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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 21, 2010 / 13 Mar-Cheshvan, 5771

Media help to hype perception of bullying

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Reading all these reports of bullying makes me think of sharks and child abductions.

Remember the "Summer of the Shark"? Those words graced the cover of Time magazine in September 2001. The report was inspired by a spate of shark attacks that summer — the most notable victim being 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast.

Swimming off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., that July, Arbogast was attacked by a bull shark, which ripped off his right arm (it was later reattached). Several other high-profile attacks soon followed, and for weeks — until the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — the national media fixated on them. Every day seemed to bring reports of another attack.

But when the data was analyzed at the end of the year, it turned out that attacks in 2001 (72 worldwide) had actually fallen from the previous year (85). They fell again in 2002 (to 60).

Same with child abductions, ever since JonBenet Ramsey was murdered in 1996. Nancy Grace has never met a child abduction story she doesn't like, and the coverage of those rare instances has created a nation of registrations, Amber Alerts, and "stranger danger."

In 2005, Richard Louv published a book called "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," in which he made a compelling case for getting children away from televisions and computers and back to unstructured outdoor play in nature.

Unfortunately, part of the reason kids have drifted away from such activity is due to what Louv calls the "bogeyman syndrome." Conditioned by the media hype surrounding high-profile child abductions, Louv told me in an interview, parents have become so fearful that they no longer let kids go exploring.

"In truth," he said, "the number of child abductions has actually either been flat or on the decrease depending on which study you look at over the last 20 years."

Gever Tulley, author of a book called "Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)," echoed Louv's analysis. Statistically, Tulley told me, it would take 750,000 years for a child standing on a crowded street corner for eight hours a day to be abducted.

All of which makes me question whether bullying is the new form of shark attack or child abduction. It's a hideous problem that needs addressing, but one which might not exist in proportion to the news coverage it receives.

The suicides of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, and a group of four students from a single Cleveland-area school between 2006 and 2008 seem, in combination, to signify a larger bullying epidemic.

In Delaware last week, a 14-year-old boy shoved a 7-year-old into a portable toilet and tipped the structure over. How was it labeled by the media? Bullying. According to the News-Journal, police described the perpetrator as "the worst kind of bully." In turn, many of the headlines echoed that characterization. NBC10's web report: "Bully knocks over Port-O-John With Boy Inside: Cops." Fox29: "Teen 'Bully' Accused of Toilet Tipping."

It was gross. It was wrong. But was it bullying?

I shared my skepticism with Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington and immediate past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' violence protection committee.

The difficulty in tracking the pervasiveness of bullying, Wright told me in an e-mail, is that researchers are dependent on self-reporting and observational studies with inherent flaws. He did note, however, that a comprehensive AAP review earlier this month found "no dramatic shifts in the overall epidemiologic prevalence of bullying in the United States" over the last decade.

"I would agree that perception of an increase in bullying behavior itself is likely a function of justifiable heightened attention resulting from high-profile cases and their consequences," Wright said. "Also, there is a 'Hawthorne effect' at play in this country in which heightened attention is leading to more reporting and tracking, especially in states where legislative mandates have been enacted. This is not necessarily a bad thing."

Indeed, none of this is to downplay or dismiss the potential ill-effects of bullying — for both the victims and the perpetrators. Or the legitimate dangers of shark attacks or child abductions.

But my hunch is that the underlying behavior hasn't gotten any more vicious. Nor has the prevalence of bullying itself increased. Rather, the attention paid to it has.

I went to school with plenty of bad kids who picked on classmates. Today, kids like that have cell phones and Facebook at their disposal. Meanwhile, an increase in absentee parents means the bullies encounter less discipline at home.

And yes, an overeager media has oversaturated many a news cycle with coverage of the latest bullying case with tragic consequences. The result is both a hyperawareness of behavior that has always existed, and an ever-expanding list of what is classified as "bullying."

No doubt that's due to the introduction of new technology that blurs the very definition. But I also suspect that rampant media coverage has created a run on so-called bullying stories.

It's a serious problem with potentially serious consequences — albeit one whose occurrence is in serious danger of being misrepresented.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Previously:


09/23/10 Officer down, killer hyped up
08/04/10 Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally
07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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