Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bullying Affects Students' Academic Achievement

 In an attempt to look past the mere effects bullying has on a child's psychological well-being and development, new research has taken a look at the effects bullying has on a child's academic achievement.

According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, children who are bullied have "lower academic achievement, a greater dislike of school and less confidence in their academic abilities," said CNN.

The study also found that boys are more likely than girls to suffer from bullying throughout all age groups analyzed.

Researchers said this study is unique because it followed students around for five to six years in some cases, much longer than most studies that focus on bullying.

The lead author of the study, Gary W. Ladd, professor of psychology at Arizona State University, told CNN said that, logically, it makes sense because children who are bullied are less likely to engage in academic studies due to the distractions that bullying causes.

"One of the things kids talked about was that it was harder for them to pay attention when they were sitting in the classroom thinking about what the bully was going to do to them next or what they were going to do to them after school or things of that nature, so we also wondered about whether or not this was a major distraction for children," Ladd said.

The study only looked at in-person bullying as opposed to cyberbullying because at the time it started cyberbullying was not as prevalent.

When researchers from the University of New Hampshire took a look at the effects of online bullying and in-person bullying, they found the damaging effects to be most severe when face-to-face bullying is combined with online bullying.

"Compared to technology-only bullying, mixed incidents were more likely to involve people who knew embarrassing things about the victim, last for a month or longer and become violent," reported NBC News.

"We believe that focusing on harassment incidents that involve both in-person and technology elements should be a priority for educators and prevention experts who are trying to identify and prevent the most serious and harmful bullying," the lead author of the paper Kimberly J. Mitchell said.

In other words, had Ladd's study included online bullying in its scope, it might have found the effects of bullying to be even more severe on a given student's academic achievement.

Regardless, Ladd acknowledges it is imperative that parents and teachers work together to identify bullying signs.

"A lot of children who are bullied don't talk about it at home, don't tell their parents. They're embarrassed to admit that they're being treated that way," said Ladd to CNN.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

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