Is the internet creating bullies?

Dorothy Espelage, PhD Professor of Childhood Development, explains that the internet has not created new bullies, but rather new ways for bullying to occur
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Is the internet creating bullies?

The Internet is not creating more bullying. The Internet has not introduced an epidemic of bullying in our schools. We have the same prevalence of bullying and victimization reported by youth before the computer was in their lives and now when computers and cellphones dominate. We do know that face to face bullying still includes about 40% of adolescents and a smaller percentage of kids report being targeted online or through their cellphone. However, we are recognizing more recently that there is an increasing trend in kids reporting being victimized through text messaging. And we are just now getting a handle of what that means so parents should be very aware of the types of text messaging that their children are sending and those that they are receiving. So it does appear at a national level that there is an increase in text messaging victimization. However, face to face bullying in schools tends to still be the most prevalent form of bullying.

Dorothy Espelage, PhD Professor of Childhood Development, explains that the internet has not created new bullies, but rather new ways for bullying to occur


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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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