ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—Just about every teen has heard a rumor about someone at school. Now a new study examines what types of rumors kids tell and who’s more likely to be at the center of the stories.
Gossip and rumors! They’re age-old issues that tweens and teens deal with. Now scientists are trying to learn more about the tales middle schoolers tell. They studied over 300 children from the time they were in fifth grade until they were in seventh grade. Each year the kids took surveys and participated in interviews about the sorts of rumors they heard at school.
Results showed victims of rumors were more likely to be popular students. In seventh grade, girls tended to be targets of sexual activity rumors, while boys were more likely to be the subject of sexual orientation rumors. And rumors about sexual activity, which had more social impact because kids spread the rumor, were more common in seventh grade than in the younger grades. Experts say it’s important to talk to your kids about how rumors can be harmful. And don’t assume that popular kids won’t have a problem.
Other studies have shown that being the victim of gossip is associated with poor self-concept, loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Executive Producer and Field Producer, Roque Correa, Editor
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation