October is Bullying Prevention Month
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is a form of youth violence. The Center for Disease Control defines bullying as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.
Youth violence is a significant public health problem that affects thousands of young people each day, and in turn, their families, schools, and communities. Youth violence typically involves young people hurting other peers who are unrelated to them and who they may or may not know well. Youth violence can take different forms. Examples include fights, bullying, threats with weapons, and gang-related violence. A young person can be involved with youth violence as a victim, offender, or witness.
Youth violence is preventable. The ultimate goal is to stop youth violence before it starts.
Youth violence starts early. Physical aggression can be common among toddlers, but most children learn alternatives to using violence to solve problems and express their emotions before starting school. Some children may remain aggressive and become more violent. Other early childhood risk factors include impulsive behavior, poor emotional control, and lack of social and problem-solving skills. Many risk factors are the result of experiencing chronic stress, which can alter and/or harm the brain development of children and youth.
Youth violence is connected to other forms of violence, including child abuse and neglect, teen dating violence, adult intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and suicide. Different forms of violence have common risk and protective factors, and victims of one form of violence are more likely to experience other forms of violence.
How big is the problem? Thousands of people experience youth violence every day. While the magnitude and types of youth violence vary across communities and demographic groups, youth violence negatively impacts youth in all communities—urban, suburban, rural, and tribal.
Youth violence is common. 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied on school property in the last year.
Youth violence kills and injures. Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. Each day, approximately 12 young people are victims of homicide and almost 1,400 are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal assault-related injuries.
Youth violence is costly. Youth homicides and nonfatal physical assault-related injuries result in an estimated $18.2 billion annually in combined medical and lost productivity costs alone.
Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. Bullying can include aggression that is physical (hitting, tripping), verbal (name calling, teasing), or relational/social (spreading rumors, leaving out of group). Bullying can also occur through technology and is called electronic bullying or cyberbullying. A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both (also known as “bully/victim”).
Bullying is widespread in the United States. While the magnitude and types of bullying can vary across communities and demographic groups, bullying negatively impacts all youth involved—victims, bullies, and bystanders.
Bullying is common. 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied on school property in the last year.
Bullying is frequent. Bullying is among the most commonly reported discipline problems in public schools. 12% of public schools report that bullying happens at least once a week. Rates are highest for middle schools (22%) compared to high schools (15%), combined schools (11%), and primary schools (8%).
Bullying can happen online. For example, over 15% of high school students report being cyberbullied in the last year.
What are the consequences? Bullying can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, and even death. It also increases the risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. Youth who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and experiencing violence later in adolescence and adulthood. Youth who bully others and are bullied themselves suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for mental health and behavioral problems.
What the CDC Is Doing? The CDC works to prevent bullying before it starts. It supports evidence-based actions in communities to effectively prevent bullying and other forms of youth violence. Research on preventing bullying is still developing, but promising evidence is available for school-wide programs.
Additional resources: Visit www.cdc.gov or www.stopbullying.gov for more information.