Dateline NBC ran a segment on Sunday night discussing how bullying has become a worldwide epidemic, reporting that 1 in 3 teens were bullied while at school causing failing grades, depression and even suicide.
In fact, in the United States it has even reached the attention of the White House. On Thursday, March 10, President Obama will be hosting a conference on bullying prevention with students, parents and teachers to discuss ways to address the issue.
As a new parent, I hope our policymakers begin to create better prevention programs and help young people empower themselves to stop bullying, especially online.
In the United Kingdom, I know it’s already well underway led by Beatbullying, a leading bullying prevention charity. The organization has developed innovative, evidence-based and highly successful prevention programs across the UK.
Beatbullying is using IBM SPSS predictive analytics to build in-depth profiles of children most at risk of being bullied – including the ability to map how bullying is most likely to occur.
This analysis has helped the charity shape their programs and assist educators, parents and guardians and other professionals in understanding the short-, medium- and long-term effects that bullying has on children and young people everywhere.
And, they have established the statistical significance of its findings lending significant weight to calls for action from policymakers.
The results have been tremendous as well – with schools, youth groups and community organizations announcing that incidents of bullying are down by up to 39 percent, and the reporting of bullying by young people is up by more than 60 percent.
Understanding Attitudes and Behaviors to Combat Bullying
Beatbullying is no different than successful commercial and government organizations (healthcare, police departments, insurers, retailers, etc.) that collect and analyze data to spot trends and make better decisions. Beatbullying believes that to maintain momentum on anti-bullying strategies, it’s vital to capture and monitor attitudinal and behavioral changes in the outlook of young people, and identify relationships, trends and patterns of bullying.
A crucial part of their work involves conducting a large number of surveys across many schools and communities. Through this feedback, they understand the nature of bullying and evaluate the impact of its initiatives.
By using IBM SPSS predictive analytics, Beatbullying:
· Can go beyond simple analysis and measure actual attitudinal change, motivations, prejudices and relationship confliction concerns in adults, as well as children and young people.
· Disproved the assumption that bullying is a character trait. That viewpoint made children and young people who were being bullied feel even more hopeless and convinced that no one can help them.
· Saw a marked shift in the government response to bullying through the vigorous campaigns developed to ensure youth are educated and empowered to defend themselves.
· Uncovered the most frequent online venues for bullying were the social network bebo.com and Microsoft’s instant messaging service MSN Messenger. This lead to bebo.com introducing a button allowing users to report incidents of cyber-bullying to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
Beatbullying now has a quicker and more precise way of analyzing patterns among young people, and understanding and deploying successful bullying intervention tactics. They also can now better monitor and assess other strategies in their ongoing effort to beat bullying.
Thanks to organizations like Beatbullying, young people have a better chance in an increasingly challenging world.