Author: Suzanne Le Menestrel, Ph.D.
Bullying behavior among children and adolescents is recognized as a major public health problem, demanding the time and attention of parents, educators and school administrators, health care providers, policymakers, families and others concerned with the care of children.
This report describes a study on the state of the science on biological and psychosocial consequences of peer victimization from early childhood through adolescence, as well as the risk and protective factors that either increase or decrease peer victimization behavior and consequences.
The study provides findings, conclusions and recommendations that can inform future policy, practice, and future research on promising approaches to reduce peer victimization, particularly for vulnerable populations and those most at-risk of experiencing peer victimization.
Among the study’s key findings and recommendations include:
• Agencies and other stakeholders should use a consistent definition of bullying.
• Agencies engaged in the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention should gather longitudinal surveillance data on the prevalence of all forms of bullying.
• Evidence-based programs to address bullying behavior are more effective than zero-tolerance policies.
• Law and policy have the potential to play a significant role in strengthening state and local efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying.
The report also identified that the majority of U.S. adolescents use social media sites, where the prevalence of cyberbullying is high. This research hopes to encourage social media companies to become proactive in addressing bullying on their platforms and publishing anti-bullying policies on their websites.