Mean Girls' Fights Haven't Increased Teen Violence

Despite recent high-profile assaults, teen violence has decreased.

ByABC News via logo
February 26, 2009, 5:06 PM

April 10, 2008 — -- Recent high-profile videos featuring real-life "mean girls" have created interest and a conversation about a possible increase in girl-on-girl aggression, but in reality violence among teens has decreased.

Physical violence among teens has dipped by 10 percent during the last 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But media coverage and videos like a recent incident where a gang beating of a 16-year-old girl was posted online have contributed to chatter about girls' aggressiveness.

Teen violence experts said the Internet could be fueling the type of girl violence that has captured headlines because it's becoming the teen place to see and be seen.

"The best [way] to hurt the victims is to hurt the victims as wide as possible. There is no better place than the Web to show it. It's maximizing the bullying and the pain in the victims," said Dr. Young Shin Kim of Yale University School of Medicine's Child Study Center.

Cyberspace has become a virtual communication outlet for a slew of teenage girls. According to a Cox Communication Teen Internet Survey last year, girls are more likely to post online videos and personal information than boys.

Sometimes the postings aren't limited to contact information and descriptions of their favorite things. The Internet can be a prime forum for bullies, like in Baltimore where a student posted a video on Myspace showing a sophomore female hitting a teacher in the face in her own classroom. The cell phone video also shows classmates seemingly cheering on the bully.

One former bully who used to post her exploits online said she did so because she wanted bragging rights among her friends.

"You see a lot of people fighting. Sometimes it rubs off on you and you just fight because you want to fight," said Saccorra Hall, who used to regularly beat up other girls at her school, beginning in junior high. "They think putting it on YouTube will let people know, 'She beat her up.'"

The altercations aren't limited to high school campuses. It's reached elementary school playgrounds too.