Electronic Aggression

Dec 9, 2007
New Technology and Youth Violence

Teenagers are using new media technology, including cell
phones, personal data assistants, and the Internet, to
communicate with other people in the United States and
throughout the world. New communication avenues, such as
text messaging, chat rooms, and social networking websites
(e.g., MySpace and Facebook), have allowed youth to easily
develop relationships, some with people they have never met
in person.

New technology has many potential benefits for youth. It
allows teenagers to communicate with family and friends on
a regular basis. New technology also provides opportunities
to make rewarding social connections for those teenagers
who have difficulty developing friendships in traditional
social settings or because of limited contact with
same-aged peers. In addition, regular Internet access
allows teenagers to quickly increase their knowledge on a
wide variety of topics.

However, the recent explosion in technology does not come
without possible risks. Youth can use electronic media to
embarrass, harass or threaten their peers. Increasing
numbers of adolescents are becoming victims of this new
form of violence. Although many different terms-such as
cyberbullying, Internet harassment, and Internet
bullying-have been used to describe this type of violence,
electronic aggression is the term that most accurately
captures all types of violence that occur electronically.
Like traditional forms of youth violence, electronic
aggression is associated with emotional distress and
conduct problems at school.

In September 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) convened a panel of experts to discuss
issues related to the emerging public health problem of
electronic aggression. The panel included representatives
from research universities, public school systems, federal
agencies, and nonprofit organizations. A special issue of
the Journal of Adolescent Health summarizes the data and
recommendations from this expert panel meeting.

The following resources provide additional information on
electronic aggression, youth violence prevention, and safe


* Journal of Adolescent Health

Additional CDC Resources

* Adolescent and School Health
* CDC Podcast on Electronic Aggression
* Safe Youth, Safe Schools
* Youth Violence Prevention

Additional Federal Resources

* National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center*
* Take a Stand, Lend a Hand, Stop Bullying Now
Source: CDC