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Youth and Electronic Aggression

Parents and schools should work proactively to reduce the risks of this emerging public health problem.

Chart: Where Electronic Aggression Happens: Chat rooms 25%, Web site  23%, Instant messaging 67%, Email 25%, Text messages 16%

New media technology provides social and educational benefits for many young people; however, it does come with possible risks. It allows youth to threaten, harass, embarrass, and bully others in Internet chat rooms and on social networking Web sites and Internet blogs. Youth can also send aggressive e-mails, pictures, and instant and text messages to others via computers, cell phones, and other types of technology. Collectively, this type of behavior is called electronic aggression.

  • Electronic aggression is an emerging public health issue. Research shows an increase of 50% between 2000 and 2005 in the percentage of young people who have reported being victims of electronic aggression.
  • Electronic aggression victims are significantly more likely to use drugs and alcohol, receive school detentions or suspension, skip school, experience in-person aggression, have emotional distress, and have relationship problems with their parents.
  • Victimization occurs through all forms of technology: 25% in a chat room, 23% on a website, 67% with instant messaging, 25% through an e-mail, 16% with a text message.

Prevention suggestions include developing school policies on electronic aggression, establishing electronic aggression prevention programs or modifying current prevention programs, training educators, creating a positive school atmosphere for students, and improving parent-child communication and parental monitoring of technology use. 

Data Source: Hertz MF, David-Ferdon C. Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Educators and Caregivers. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control; 2008.

More Information

More information on electronic aggression can be found by accessing these links: 

Additional information on youth violence prevention and education can be found by accessing the following links: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -

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