Did online school drive down cyberbullying?

When the pandemic first struck, many child well-being advocates worried that the massive shift to remote school would spur an uptick in a troubling behavior: online bullying.

According to new research from Boston University, however, virtual learning may have had precisely the opposite effect.

During online school, “there’s no increase in cyberbullying, and in fact, there appears to be a decrease,” co-author Andrew Bacher-Hicks told The 74.

He and his colleagues’ working paper, published through Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, used Google search trends to track rates of bullying and cyberbullying through the pandemic. Google search intensity for those two terms, the authors found, represents a strong proxy for actual rates of bullying in school and online.

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