Is the Anti-Bullying Campaign Backfiring?

By Teen Expert, Barbara Greenberg, PhD

Why are they so mean?Why are they so mean?

The New Normal?

It can take multiple forms -- sending semi-naked photos of "friends" to classmates, touching the wrong part of a peer's body, or even spreading malicious sexual rumors in an attempt to devalue a peer. I'm referring to sexual harassment.

According to a national survey released this week by the American Association of University Women, during the 2010-2011 school years, 48% of students in the U.S. in grades 7-12 experienced sexual harassment either in person or via electronic technology.

Honestly, I am disgusted that this type of behavior may even be considered the new normal. 48% is no small number. Many victims of this type of harassment report experiencing somatic symptoms, school avoidance, and decreased motivation to study. NO KIDDING. Much of this harassment occurs in school. So why would harassed kids feel inspired and delighted by the idea of a new school day?

We spend so much time teaching our pre-teens and teens how NOT to behave. "Don't bully." "Don't say anything that you wouldn't want anyone to say to you."
Well, this begs the question of whether or not we are simply teaching our kids (ineffectively) what not to do and at the same time forgetting to teach them what to do. Are we forgetting to teach them appropriate pro-social behavior as we are immersed in this consuming bullying issue? Perhaps, the anti-bullying immersion has backfired.

My question to parents and educators is, "Where have all the values gone?" Remember that song "Long time passing..."? Sometimes song lyrics are timeless and deeply relevant.

Your thoughts?

Related from GalTime:

Mean World Syndrome

Could Your Child Be a Bully?

5 Secrets To stay Connected to Your Teen