Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Studies Reveal Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected 938 938

Thelasko writes "I'm sure many here have been the victim of bullying at some point in their lives. A new study suggests why. ' researchers have found at least three factors in a child's behavior that can lead to social rejection. The factors involve a child's inability to pick up on and respond to nonverbal cues from their pals.' The article sketches out some ways teachers and councilors are working with bullied kids to help them develop the missing social skills."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Studies Reveal Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Context (Score:3, Informative)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @10:32PM (#31004544)
    I think the simpsons was right, bullies can smell it.
  • Re:From the Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ironchew (1069966) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @10:41PM (#31004634)

    Indeed it is. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs [], belonging is prioritized below physiological needs and safety.

  • ANOREXIC ANDY (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @10:50PM (#31004708)


    "There's a lot of hate around here."

    -Gentry Robler, Santana High sophomore

    The Santee rage massacre took place less than two years after Columbine, and this time, thanks in part to the pathetic figure of Andy Williams, people started to seriously consider the role bullying might have played. But there was resistance.

    In the immediate aftermath, Santana High School officials and local law enforcement officials either denied growing reports that he was a victim of bullying, or else they argued that even if he had been bullied it had nothing to do with the shooting.

    Andy's appointed lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Randy Mize (his father could not afford to hire a private attorney), listed eighteen incidents of bullying just in the weeks leading up to the shooting, including "burned with cigarette lighter on his neck every couple of weeks," "sprayed with hair spray and then lit with a lighter," "beat with a towel that caused welts by bullies at the pool," and "slammed against a tree twice because of rumors." These "rumors" of course were rumors of the sexual orientation sort, the most devastating of all bombs you can drop on a newcomer kid who is incapable of defending himself. Jeff Williams, Andy's father, later said, "Some of the stuff basically borders on torture."

    As Andy quickly learned, Santana High's culture combined the lethal cruelty of coastal California suburbia with familiar, rural trailer park hazing. He wanted out. He visited his mother in South Carolina a few months before his attack, and hoped to move back with her. When he visited old school friends in rural Maryland on that same trip, he told them that kids at his high school regularly egged his father's apartment or stole his homework and threw it into garbage bins. They called him "faggot" and "bitch" and "gay" and taunted him for not fighting back when he was bullied. Worst of all, much of the abuse came from the neighborhood "friends" he hung out with, got stoned with (he turned stoner to try to earn acceptance), and from whom he tried and failed to learn to become a skate rat.

    Some were students at the high school, some weren't. Andy's decision to hang out with students from another school, which suburban kids don't often do, in spite of the fact that these "friends" abused him at least as much as the Santana High "friends," says a lot about the choices he faced. If Andy could have learned to skate, he might have been accepted by a second-tier clique in the coastal California public school hierarchy. As it was, not only did he never live up to the skate rat standards on the ramp, but to punish him for being a dork, his skateboard was stolen on at least two occasions by his friends, who then taunted him for being too much of a fag to protect his board.

    In spite of their relentless taunting, Andy joined them at the local skate park, where they got buzzed on liquor and weed, skated on the ramps (he just watched), and tormented Andy Williams.

    "His ears stuck out, he was small, skinny, had a high voice, so people always picked on him 'cause he was the little kid," said Scott Bryan, a friend of Williams.

    He earned the nickname "Anorexic Andy."

    "He was picked on all the time," student Jessica Moore said. "He was picked on because he was one of the scrawniest guys. People called him freak, dork, nerd, stuff like that."

    Laura Kennamer, a friend, said, "They'd walk up to him and sock him in the face for no reason. He wouldn't do anything about it."

    Anorexic Andy: before puberty...

    Even Andy's fifty-nine-year-old, neighbor Jim Crider, observed, "Williams looked like someone working hard to fit in with his peers-and not quite succeeding. His clothes did not match what the other kids were wearing. When he talked, others didn't always pay attention."

    Anthony Schneider, who was fifteen when the Santee shootings happened, both confirmed Crider's observation and gave a small glimpse into the dumb, cool poison of this schoolyard culture there: "He didn't have that

  • by Le Marteau (206396) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @10:53PM (#31004742) Journal

    Yes, as a matter of fact.

    Refusing to fight back when it is called for is correctly termed 'cowardice' and is 'wrong'.

    Dukeing it out, when required, and when proper, can be noble and yes, is 'right'.

  • by scdeimos (632778) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @11:10PM (#31004906)

    We keep kinds back (retain them in lower grades) for academic reasons, but seldom for social reasons. Often, I suspect, simply delaying entry into school for socially awkward kids might solve a lot of this. Either that or enroll overly aggressive kids a year ahead of time.

    Are you f'n serious? Keep bullied kids back a year and further bully them ("The System" bullies them by keeping them back a year), encouraging more bullying (the bullies are now armed with, "dumb dumb just got kept back a year") and docking them one year of pay (they now lose out on one year's income potential before retirement)?

    Fix the problem: punish the bullies and the teachers and parents that turn a blind eye to them.

  • The short answer. (Score:5, Informative)

    by CFD339 (795926) <> on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @11:23PM (#31005066) Homepage Journal

    Bullies are cowards. All of them.

    The best thing to do with a grade school bully (assuming I'm talking to someone the same age) is to hit them in mouth. Hard. You well then either get hit back a couple of times -- which will hurt, but not be tragic -- or not. In either case, the bully will find someone else to pick on. Learning that getting beat up on the playground isn't the end of the world can itself be incredibly freeing -- and usually leads to it never happening again.

    I have no patience for bullies -- but I have even less patience for helicopter parents who replay their own sad lives as victims through their kids and insist the world be made into a padded safety zone where nobody says mean things or looses at tag any more.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @11:36PM (#31005220) Journal

    What helped me was someone asking an older kid at my church (yes, I once was religious) to give me some pointers on how to deal with the bullies that were always after me. We went for a walk and when we were alone, he sat me done and said "Punch them. Plain and simple, bullies are cowards, and the minute you bloody their nose, they don't want anything to do with you."

    Not exactly a Christian message of cheek turning, but in the end that's exactly what I did. When I was fifteen, a big prick who had been hastling me shoved me on the stairs into school, and I dropped my books, turned around and socked him one in the ear. Hurt like a son of a bitch, but the bastard just took one look at me, utterly confused, and then walked away, and never ever looked at me again.

    That's what solves bullying, beating the fuck out of bullies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 02, 2010 @11:41PM (#31005252)

    It may indeed be the bullies fault, but there is the question of how the bully chooses his victims, or why certain people are bullied and others aren't. This article is not trying to blame the victim for being bullied, merely trying to figure out how the bully chooses his victims, and how people can avoid being the victims.

  • by catsidhe (454589) <> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:24AM (#31005658) Homepage

    Knowing the reason for something is not the same as using it as an excuse.
    Knowing where one has deficits is not the same as not having a reason to find workarounds, or to work on improvement.
    Having Asperger's does not make one a robot, without willpower, discipline or a drive to improve.

    TL;DR: Fuck you. And fuck you if you think that spending my childhood being bullied has made me a victim.

  • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:52AM (#31005888)

    All these years I thought "turn the other cheek" meant you just put up with bullying.
    Then I read a sentence in this book by some Christian author I can't remember. Anyways, he said
    "You can't turn the other cheek if it's been turned for you".

    There is a key distinction between meekness and weakness I was not understanding. Now that I have discovered that, it is my choice whether I choose to fight back or not. I don't feel "morally obliged" to be passive. I evaluate whether it is important for me to defend myself at that moment, and I act on that. The real problem all along for me was a control issue. Now that I have that control, I realize the power struggle for what a silly thing it is, and it just doesn't bother me. I also am much older now and these things just don't happen anymore.

    I plan to do what another /. poster wrote about a year ago. His daughter [2nd, 3rd grade or something] was being abused by the school bully. He contacted the teachers, several times about it, to no avail; after the girl was physically hurting his daughter. He contacted the school principle, who didn't do anything, shrugged it off, not a big deal, etc. So he told his daughter, the next time this happens, grab her hair next to her scalp tightly, and push her head down as hard as you can while you pick your knee up right into her face.

    The girl did it, gave the bully a bloody nose, teachers and principle were ALL OVER her and /. poster; threatened him with a lawsuit over his daughter's conduct. So he explained everything to his lawyer and had him write them a nastygram. They and the bully's parents shut up.

    I liked this story because
    1). he tried to deal with it through the most acceptable means [of course they weren't going to do anything about it, but he tried at least and so had legal grounds to stand on]
    2). The bully never bothered his daughter again. Neither did anyone else in school.

  • by gorbachev (512743) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:17AM (#31006060) Homepage

    That's all fine and dandy until someone loses an eye.

    I read some accounts of kids being bullied these days, and their situation was pretty desperate because the bullies were members of gangs. Any violence in self defense (or otherwise) would be responded by a beating by one or more of the other bullies in the gang.

    Try fighting that...

  • by pyster (670298) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:23AM (#31006110)
    The guy is basically right. kids are bullied because dicks are left unchecked. The only proven method to deal with a bully/dick is to smash his fucken face in until he is a bleeding and worthless pulp of human shit. Schools are a lot like prisons... a bunch of fucktards you would avoid in real life but you are forced to interact with. If someone fucks with you the authorities that are supposed to protect you ignore it.

    In jr high there was a guy who just loved to pick on the special needs girls. He made her cry one day. I kicked him down the stair well, jumped on him, and beat his face in with my combination lock. I was suspended, but the kid never picked on her again. If more people would just hit bullies with baseball bats, or bet yet, just knife them, the world would be a much better place.

    Charlie Murphy and Howard Stern were recently talking about growing up in Roosevelt. Their stories were grim and brutal. Get beat up? The teachers and principle blame the victem and not the guy who doesnt know better than to shake someone down for their lunch money.

    Hitler and the nazi party are good examples of bullies that went unchecked. Had someone smashed in their skulls early on we'd been able to avoid a complete waste of life.

    Kids are bullied because they are easy marks for people who find pleasure in abusing people. Dont fit into some normal one of these fucktards understands and they will fuck you for fun, profit, social status, and ego. These people often grow up to feel guilty about their past... But the damage has been done.

    As much as I would love to see anyone bullied smash the bullies head in with a baseball bat... Kids and parents need to step up and not be afraid to press charges and seek damages; or at least seek a restraining order. Dont be afraid to sue schools that fail to protect your children either.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @01:26AM (#31006136)

    Doesn't really change much.

    I was fortunate enough that my parents decided it's a good idea to do just that and let me enjoy a "better" high school. Guess what? Bullies. Sure, our kind of bullies were the kind that would have gotten the snot beaten out of them by "real" bullies, but the void of the stupid, frustrated hardcore jocks was quickly filled by others who realized they have a physical edge over others.

    It seems that, given a chance, any kid can be a bully.

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @03:08AM (#31006746)

    However if you feel good about yourself, and you feel that you're valuable just because you're a human being, you then will be able to treat others with the greatest true respect. They will pick up on that. They will love how it feels and they will WANT to be your friend.

    This is great, but it only works when everybody is built the same way.

    Fundamental, biological fact: Psychopaths exist and it is impossible for them to respond to love. In fact, telling people, when abused, to simply amp up the love they broadcast is a wonderful thing for the psychopath. They'll happily gobble up whatever you give them and then kick you some more. It is my personal belief that the whole Christ dying on a cross thing was a deliberate and false bit of social programming designed to make feeding easier. "Turn the other cheek" is a great thing for all the sheep to have hard-wired into their brains - if you are a psychopath. The only way to deal with a psychopath is to recognize the traits and RESIST them. It's not that difficult. It's shark hunting; sharks always respond according to their own behavior and thus they can be predicted and mapped, but first you have to educate yourself and not pretend yourself into danger by saying such comforting things as, "Everybody just needs love!" Not every human is really human.

    It is estimated that about 6% of the global population is psychopathic. That's 1 in approximately 16 people. --And it stands to reason that power centers, companies, cities and entire countries which promote and reward self-serving and abusive behavior are going to attract psychopathic individuals. It is safe to assume that the concentrations of psychopaths will be much higher than 6% in some areas. And even if that isn't the case, the spread of cruel-assholes throughout my old school dayss was easily around 1 in 16.


  • Learning how to fart (Score:5, Informative)

    by rve (4436) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @04:46AM (#31007350)

    Bullies are cowards. All of them.

    Actually studies have shown the complete opposite (I read it on paper) []. It used to be fashionable to attribute this kind of behavior to low self esteem, until someone actually bothered to investigate this, and found that bullies actually tend to have unrealistically high self esteem and tend to be more bold and impulsive than average.

    From this, the logical next step would be to subject a bully to so much abuse that his self esteem is shattered and see if this changes their behavior. This would obviously be immoral.

  • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:29AM (#31007564)

    I tell you, I find pacifism to be rather scary. How is a society going to be a fit place to live -- or a school a fit place to learn -- if no one takes responsibility for reining in the bullies, miscreants, etc.? You can't rely on authority figures to do it. It is your responsibility, it is everyone's responsibility, to make the world a better place. The only tools you have, though, are peer pressure, reason, charisma, and punching. Bullies are not amenable to reason, charisma only works if you have it, and peer pressure relies on your ability to influence a bully's peers. Often, only punching is available.

    When punching is the only option, a pacifist not only rejects his responsibility as a member of a society, but also claims that taking on the responsibility is morally wrong. I am not okay with that.

    There is a subtle difference between pacifism and the feeling that violence should only be used as a last resort. Are we still animals where each and every individual must be capable of defending themselves against predators?

    Between adults the kind of behavior described in this thread results in lawsuits, career changes etc. Yet somehow we accept that when we force children together in a school environment that they pick on each other like the little animals they are. There are ways of dealing with these issues that don't require the victim to use physical force, we're just not willing to use them.

    If force is the only solution, why don't we take every violent criminal back to the local police station where 12 randomly picked citizens get to pound on him for a bit? Takes a heck of a lot less time than a trial, is a lot cheaper than prison, and people even get to use their iphones while doing it.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @05:52AM (#31007670) Homepage

    "Take turns when you talk" is huge. Absolutely huge. The most annoying geeks I know are those who monopolize conversation, who betray a snarky know-it-all attitude, who are horrible listeners and indefatigable talkers, always eager to show how smart they are. I want to beat them up.

    Rule of thumb: if this is you, for the next month, say no more than 4 sentences - small ones - before surrendering conversation to the next speaker. Then, listen to what other people say. Rephrase it and repeat the rephrased version of what they said back to them - nuance it maybe, but don't try to negate it or one-up it.

    It will make you more popular, by an order of magnitude.

  • by Vintermann (400722) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @06:18AM (#31007804) Homepage

    > you'd not believe me if I told you

    I would. One of the ways I dealt with bullying - not so much the bullies, by that point I'd fortunately got away from them, but the long-term effects on myself - was to read some serious social science about what bullying was and how it could be dealt with. Girls usually aren't violent bullies, but calling it passive-agressive is being too generous. It can be very active attempts to make your life hell.

  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2 AT gdargaud DOT net> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @07:05AM (#31008026) Homepage
    Agree. I fought back bullies for the first time when I was ~16 (cracked skull on one of the aggressors). After that the bullying stopped outright. I wonder why I didn't do that 10 years before, and that's one thing I'll be sure to teach kids. Like they say: "Violence solves problems. If it didn't work, then you aren't using enough of it !"
  • by Demonspawn (187073) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @12:20PM (#31011020)

    This is very true. It's all part of the dominance hierarchy.

    The alphas are alphas. The betas are worried about their position and therefore often turn to bullying those beneath them to keep them down. The deltas, gammas, and omegas are below.

    I wish I could remember the studies offhand, but there were a handful where the did some social experimentation by taking groups of bullies and isolating them together as a social group: Some stayed bullies, some got bullied. The more interesting study was when they took the bullied kids and isolated them together: new bullies formed while others remained on the bottom.

    School seems to be one of the worst environments for bullying, and there's a good reason for that: There are no alphas in the crowd. Instead, the role of alpha is taken by the teachers/administration (the ones with real power) and because they are "separate" from the kids in High Security (erm.. high school) it's next to impossible for the deltas-gammas to bond with the alphas in order to become safe from the actions of the betas.

I know engineers. They love to change things. - Dr. McCoy