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Hugging is a common method of showing affection among good friends. It seems like a fairly innocuous way to express one’s feelings toward another. However, according to an article in the New York Times, some schools are not exactly embracing an emerging fad: casual hugging among teenage students.

In this day and age, schools are understandably wary about interactions among students. With a spate of “sexting” incidents snagging headlines across the country and the recent ten-year anniversary of the Columbine school shooting fresh in their minds, many school officials are taking this physical trend seriously.

In some cases, hugging has become so prevalent that students who wish to abstain from the activity run the risk of being ostracized. Peer pressure to cozy up might be forcing some teens into uncomfortable situations. School administrators are finding themselves in an awkward position: should they implement a hard-line “no hugging” rule at the risk of seeming draconian, or do they let the simple and seemingly harmless greeting slide?

Social hugging is a recent phenomenon among school-age children, and parents should be alert to the potential downsides. If your child is feeling pressured into an unwanted interaction of any type, be sure to step in.

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