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Andrew Bacher-Hicks; Joshua Goodman; Jennifer G. Green (et al.)
One-fifth of U.S. high school students report being bullied each year. This study uses internet search data for real-time tracking of bullying patterns as COVID-19 disrupted in-person schooling. It first shows that, prepandemic, internet searches contain useful information about actual bullying behavior. It then shows that searches for school bullying and cyberbullying dropped 30-35 percent as schools shifted to remote learning in spring 2020. The gradual return to in-person instruction starting in fall 2020 partially returns bullying searches to pre-pandemic levels. This rare positive effect may partly explain recent mixed evidence on the pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health and well-being.
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