The online school offered a safe haven for bullied teenagers

Of The conversation. A Wayne State University psychology professor, Hannah L. Schacter, writes:

Online school has been hard for many teens during the COVID-19 pandemic, but new research I co-authored has uncovered a potential silver lining: students were less bullied during distance learning than during in-person classes.

We found that out by surveying 388 ninth graders in US high schools. We asked them to answer questions three times during the 2020-2021 school year, approximately three months apart: in November 2020, and in February and May 2021.

During this time, many students transitioned between online-only, face-to-face-only, and hybrid classes as the severity of the pandemic changed and state and local policies adjusted. We asked the students to tell us which of these environments they were learning in, how often they were victims of bullying, and whether they felt depressed, anxious, or exhibited physical stress symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

What we found was that bullied teens reported increased anxiety when attending face-to-face school but not when attending online school. And the higher the percentage of the year a teenager spent in an online school, the less likely they were to be bullied.

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