August 2004

International Trends in Bullying and Children's HealthGiving Them Due Consideration

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Copyright 2004 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2004

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158(8):831-832. doi:10.1001/archpedi.158.8.831

The issue of youth violence, particularly the more common but less dramatic version that is represented in bullying, has been considered worthy of educational and child development concern in many countries. However, at the same time, there has been skepticism about the importance of focusing resources on it because it is considered mild harm, almost normative, and perhaps a luxurious worry (because of low morbidity effect). After all, pushing and shoving, being teased, or otherwise embarrassed and slighted but without clear serious injury seems to be a good candidate for "much ado about nothing." Why not relegate what can seem to be a schoolyard nuisance to secondary consideration when there are acts of violence that result in clear injury and matters such as accidents, disease, and intentional harm that impose more morbidity per event? It might be, as I have heard argued at international conferences, that this is a problem for the wealthy nations not those struggling with more basic needs. It might be, as I have heard argued at criminology meetings, that scientific, health, and criminal justice resources should be concentrated on serious violence and youth with serious risk for antisocial behavior.

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