Friday, August 3, 2012

Computers track bullying with social media

Researchers are using social media to look for clues to bullying incidents, according to an article posted Thursday by United Press International. It states:
“‘Kids are pretty savvy about keeping bullying outside of adult supervision, and bullying victims are very reluctant to tell adults about it happening to them for a host of reasons,’ Amy Bellmore, a University of Wisconsin–Madison educational psychology professor said. ‘They don’t want to look like a tattletale, or they think an adult might not do anything about it.’
“And yet typical bullying research methods attempts to get the kids, victims and bullies alike, to describe their experiences in self-reporting surveys, she said.
“‘For a standard study we may get access to students from one grade in one school,’ Bellmore says. ‘And then we get a one-time shot at it. We get one data collection point in a school year from these kids. It’s very labor- and time-intensive.’”
So, according to the article, UWM researchers turned to computers and to Twitter to gather data on bullying:
“‘What we found, very importantly, was that quite often the victim and the bully and even bystanders talk about a real-world bullying incident on social media,’ computer sciences Professor Jerry Zhu said. ‘The computers are seeing the aftermath, the discussion of a real-world bullying episode.’”
This usage makes sense to me because I remember writing in my journal about being bullied and rejected by my peers. If social media had existed when I was going to school, might I not have used it to similarly express myself?

I applaud any research that may help to foster zero tolerance toward bullying.

My thanks to SmartBrief on Social Media for posting a news summary of the article.

1 comment:

  1. A keyword search on the phrase “zero tolerance,” performed July 22, 2016, returned 14 usages in reference to bullying among writings on my blog, in which I expressed thoughts and concerns as a survivor of childhood bullying. But “zero tolerance” is imbued with specific meaning in the education community and, as a result, I need to clarify my past usage of this term:


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