Top 5 bullying myths: What you don't know about bullying

We all know that bullying is wrong but you may know even less about bullying than you originally thought. Monitor correspondent Stephanie Hanes debunks 5 popular misconceptions.

3. Technology is the problem. Cyberbullying is the main form of bullying these days.

In honor of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the new bully buster tool called uTip is free for one year. Students can quickly, conveniently and discretely text the school about bullying. Select officials receive the tips in seconds via text message or email. The service is so fast; schools can catch bullies in the act.

Social media, the Internet and cell phones have certainly changed the bullying landscape. Children today have a far harder time finding respite from bullying; what might have once taken place only at school can now follow kids home on their cell phones, Facebook pages, and e-mail accounts. The Internet also provides a slew of opportunities for people to be mean, from slam boards (no-holds-barred college gossip sites), to fake Facebook accounts. Add to that some scary statistics – such as the National Crime Prevention Council’s finding that more than 43 percent of teenagers have been the victims of cyberbullying – and it would be easy to focus anti-bullying attention on-line.

But many researchers say that the vast majority of bullying still takes place in person – in the classroom, the schoolyard, and the cafeteria. Much of the on-line bullying, they say, is an extension of what starts face to face; studies also show that students report in-person bullying to be more damaging.

Many of the high cyberbullying statistics may come from the way different studies define “bullying,” which in some surveys is described as anything from a mean text message to an unauthorized forward to another teen blocking the victim from his or her Facebook page. (Academic and legal definitions tend to require more components for behavior to qualify as bullying.) A recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 15 percent of teens who use social networking sites say they have been the target of mean or cruel behavior there; 69 percent say their peers are mostly kind to one another. 

3 of 5

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.