Survey finds as many as half of children are victims of peer abuse ...
Akron Beacon Journal, OH
A survey by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry discovered that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10 percent are bullied on a regular basis.
Amanda Brace and Rachel Vitale, who developed a program last year to prevent cyber-bullying, said kids often learn such adverse behavior from their mothers. They watch how she interacts with her friends. But, of course, there's also that middle-school culture that can lend itself to relational aggression.
''There is a lot of independence seeking at this age,'' explained Brace. ''There have always been mean girls, but I think it's just coming to a head now.''
A Stark County 13-year-old shared her story about being falsely identified as ''emo.'' Loosely defined, people who consider themselves emo often wear black clothes, tight jeans, huge bangs and black eye makeup. Hardcore emos are depressed and may even cut themselves. An abbreviation for ''emotive hardcore,'' emo also is a certain genre of music.
''I am often bullied for being different. My hair is cut differently on each side and I like to wear black,'' the teen explained. ''Anyone who calls me that is too busy being a bully to realize that I am almost always happy.''
Sometimes, the name-calling gets carried away. A seventh-grader from Summit County said she was physically pushed around after being accused of being both a lesbian and emo.
''They would write things on my locker, shove me into the walls, and block my locker so I would be late for class,'' explained the young teen. ''They also slapped me in the face one time.''Both girls are part of the Beacon Journal's Kid's Group, a team of 12- to 18-year-olds who are helping us define and tell stories affecting teens. Because they are victims, we elected not to identify them.