Bullying: Against a new darkness

March 1, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg was 12 years old when Contemporary Pediatrics devoted its cover story to the topic of childhood bullying and included this disconcertingly prescient screening algorithm.

Mark Zuckerberg was 12 years old when Contemporary Pediatrics devoted its cover story to the topic of childhood bullying and included this disconcertingly prescient screening algorithm.

Eight years after this article ran in our pages, Zuckerberg's brainchild, Facebook, was to become one of social media's most notorious digital schoolyards in which the bullying was virtual but the often-resulting child and teen suicides were all too real.

Over the past 30 years, Contemporary Pediatrics has spotlighted many such cultural trends impacting the health of youngsters in its mission to better equip pediatricians for their effective care. In this issue, in service to the annual National Youth Violence Prevention Week, we report on teens who self-harm and the domestic epidemic of the sex trafficking of children. As is so often the case, alert pediatricians may be literal lifelines to these young lives. As Dr. Kanani Titchen writes in her Guest Editorial, "their physician may be the only adult concerned enough to intervene."

In the 3 intervening decades since our founding, the bully is no longer just on the playground, but while the risks may be darker, your vigilance can still become a beacon for the most vulnerable.