In the past, only the most fearless of school bullies would pursue their victims beyond the school gates. Today, though, children and young people are able to reach one another at a moment’s notice, wherever they are, via social media platforms and online forums.
That means that victims of online bullying can be pursued relentlessly, being teased and taunted across their digital social world. What’s more, the web allows perpetrators to remain anonymous, broadening the scope and potential severity of abuse. Cyberbullying can affect people of all ages, though, and it might also describe sustained abusive online behavior among colleagues or members of a community.
This article will explore cyberbullying, its causes, steps that can be taken to address it, and the harm it can do to victims. We hope to provide you with the information and statistics you need to equip yourself digitally. Let’s dive in and learn about cybersecurity and how to stay safe online.
What is the Current State of Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying affects many young people every year. Here are some statistics that shed light on this issue:
- Pew Research found that 59% of young Americans experienced bullying in their teenage years.
- A DoSomething study suggested that 43% of kids are bullied online. Additionally, 1 in 4 kids are bullied more than once.
- Over 80% of young Americans use cellphones to explore the web, exposing them to potential bullying.
- Norton’s survey suggests that 55% of men and 65% of women experienced online abuse.
What is a Problem Statement on Bullying?
Cyberbullying has become a significant problem of the digital age, with bullies using computers and cell phones to intimidate, threaten, and harass their victims. This can have a significant mental health impact, making victims feel isolated and alone – as well as being persecuted by their peers.
Global Cyberbullying Statistics
Although it can affect people of all ages, cyberbullying varies in frequency according to the age of those targeted:
Cyberbullying Rates by Age
Children and Adolescents
- 15% of high school students in the United States reported experiencing cyberbullying the previous year.
- 34% of middle school pupils experienced cyberbullying at least once.
- 70% of young adults aged 18 to 24 reported having experienced some form of cyberbullying.
- Instagram and Snapchat are the social media platforms where cyberbullying typically occurs.
- According to YouGov, 1 in 5 American adults experienced bullying.
- 40% of American employees experienced some form of bullying in the workplace.
Cyberbullying Rates by Gender
- 32% of girls experienced harsh name-calling in high school, while 31% of boys experienced the same.
- Girls aged 15 to 17 reported having experienced at least one form of cyberbullying.
- 32% of girls experienced online harassment twice.
Cyberbullying Rates by Country
Cyberbullying is a phenomenon that has been seen around the world:
- The top 3 countries where cyberbullying is prevalent are India, Brazil, and the United States.
- India’s children were among the world’s top cyberbullying victims in 2018.
- More than 37% of Indian parents said that their children were victims of cyberbullying.
- Sweden and Italy are the two countries leading digital awareness of cyberbullying.
- In 30 countries, 1 out of 3 young people are said to be cyberbullying victims.
Cyberbullying Statistics In The United States
The United States is an increasingly digital society today, and with broad adoption of social media platforms, many Americans have experienced cyberbullying or online harassment or abuse. Here are the statistics:
Cyberbullying Rates by Age
- Young people are particularly affected by cyberbullying.
- Cyberbullying tends to peak at the age of 13 to 15 years old and decreases in prevalence from this point.
- 13-year-olds account for the highest percentage of young people who have been cyberbullied.
- In the US, 37% of teens between 12 to 17 are bullied online.
- Social media and gaming platforms are the online mediums where cyberbullying is most often experienced.
- The average age of an American woman who experiences online harassment is between 25 to 29.
Cyberbullying Rates by Gender
- In most US states, 15% of girls suffer cyberbullying, while 8% of boys report the same.
- About half of LGBTQ students suffer from online harassment.
Cyberbullying Rates by Race and Ethnicity
The United States is a diverse country. According to the research, African and Hispanic kids experienced more cases of cyberbullying than their white peers.
When surveyed, 34% of African Americans and 32% of Hispanic students reported experiencing cyberbullying. Only 19% of white Americans said they experienced it during their studies.
Impact of Cyberbullying
Short-Term Impact of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can cause negative emotions, such as anxiety, stress, depression, and anger, making the victim feel lonely and humiliated. This can affect an individual’s routine, making them unable to go about their normal tasks.
Those who experience cyberbullying have a 39% chance of dropping out of school, and 37% engage in delinquent behavior.
Cyberbullying can also adversely impact victims’ academic results. Research has shown that 26.3% of students who experienced cyberbullying saw a significant impact on their results, while 19.7% stopped internet use, and 21.1% considered self-harm.
Cyberbullying can also connect to the real world and face-to-face confrontations. In recent research, 25% of teens on social media said they experienced being bullied physically by teens they interacted with online.
Long-Term Impact of Cyberbullying
As well as being upsetting in the short-term, cyberbullying can have a major psychological impact over the long term. Increased anxiety, depression, and stress are three factors that can wreak havoc on people’s lives over the longer term.
Social anxiety impacts about 41% of children due to cyberbullying, according to Webpurify. Half of the respondents expressed anger, and about 15% said they felt scared about their situation — 37% of kids associate depression with cyberbullying.
According to recent statistics, over three-quarters of students from minority groups reported cases of cyberbullying once.
Other research shows that about 33% of young people worldwide experienced cyberbullying from multiple social media platforms.
Cyberbullying can have serious legal consequences, with some forms of cyberbullying being counted as criminal offenses. Victims may also be able to pursue civil actions against their bullies and claim damages.
Preventative Measures for Cyberbullying
There are ways to address cyberbullying and to both protect victims and discourage perpetrators.
Be Mindful of Your Online Behavior
An important first step is to avoid engaging in behavior that could be considered cyberbullying. That might include making hurtful comments, spreading rumors, or sharing embarrassing photos or videos of others. Take the first step and set high standards for your online community.
Think Before You Post
Before posting anything, think about how it could potentially impact others. Would it make them feel attacked or ridiculed? If you’re not sure if something is appropriate, then err on the side of caution and hold it back. Being mindful of others can have a huge impact on how you navigate the online world.
Use Privacy Settings
Social media platforms have their own built-in settings you can adjust depending on your preferences. Facebook, for example, allows you to manage which individuals and groups are able to see your posts. You can also create custom posts that are visible to a specific subset of your connections. This means you can screen out anyone you don’t want to see your posts. And be cautious about accepting friend requests from people you don’t know in real life – it might be a fake account or someone hoping to steal your details. Parental control apps in Australia and beyond can also be useful for parents to monitor what their children are seeing online.
Being a victim of cyberbullying is not an easy experience. Victims need your understanding of what they’re experiencing. You can also offer your advice to them to address their situation.
If you know someone who is a victim of cyberbullying, offer them your support and let them know they’re not alone. Encourage them to seek help and report the incident. Besides deploying the best parental control apps, you can also find other helpful resources as an adult about how to recognize and address the issue.
If you witness cyberbullying or fall victim to it, report it to the authorities or to the administrators of the platform. Many social media companies have reporting tools for cyberbullying attacks. And while some of those engaging in cyberbullying are anonymous, you can still take steps to report them.
You can also visit websites like StopBullying.com for information on how to help.
Educate Yourself and Others
Awareness is a crucial factor for people to understand the issue of cyberbullying. One way to achieve a better understanding is to educate yourself and others about the issue. Alongside a familiarity with cybersecurity for children, it’s important for young people to recognize and tackle cyberbullying behavior.
Overall, the data shows that cyberbullying affects young people more than adults, with young teens the most impacted by the phenomenon. It is a widespread problem that can affect individuals in every aspect of their lives, as well as impacting their families and communities.
Given this, it’s important for parents, teachers, and young people to be conscious of the issue and to keep abreast of changes as the online landscape evolves.
11 Facts About Cyberbullying (Do Something)
40+ Frightening Social Media and Mental Health Statistics (Etactics)
Cyberbullying facts and statistics your business needs to know (WebPurify)
Cyberbullying Statistics 2021 (Cyberbullying Research Center)
Cybersecurity for Children: More Important Than Ever (TechReport)
Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (Institute of Education Sciences)
Most Americans were bullied at school (YouGov)
New SDG 4 Data on Bullying (Unesco Institute for Statistics)
Online harassment of women at risk of becoming ‘established norm’, study finds (The Guardian)
Prevalence and related risks of cyberbullying and its effects on adolescents (BMC Psychiatry)
Racial differences in cyberbullying from the perspective of victims and perpetrators (National Library of Medicine)
Teens and Cyberbullying 2022 (Pew Research)
The Impact of Cyberbullying on Mental Health (News-Medical)
UNICEF poll: More than a third of young people in 30 countries report being a victim of online bullying (Unicef)