Expert: viral videos of fights encourage girl on girl violence
Tue, 29 Mar 2011 16:17:08 GMT —
Jenelle Evans, the star of MTV's reality television show "Teen Mom 2," landed in jail after a video surfaced of the star fighting another teenage girl in Brunswick County, North Carolina.
In the video, Evans pins Britany Truett to the ground, punching her in the face multiple times. Another girl is seen pushing Evans into Truett. All three girls were arrested and charged with simple affray. Evans was also charged with assault.
Denise Lewis, an education professor at Carolina Coastal University, has done extensive research on cyber-bullying, and "mean girls," as she calls them. She says videos like the one of Evans are just an example of bullying and are making it acceptable for kids to violently fight.
"It's glamorizing fighting in a twisted way," Lewis says.
Lewis says these days girls are twice as likely as boys to start or participate in fights. She says its harder for teachers in the classroom, because they have to prevent bullying, which leads to fighting.
"It's even harder today because with technology, you can't escape it," Lewis says.
Tuesday night, Lewis showed the video of the Evans' fight to a class of about eight students, all of whom are currently one on one mentoring children from kindergarten to 3rd grade. Her students asked that we protect the identities of the children, but shared some of their stories. Some students said they could already see signs of relational aggression, part of Lewis's "mean girl syndrome" in their mentees.
"My (mentored student) is bully. That's what her teacher told me," one student shared. "She'll get so mad she'll get red in the face, and she'll curl up her knuckles in fists. But I can't yell at her to correct her. That won't help."
Lewis says to prepare for "mean" or aggressive girls she teaches her students it's all about being proactive.
"We are such a reactive culture," Lewis says. "Just having the awareness and the education that bullying does happen underneath their nose, that fighting does happen, they need to be aware."