Bullying is "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". As a form of youth violence, bullying can include aggression that is physical (e.g., hitting, tripping), verbal (e.g., name calling, teasing), or relational/social (e.g., rumor spreading, leaving out of a group). Electronic aggression or cyberbullying is bullying that occurs through Internet or mobile telephone technology (e.g., e-mail, chat room, instant messaging, website, text messaging, videos, or pictures).
Bullying is widespread in the United States. In 2013, 20% of U.S. high school students reported being bullied on school property and 15% reported that they were bullied electronically within the past 12 months. Youths who are bullied are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment. Youths who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in life.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. During this month, multisectoral partners collaborate to raise awareness about bullying prevention and identify ways to stop bullying year-round through events, activities, outreach, and education. The ultimate goal is to stop bullying before it starts.
Certain promising school-based bullying prevention programs include the following elements: 1) improving supervision of students, 2) using school rules and behavior management techniques to detect and address bullying, 3) implementing and consistently enforcing school wide anti-bullying policies, and 4) promoting cooperation among different professionals and between school staff and parents.