Investigation: Mean Little Girls
Why are so many little girls becoming bullies. We dig for answers
We often hear about middle school or high school bullying, but 1st grade? Experts are seeing it and finding a special problem with girls Video by kmtv.comvideo
Omaha, NE -- Mean little girls. The bully problem creeping into 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade right here in Omaha and now some experts think they may know why. We often hear about middle school or high school bullying, but 1st grade? Experts are seeing it and finding a special problem with girls.
Our little girls love them: Hannah Montana, iCarly, Victorious, some experts now say the shows aren't just capturing girls' attention - they might be leaving behind a nasty impression.
Mean Girls, a popular 2004 movie where it's cool to write mean things about other teenage girls in a book. Now some experts say that bad girl behavior is a popular attitude in lots of shows, even TV shows made for kids like Disney's A.N.T. Farm. Sam on Disney's iCarly is often hitting poor Freddie. Jade on Victorious' admits she's a mean girl "dark and prickly".
Misty Kuiper watches her kids TV shows closely. "Some of the cartoons that you can see are getting just they're not very educational, they just show violence," explained the concerned mom.
But hey, mean girls on TV aren't new. Carlie Brown's Lucy could often be mean to Carlie Brown. In one episode Lucy said to Charlie, "These slides will show your tendency towards fatness. Look at that stomach, even your nose is fat!"
Indiana professor Nicole Martins says most girls didn't want to "be" like Lucy. Today even the lead girl characters can have a mean swagger and that can be trouble. "There seems to be a link between particularly with children who see these typical behaviors in shows and how they manifest their aggression in the classroom," explained Martins.
Martins actually studied it and she found the aggressive characters didn't do much to change the little boys' behavior, but they did see a definite spike in aggression when the little girls see it -even in the adult shows! Professor Martins said in one hour after watching shows like American Idol, The Simpson's and Survivor little girls showed aggressive behavior.
Turns out, there's an official term for it too called "Girl Relational Bullying". The New York Times did an investigation about it and their experts say mean little girl attitude "is going under the radar".
Melvin Clancy worked in Omaha Public Schools for 33-years. Action 3 News asked Melvin, "Are little girls meaner than they were when you first started working back in 1971?"
Melvin quickly responded, "A resounding yes!"
Clancy remembers when girl bullies were like a character on 80's hit show Punky Bruster. The bully was a loner who often was bigger in size and didn't need others to make a point.
Melven explained, "Now we have say a more modern little girl. She is more calculating. She has a group of peers very much like her usually she is very popular instead of the bully who was the outcast."
Experts say TV shows now have a "mean girl" who often helps move the story line along teaching girls it's okay to prolong the meanness.
On an episode of the Brady Bunch, Peter Brady knocked a bully out during an after school fight. Cindy Brady said "Baby talk baby talk it's a wonder you can talk."
Researchers agree that older TV shows had their mean little girls, too. More often another character would jump in with a lesson, like Peter Brady did after Cindy teased the crying bully. "Why shouldn't we tease him," questioned a confused Cindy Brady.
Peter responded, "For the same reason you wouldn't want him teasing you."
Over at Carter Lake Elementary, Emma Slayman and Savannah Kuiper agree with Melvin Clancy. They see a bully problem already and they are only in second and third grades.
Emma Slayman said, "A bully is someone that hurts you, toddle's on you and even kill or punches you or calls you names."
Emma and Savannah got so tired of mean girls "and" boys they started a new Anti-Bullying Club and lots of little kids are joining! The girls even told the city council about the problem. Barely able to see over the podium, Savannah Kuiper said to Carter Lake City Council, "We would like all the kids to stand up for themselves and be proud of who they are."
They're little girls standing for niceness. Experts say it's a slippery slope for our little girls swimming in sea of nastiness.
Reported By: Liz Dorland@action3news.com