Updated: Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013, 2:25 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013, 8:14 PM EST
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- What steps is social media taking when it comes to cyberbullying? Yale Researchers and Facebook are leading the charge in a joint ongoing study.
The latest findings are gleamed from data taken in the last quarter of last year. About 4 hundred thousand kids reported some form of bullying on facebook but researchers zeroed in on the 13 to 14-year-olds, refining a strategy and empowering them with a more thoughtful social approach to dealing with bullies.
"Once you've clicked that, this poses a problem. This is the first screen children see," said Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
With a click of a button on Facebook, kids can resolve conflict and disagreement in the world of social media.
"I don't like what it says or someone is bullying me," said Dr. Brackett.
Framed for 13 to 14-year-olds Yale researchers, Dr. Marc Brackett and Dr. Robin Stern worked closely with Facebook engineers to create a more sophisticated system to report cyberbullies.
The teens answered questions tied to the intensity of their emotions.
"Was it spreading rumors, was it someone just being mean to you or is it something even more serious like being threatened," said Dr. Brackett.
The thoughtful st rategy lead to a high number of kids completing the process.
"They felt that facebook was listening to them and and that there was somebody on the other side of the computer or as if somebody was on the other side of the computer, caring about their experience," said Dr. Stern, Associate Director for Special Projects.
The experience also revealed gender differences. The majority of those reporting being bullied online were girls. But girls were also more likely the instigators.
"when we think about mean girls and when we think about girl bullying, we're usually thinking about words and with boys it will be most likely to be physical," said Dr. Stern.
The teens were more likely to choose tailored sensitive messages to thwart off bullies instead of sending a negative response.
"Your posts are making me very uncomfortable. Will you please take down the post," said Dr. Brackett. "Previously what would happen is kids would write anything they wanted and actually we're telling kids hold on a minute."
They found kids were less likely to block friends with the conversational approach.
"They did because in fact for them, the report flow now became more meaningful and even more accurate in reflecting what they were feeling in wanting to report," said Dr. Stern.
The next step is fine tuning the process for the 15 to 16 year olds and establishing a resource center for kids, parents, teachers and administrators.
The researchers tell me Facebook monitors what's being said and the more intense, the more likely Facebook will get involved.