Hundreds of millions of daily posts on the social networking service Twitter are providing a new window into bullying - a tough nut to crack for researchers.
"Kids are pretty savvy about keeping bullying outside of adult supervision, and bullying victims are very reluctant to tell adults about it happening to them for a host of reasons," says Amy Bellmore, a University of Wisconsin-Madison educational psychology professor. "They don't want to look like a tattletale, or they think an adult might not do anything about it."
Yet typical bullying research methods rely on the kids - victims and bullies alike - to describe their experiences in self-reporting surveys.
"For a standard study we may get access to students from one grade in one school," Bellmore says. "And then we get a one-time shot at it. We get one data collection point in a school year from these kids. It's very labor- and time-intensive."
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