The CDC’s Update on Youth Bullying

The CDC has standardized the definition of bullying in an effort to help families, schools, and communities respond to the issue and help combat it.

bully-free-Purple_Penning.jpgBullying is a serious issue that can result in increased mental and physical duress for children of all ages. Parents and families often experience the same stress and anxiety as they try to protect their children and remedy the situation. In an effort to help families combat the issue and make it a point of discussion in communities and schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and with input from researchers and practitioners, have developed and released a new, uniform definition and report on bullying. The Bullying Surveillance Among Youths: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements, Version 1.0 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. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social or educational harm.”

However, aside from simply defining the issue, the CDC has detailed on its website ways the new guidelines can be used by parents, schools, and communities to respond to bullying. The following are just a few of their recommendations:

  • As a tool to help public health practitioners, school officials, researchers and evaluators define and gather systematic data on bullying to better inform research and prevention efforts.

  • As a starting point for discussing how best to gather data on bullying in schools and communities.

  • To assist schools and communities in understanding when bullying occurs, the different types of bullying behaviors (e.g., physical, verbal, relational), the context in which bullying occurs, and how different groups are more or less likely to be involved in bullying.

  • To help determine if bullying prevention efforts are effective.

To learn more about youth bullying counseling and prevention, visit the CDC’s Featured Topic: Bullying Research website for a list of resources.

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