Announcement: National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month — October 2016

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Bullying among youths is defined as any unwanted aggressive behavior by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners and involves an observed or perceived power imbalance, and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated (1). As a form of youth violence, bullying can include aggression that is physical (hitting or tripping), verbal (name calling or teasing), or relational/social (rumor spreading or leaving out of a group). Electronic aggression, or cyber-bullying, is bullying that occurs through the Internet, cellphone technology, and social media (e.g., e-mail, website, text messaging, posting videos, or pictures) (2).

Bullying is widespread in the United States. In 2015, 20% of U.S. high school students reported being bullied on school property, and 16% reported that they had been victims of electronic bullying within the past 12 months (3). 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 (4).

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. It is a time when partners collaborate to raise awareness about preventing bullying and identify ways to stop bullying year-round through events, activities, outreach, and education. The ultimate goal of bullying prevention awareness is to prevent bullying before it starts. Some promising school-based bullying prevention program elements include, improving supervision of students, using school rules and behavior management techniques to detect and address bullying, consistently enforcing school-wide anti-bullying policies, and promoting cooperation among different professionals and between school staff and parents (5). Additional information is available at and


  1. Gladden RM, Vivolo-Kantor AM, Hamburger ME, Lumpkin CD. Bullying surveillance among youths: uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements, Version 1.0., Atlanta, GA; US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education; 2013.
  2. David-Ferdon C, Hertz MF. Electronic media and youth violence: a CDC issue brief for researchers. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2009.
  3. Kann L, McManus T, Harris WA, et al. Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2015. MMWR Surveill Summ 2016;65(No. RR-6). PubMed
  4. Farrington D, Baldry A. Individual risk factors for school bullying. J Aggress Conflict Peace Res 2009;2:4–16. CrossRef
  5. Farrington DP, Ttofi MM. School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization, 2010. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice; 2010.

Suggested citation for this article: Announcement: National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month — October 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1086. DOI:

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