduction in bullying or an increase in bullying as a result of anti-bullying measures.

Since 2006, 49 states have enacted laws attempting to prevent bullying, although federal data and independent studies show bullying has declined since 2003. State officials recently instigated felony charges against two middle school students under Florida’s new bullying law after a classmate they taunted committed suicide.

“The schools with interventions say, ‘You shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘You shouldn’t do that.’ But through the programs, the students become highly exposed to what a bully is, and they know what to do or say when questioned [about their behavior],” Jeong said.


Image by Thomas Ricker