By Leslie Wade, CNN
(CNN) - For years, pediatricians have recommended that young children watch no TV, or as little as possible, because it can lead to problems in school and behavior issues. Now a new study concedes children are sitting in front of the TV a lot longer. However, controlling what they watch can improve how they behave.
When preschoolers watch educational programs instead of violent TV shows, they tend to be more compassionate and less aggressive, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
About 600 families were recruited and assigned to one of two groups. Parents in the first group were encouraged to substitute violent shows with educational and pro-social ones – shows that stressed compassion and cooperation.
Families were given monthly TV guides listing educational programming for their area: shows such as "Dora the Explorer," "Super WHY," "Sesame Street" and "It's a Big, Big World." Parents were also encouraged to watch TV with their kids.
The children went from watching a half-hour of violent programming a day to 23 minutes. Parents then increased educational viewing from about 30 to 43 minutes a day.
Families in the second group did not change their viewing habits.
"This is the first study to try to modify the viewing habits of preschool kids," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "That's one of the significances of this study."
After a year, researchers found that children watching less violent and more child-appropriate shows scored better on tests that measured cooperation, a willingness to share or compromise. They also had fewer incidents of aggressive behavior such as yelling and hitting.
Read the full post on The Chart blog
By Shaina Negron, CNN
(CNN) - At age 16, Rob McCullough walked into an LA Boxing gym for the first time. The teen had left home, moving from one friend's couch to another, and now finally felt like he found a place where he belonged.
"I went to the gym and worked out, and worked out my stuff," he says. "That was kind of my safe haven."
After taking his first class and leaving with a compliment from the instructor, McCullough was hooked. "It built self-confidence," he recalls. "At the end of the day, I felt great about it."
Life was difficult at times for McCullough and his seven siblings who were raised by a single mother. Constantly relocating, he remembers how other kids were not always welcoming when the family moved to a new neighborhood. "I dealt with bullying growing up as a kid because I was always the new guy at the school," he says.
By the time he reached high school, a new challenge would shape his future.
(CNN) Like many sports fans, Maggie Stephens uses social media to stay informed about her favorite teams.
But she won’t be following Washington State University football players on Twitter anymore. That’s because the team’s head coach has imposed a ban on Twitter for his players.
Coach Mike Leach issued the ban after some players allegedly posted vulgar tweets. Some were reportedly derogatory toward women and African-Americans.
Violators can be suspended.
WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos supports the decision. “We are at a point now where we need 100% focus. We don’t need distractions,” Moos told CNN affiliate KREM.
By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Special to CNN
Editor’s Note: Becki Cohn-Vargas, Ed.D., has spent more than 35 years as a teacher, principal, curriculum director and superintendent. Currently, she is the director of Not In Our School, part of the national nonprofit Not In Our Town. She is building a network of educators taking action to stop bullying and create safe, accepting and inclusive schools.
All of us have experienced cruel behavior, either as a participant, victim or witness. The Not In Our School “Break Bullying”public service announcement, donated by the MAKE ad agency, appears to bring back those bad memories. The announcement depicts adults in a professional environment re-enacting the personal middle school bullying experience of the director, Mike Nelson. His point: If we would not stand for this at work, why do we stand for it happening to kids in schools? The purpose of the PSA is to make us want to do something - to intervene, unlike the co-workers who watch their colleague pushed to the floor.
Not In Our School focuses on solutions. It provides positive films and resources to networks of schools, so when MAKE first presented the video, we weren’t sure we could use it. But then we saw what happened when people viewed it. They started talking about how it looked when adults felt the kind of pain children experience every day. We launched the PSA for Bullying Prevention Month as a wake-up call. Our goal was to reach as many people as possible (55,000 to date) and spark conversation about taking bullying seriously. Then, we would talk about ways to successfully combat bullying in our schools.
When the CNN Schools of Thought blog posted “Break Bullying,” it received more than 500 comments from viewers. Some were heartening; many were not. Well-meaning comments posed possible solutions to bullying: Some were practical and others were outright scary. One man proudly admitted to paying $50 to a man he found on the street to beat up the bully, who ended up “in a hospital for a month.” One person even stated that bullying is a necessary rite of passage based on animal instinct, echoing others who felt that no matter what we do, bullying will never change.
By Rande Iaboni, CNN
(CNN) - Toms River, New Jersey police charged a mother with simple assault, criminal trespassing, and terroristic threats after an altercation with two boys on a public school bus. Rebecca Sardoni, 28, claims the boys had bullied her daughter, according to reports from the Toms River Regional School District.
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy told CNN today that Sardoni boarded the bus Friday morning and, according to witnesses, confronted two boys sitting in the back and slapped them both.
Sardoni claims she was protecting her 9-year-old daughter from school bullies and that three kids in her daughter's class have been harassing her daughter, even assaulting the student sexually.
Director of Communications for the Toms River Regional School District, Tammi Millar confirmed to CNN that Sardoni did report a bullying incident to the principal of East Dover Elementary School on Thursday afternoon. The incident would have been investigated that next day, "but she stepped on to that bus Friday morning" and took matters into her hands, Millar said.
By Donna Krache, CNN
Editor’s Note: Not In Our School offers resources to help adults empower students against bullying. You may also want to check out The Stop Bullying Speak Up campaign, sponsored by Cartoon Network, CNN and Time Warner, a student-centered approach that also offers educator and parent materials.
(CNN) - It’s an anti-bullying message designed to hit home with a different audience - adults. And it hits hard.
The set is an office breakroom. The office bully calls a coworker names, then pushes and threatens him, even as horrified colleagues pretend not to notice. One gets up from his table and scurries away. The victim is humiliated. The bully revels in the power.
In the end, the boss intervenes, but not to bring justice - just to tell the bully and the victim to "get back to work."
Anyone who watches the public service announcement, “Break Bullying,” would see no office would allow the scene to play out that way. In reality, it didn't: It was based on actual experiences from the producer's middle school years.
And that’s the point, according to the organization Not in Our School and Mike Nelson, the producer of the spot: If we wouldn’t stand for bullying as adults, why do we allow it to happen in our schools?
(CNN) - Millions of students are chronically absent. CNN's Athena Jones looks at what schools are doing to increase attendance.
(CNN) - A school near Fort Worth, Texas, is facing questions about its corporal punishment procedures after a student came home with a bottom that "looked almost as if it had been burned and blistered."
Springtown High School sophomore Taylor Santos requested corporal punishment because she didn't want to return to in-school suspension, a punishment she said she received when a classmate cheated off her, CNN affiliate WFAA reported. Her mother agreed because it was Taylor's preference, but expected her daughter to be hit by a woman: A district policy says corporal punishment should only be administered by people the same sex as the student. Although a woman was in the room, a man hit her, leaving red marks and welts that lasted for days, Taylor and her mother said.
Texas is one of 19 states where it's legal for school employees to hit students. During the 2005-06 school year, 223,190 students around the United States were punished physically, according to The Center for Effective Discipline.
The superintendent suggested they change the policy to remove the sex requirement, but Taylor's family says she's proof it's needed. Now, the school district has changed the policy to require parents to request in writing corporal punishment and the sex of the person administering it.
What do you think? Should schools be able to administer corporal punishment? What requirements should be in place for it to occur?
by Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) - “School is boring,” say about half of American students who routinely skip. But when asked what they’re doing instead of attending class, most say they’re just hanging out with their friends or sleeping.
A survey recently published at Getschooled.com cites data that as many as 7 million students - about 15% of the K-12 population - are out of school 18 or more days of the school year. And many of them don’t think skipping school will impact their future.
That’s not in line with reality. The study points out that students who skip more than 10 days of school are significantly (about 20%) less likely to get a high school diploma. And they’re 25% less likely to enroll in higher education.
Can parents have an impact here? Absolutely. In fact, parental encouragement to attend school was the most widely cited factor in what would make students want to go to class diligently.
But many of those surveyed said their parents didn’t even know when students skipped. In fact, 42% said their parents either never knew or rarely knew when their kids were absent from school; another 24% added that parents knew “sometimes.” So parental engagement and knowledge of children’s whereabouts seem key to keeping kids in class.
Students also said that encouragement from anyone to whom they felt a personal connection, from teachers to coaches to celebrities, could influence better attendance. “If we - parents, educators, and even celebrities - show them we truly care about them, their aspirations and frustrations, they will be more likely to care about making it to school,” writes Marie Groark, executive director of the Get Schooled Foundation.
Other solutions: Those surveyed said they wanted to see a “clear connection” between their classes and the jobs they’d like down the road. They also cited a better understanding of consequences, greater support of teachers, and more friends at school as factors that could make them attend more often.
by the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) Ten months after a drum major died after being beaten in a hazing ritual and days after a school dance team was suspended amid similar allegations, Florida A&M University said Friday that all students must sign an anti-hazing pledge in order to attend classes.
The school's announcement - which also heralded the launch of a website, StopHazingatFAMU.com - is its latest attempt to address events that thrust the university into the center of the national discussion about the perils of hazing.
The new requirement, starting in spring 2013, mandates that students sign the anti-hazing pledge in order to register for classes at the Tallahassee school. By signing it, they promise not to participate "in any hazing activities either as a hazer or hazee, on or off campus" and to report any information about hazing to campus authorities within 24 hours.
"Everyone on campus needs to be unified in the fight against hazing," Larry Robinson, the university's interim president, said Friday in a press release. "We will continue to enact change, positively empower our students and provide resources going forward to ensure that we provide a safer and healthier environment for learning."
In his convocation address kicking off the school year Friday, Robinson stressed to students that eliminating hazing is a priority.
"If in fact (hazing incidents) do occur, I just want everyone to know our actions will be swift, and they will be decisive," he said.
CNN’s Schools of Thought blog is a place for parents, educators and students to learn about and discuss what's happening in education. We're curious about what's happening before kindergarten, through college and beyond. Have a story to tell? Contact us at email@example.com