The habits of Israeli and American high school students with regards to physical and digital violence have shown numerous similarities in recent years.
According to a report released by the US Center for Disease Control on Thursday, fighting and violence among American high school students has decreased over the course of the past few years.
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), which monitors a wide range of health risk behaviors, surveyed some 13,000 US high school students last spring in grades 9 to 12, from 42 states and 21 large urban school districts in some 150 private and public schools.
According to the report, 24.7% of students reported having been in a physical fight at least once in the 12 months prior to the survey, decreased from 32.8% in 2011.
Furthermore, the findings indicated that in the 12 months prior to the survey, 3.1% of students reported they had been in a violent physical fight in which they were injured, compared to 3.9% in 2011. While 8.1% of students had been in a fight on school property, decreased from 12% in 2011.
The survey also found that 14.8% of students said they had been victims of digital violence, including being bullied through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting during the past year, decreased from 16.2% in 2011.
Similarly, a study conducted this past month by the National Authority for Measurement and Evaluation in Education found that violence in Israeli high schools has stabilized.
The data for the report, “Monitoring data for the level of violence in the school system,” was collected from 24,243 pupils in fourth through 12th grades from 474 schools in the state secular, state religious and state Arab school systems, a total of 9,210 pupils from elementary schools, 8,170 pupils from middle schools, and 6,863 students from high schools. The data refers to the 2012/13 school year and compares it to the 2010/11 and 2008/09 school years.
According to the report, in the 10th to 11th grades, 6% of students reported having been in a severe violent attack, compared to 8% in 2008/09 and 7% in 2010/11.
With regards to digital violence among Israeli high school students, a topic that has received growing attention in recent years, despite a minor decrease in reported cases of digital violence in 2010/11 among seventh- to ninth-graders and 10th- to 11th-graders, the rates remained the same between 2008/09 and 2012/13 – 10% and 8%, respectively.
The CDC report also found a decrease in smoking and alcohol use among US high school students, a trend similar to students in Israeli high schools.
According to the CDC report, 34.9% of students had had at least one drink of alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey, down from 38.7% in 2011.
In addition, 40.7% of students had tried marijuana one or more times during their life, similar to 39.9% in 2011.
In comparison, the annual 2013 State of the Child Report released by the National Council for the Child in December, found that during the previous school year, there had been a marked decrease across the board in students reporting drinking alcohol, using drugs or bringing weapons to school.
The percentage of students who drank beer, a Breezer or Smirnoff Ice once in their life decreased from 34% of 7-9th graders in the 2008/09 school year to 24% in 2011/12; and from 59% of 10-11th graders to 52%.
Similarly, the percentage of students who tried marijuana decreased from 4% among 7-9th graders in 2008/09 to 2% among the same grades in 2011/12; and 7% of 10-11th graders to 5%.
The CDC report also addressed the issues of sex, obesity, road safety, nutrition, and physical activity.