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Dorothy Espelage's research cited in USA Today: cyberbullying not that common among youth

Friday, August 3, 2012 - 11:50

Photo of Dorothy EspelageAugust 3, 2012, ORLANDO, USA TODAY — Cyberbullying is getting a lot of attention these days, but new research presented here Thursday suggests that teens spreading false, embarrassing or hostile information online about a peer isn't really as prevalent as all the attention might suggest. Educational Psychology professor and bullying expert Dorothy Espelage has been studying bullying for 18 years, including the old-fashioned face-to-face bullying and the online variety. She says her research about cyberbullying found the same 17% figure (as Michele Ybarra, research director at the non-profit Center for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, Calif.).

Espelage presented a study forthcoming in the journal Psychology of Violence, showing that parental monitoring makes a real difference in whether kids bully. Focusing on 1,023 middle school students in the Midwest, she found that "you should probably monitor your kids."
"They may be less likely to engage in perpetration in school and in perpetration online," Espelage says. "We know in criminology and sociology, the No. 1 predictor of any involvement in at-risk behavior is parental monitoring. It seems to be showing up confirmed in the face-to-face (bullying) and seems to be important in the online context."

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