Middle school bullies are the cool kids

Bullies who pick fights or spread nasty rumors are the “cool” kids in middle school, according to psychologists who surveyed seventh and eighth graders in Los Angeles, reports Live Science.

“The ones who are cool bully more, and the ones who bully more are seen as cool,” study researcher Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA professor of psychology, said in a statement.

The study is published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Anti-bullying campaigns should focus on persuading bystanders to show they disapprove of bullying, advised Juvenon.

Bullies often target unpopular children who are less likely to be defended by onlookers, notes Live Science.

Via Education News.

The 'mean girl' myth

Despite the South Hadley High bullying case, there is no epidemic of “mean girls” attacking other girls, write Mike Males and Meda-Chesney Lind in a New York Times op-ed.

We have examined every major index of crime on which the authorities rely. None show a recent increase in girls’ violence; in fact, every reliable measure shows that violence by girls has been plummeting for years. Major offenses like murder and robbery by girls are at their lowest levels in four decades. Fights, weapons possession, assaults and violent injuries by and toward girls have been plunging for at least a decade.

If one group is more prone to violence, it’s middle-aged men and women, they write, but you don’t hear about “mean middle-agers.”

Of course, Males and Lind are looking at criminal acts, which are easier to track than the typical girl-on-girl harassment, which is mean but not criminal.