176285 Policies to address the emerging public health problem of electronic aggression

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Corinne David-Ferdon, PhD , Division of Violence Prevention, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Marci Feldman Hertz, MS , Division of Adolescent and School Health, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Background: Electronic aggression (e.g., threatening email) is an emerging public health problem. The only longitudinal study suggests a 50% increase in adolescent victims between 2000 and 2005. Legislators and school officials are responding by passing, modifying, or enforcing laws and policies despite the absence of data.

Methods: CDC convened an expert panel in September 2006 and published a supplement to the Journal of Adolescent Health in December 2007 to provide the first comprehensive report of prevalence, etiological, and intervention research on electronic aggression. This information is applied to a 2008 CDC review of Lexus Nexus and the National Association of State Boards of Education Policy Database that identifies laws and policies enacted to address aggression.

Results: Thirty states have passed legislation or recommendations to address electronic aggression. However, few policies address all forms of technology that are used by adolescents to perpetrate aggression and few address issues of enforcement or the constant evolution of technology, thereby limiting their likely effectiveness.

Conclusions: New forms of technology, such as cell phones and the internet, are removing borders, which is an asset to increasing adolescents' knowledge and social connectivity. However, this continual evolution of technology is contributing to the emergence of electronic aggression as a new public health threat. As research and policy work in this area moves forward, it must be rapid and flexible enough to keep up with the evolving nature of technology, or it will be limited to knowledge, intervention strategies, and policies that are restricted in their application potential.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define electronic aggression. 2. Articulate the types of policies related to electronic aggression that have been enacted at the state and local levels. 3. Assess why certain types of policies and practices are more likely to be effective in preventing electronic aggression than others. 4. Identify strategies for public health professionals to support adolescents and their families who may be experiencing electronic aggression. 5. Discuss the role of the public health worker in collaborating with families, youth serving organizations, and policymakers to develop effective policies and practices to prevent electronic aggression related injuries.

Keywords: Technology, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the CDC co-lead on all activities described in the abstract and will be reported on.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.