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Shock Poll Reveals: Some Teens Are Mean To Their Peers

Stop the presses! Via Meadia has just received word that teenagers are both mean and rude. According to the New York Times, a new study shows that nearly half of student polled have experienced harassment of some form:

Nearly half of 7th to 12th graders experienced sexual harassment in the last school year, according to a study scheduled for release on Monday, with 87 percent of those who have been harassed reporting negative effects such as absenteeism, poor sleep and stomachaches.

On its survey of a nationally representative group of 1,965 students, the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit research organization, defined harassment as “unwelcome sexual behavior that takes place in person or electronically.” Over all, girls reported being harassed more than boys — 56 percent compared with 40 percent — though it was evenly divided during middle school. Boys were more likely to be the harassers, according to the study, and children from lower-income families reported more severe effects.

“It’s pervasive, and almost a normal part of the school day,” said Catherine Hill, the director of research at the association and one of the authors of the report.

Teenage boys behaving badly?  Via Meadia is indescribably shocked.  But this study may only be scratching the surface.  We also hear distressing rumors that “cool” kids make fun of and belittle others.  “Jocks”, we hear, often mock the lack of athletic prowess of those they unkindly label as “nerds” and “geeks”.  In some schools, there are reports that young people with severe cases of acne are the subject of pitiless mirth.  Middle school, it is rumored, is a particularly vicious social snake pit where cliques of young girls do everything in their power to shame and isolate others who do not meet their standards for appearance and behavior.

Via Meadia is grateful to be living in an age of social science when adults with advanced degrees can give these vital issues the deep attention and scrutiny they deserve.  More studies, please, not to mention more polls, more detailed and intrusive regulations, and more sensitivity training.  More attention must be paid and more money spent.  Immediately.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Well said! Add the apparently serious proposal to try and detect extra-terrestrial life “by the light emitted from their cities” to the list of utterly stupid research projects. The anthropomorphic assumptions underlying this bizarre proposal are just one of many reasons that this is a truly ridiculous project. Another can be found at, e.g., Earth is lit up like a Christmas Tree!

  • Duncan Frissell

    Harassment was unknown at Common Law because it involved mere communication. Only recently has it worked its way into civil and criminal law together with a host of non-wrongs.

  • Luke Lea

    Updike wrote an unforgettable sentence on the experience of being beat up by a bully on his way home from school: “I received my first impression of the smug, chinkless, irresistible POWER of stupidity; it is the most powerful force on earth.”

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