Walking away from the screen doesn’t work – Cyberbullying statistics 2020

Cyber bullying - Featured image

Harassment is harassment – whether it happens at school, at the playground, on the job, or on the internet.

But online bullying is downplayed. Victims are stigmatized, mocked as oversensitive snowflakes who can’t take a joke. Plenty of people are unwilling to accept that victims can be seriously hurt by this behavior.

Internet harassment is not only real and damaging, it represents a threat to the most vulnerable among us: children. Cyberbullying statistics show the high cost of online harassment. From increased depression and suicide rates to social anxiety and alienation, the pain and consequences of online harassment are as severe as they are undeniable.

Key cyberbullying statistics

  • 90% of teens in the US believe cyber harassment is a problem.
  • 15% of young cyberbullying victims would prefer to keep the issue a secret.
  • 80% of teens say that others cyberbully because they think it is funny.
  • 37% of bullying victims develop social anxiety.
  • More than 59% of US teenagers have experienced bullying or harassment online.

Statistics on internet use among children

1. 95% of US teens are internet users.

(Cyberbullying Research Center)

Statistics on cyberbullying reveal almost complete online interactivity among young people, especially teenagers. Almost all of them – 95% – are now online, and most use the internet on a daily basis for school, video games, social media, and video streaming.

The always-connected generation is vulnerable to more victimization and bullying than their parents ever were. There are more opportunities to harass someone in cyberspace, and the anonymity of the internet makes it easier to get away with bullying.


2. 45% of teens say they are constantly online.

(Pew Research Center)

One of the more obvious internet facts is that smartphones have made it possible to remain online around the clock, even when you’re nowhere near your PC or laptop. This has massively increased the time that people, especially teens, spend on the internet. In 2014, 24% of teenagers reported that they were constantly online. By 2018, the number hard grown to 45%.

This teen statistic study also reveals that teenage girls are more likely to be near-constant users than teenage boys (50% to 39%).


3. Only 25% of teens spend in-person time with friends outside of high school.

(Pew Research Center)

The internet is changing the behavior of children across the US, with teens spending more time online than socializing with their friends. Just a quarter of the teens responding to a recent Pew survey said they spend offline time with their friends each day. This shows just how important the online world is and how damaging social media bullying can be to young people.


4. 15% of teens engage in sexting.

(JAMA Pediatrics)

Sexting, or the exchange of sexual messages and explicit images, is growing in popularity as the younger generations spend more and more time on their smartphones. The data on sexting among teens shows that 15% of adolescents under the age of 18 send sexts, and 27% receive them. This trend of sharing your naked photos and explicit messages also boosts cyberbullying stats, and it is expected to lead to more online harassment as it becomes more prevalent.


5. 35% of girls aged 15 to 17 say they have received unwanted explicit images.

(Pew Research Center)

The data regarding US adolescent cyberbullying cases tells us that young girls are more likely to receive unwanted explicit images than boys. Out of all teen respondents, 29% of girls and 20% of boys said that they were a target of these types of messages. The research also shows that the numbers rise as teen girls get older, with 35% of girls in the 15-17 age range receiving unwanted explicit images, compared to 20% of boys in the same age range.


6. 88% of teens say they share too much personal information online.

(Pew Research Center)

Social media has led an overwhelming majority of young people to share too much of their personal information and life on the internet. This creates more problems, as bullying statistics from 2015 show that 42% of teens said that someone else had posted information about them on social media, further exposing details of their daily lives to others. About a fifth of them said they felt worse about their own lives after seeing what their friends post on their profiles.


US cyber bullying statistics

7. More than 59% of US teenagers have experienced bullying or harassment online.

(Pew Research Center)

Data from 2018 indicates that a majority of teenagers in the US is facing at least one out of six types of bullying. The most common type of harassment that they experienced on the internet was name-calling, with 42% of teens saying they’ve been called offensive names.

Around 32% said that someone had spread false rumors about them online, while 25% said they had received unwanted explicit images. The fifth most common harassment type stated in cyberbullying statistics from 2018 was constantly being asked about their whereabouts and what they are doing or with who, with 21% of teens saying that. And 16% of the teens surveyed said that they received physical threats on the internet.


8. 38% of US internet users saw trolling on social media on a daily basis.

(Statista)

Social media platforms remain the prime target for trolls. In fact, 55% of American adults say they observe trolling on these sites at least a few times each week. The prevalence of trolling on social media is so high that only 9% of all respondents said that they never witnessed it there. Comparatively, social media facts tell us that the second most common place for trolling is video streaming platforms like YouTube – 39% of users say they see troll comments there at least a few times a week.


9. 90% of teens in the US believe that online harassment is a problem.

(Pew Research Center)

Research on online teen harassment finds that young people have a positive opinion about the way parents deal with cyber-bullying. Some 63% of teens say that online harassment is a serious problem. Teens are frustrated with elected officials and other authorities. Only 20% say those officials do a good or excellent job of policing the internet.

The statistics on bullying from this survey rate social media sites as second-worst on the list, with 66% of teens saying that these platforms do a poor or only fair job of addressing harassment. Bystanders and teachers follow at 64% and 58%. Finally, young people had a largely negative view of how law enforcement treats the issue, with 55% saying that officials do a poor job of addressing online harassment.


10. 6% of American high-schoolers admit to having bullied someone online in the past 30 days.

(Cyberbullying Research Center)

Bullying statistics from 2018 show a positive trend among students in American high schools over the past decade, as they record a considerable drop in cyberbullying. For instance, while previously 16% of high-schoolers admitted to cyberbullying others during their lifetime, the most recent study showed that this number drop to 11.5%. Still, with 6% of them confirming that had bullied others online during the past month, the problem remains real.


11. 19% of adolescents were involved in online aggression in the past year.

(International Perspectives on Cyberbullying)

Bullying stats from a survey of adolescents in the 10-17 age range show that about a fifth were somehow involved with internet bullying in the past year. About 12% said that they were the perpetrators of online aggression, while about 4% said they were the target of harassment on the internet. Finally, 3% of respondents said that they were both a victim and a perpetrator.


12. 80% of teens say that others cyberbully because they think it is “funny.”

(National Crime Prevention Council)

One of the more disturbing cyberbullying facts has to do with the perception that online harassment is nothing more than a joke. This idea is so prevalent that four out of five teens believe that cyberbullies are doing what they do because it is funny. Surveyed teens seem not to be aware of the negative effects this behavior can have on victims. Many teens believe that others engage in cyberbullying because they think everyone else does it, or because they are encouraged by friends to participate.


13. 15% of young prospective cyberbullying victims in the US say they would keep the issue a secret.

(ReportLinker)

Cyberbullying statistics from 2017 show that while 75% of respondents said they would know how to respond and protect themselves, some 15% of young people would keep being a victim of cyberbullying a secret. Respondents also indicated that they would more likely tell their friends (27%) and parents (38%) rather than informing a teacher or the police about the issue. When asked about what they would do if they were victims of a cyberbullying threat, 72% said they would speak to their parents.


14. Only 4.6% of adolescent victims experience cyberbullying alone, and most of them are bullied in at least one other way.

(Journal of Adolescent Health)

Cyberbullying statistics from 2014 show that more than half of adolescent cyberbullying victims were bullied in all four ways – online, relational, physical, and verbal – within a period of 30 days. This means that some 50.3% of young people surveyed were victims of cyber, relational, physical and verbal bullying. Those who were only cyberbullied amounted to just 4.6%.


15. More than 21% of American girls in middle and high school reported being cyberbullied online or through text messages in 2016.

(US Department of Education)

Bullying statistics from 2017 show online harassment of girls aged 12 to 18 reached 16% during 2014-2015. Female middle and high school students experience much more cyberbullying than boys of the same age, with fewer than 7% of boys reporting harassment.


16. Over 85% of LGBTQ students in the US experience verbal harassment in school.

(Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)

Cyberbullying statistics from 2016 show just how hard a time LGBTQ students have at school, with a huge majority of them experiencing at least some kind of verbal harassment. The survey found that 66% of respondents faced LGBTQ-related discrimination at school, which led to almost a third of them missing at least one day of school in the last month. LGBTQ students reported feeling so unsafe and uncomfortable that 39% of them avoided going to bathrooms and 38% of them stayed out of locker rooms.


17. 56% of LGBTQ students report hearing homophobic remarks from school staff.

(National Crime Prevention Council)

Another major issue: High school staff members often fail to intervene upon hearing homophobic remarks. The statistics of bullying of LGBTQ students also point to the fact that most hear homophobic remarks from staff members, while 64% say they heard negative staff remarks about gender expression.


18. The most common type of cyberbullying message sent to an adolescent victim is about dating partners.

(Journal of Adolescent Health)

Cyberbullying on the internet usually takes the form of a message that was meant to insult, threaten, or harass the recipient. Among the teen population in the US, the largest portion of cyberbullying victims, or 36.1% of them, said these unwanted bullying messages had to do with their dating partners. These same statistics of cyber bullying say that messages about friends (31%) and sexual behavior (31%) were also common. Fourth and fifth place go to messages about weight (26.4%) and physical appearance (21.9%).


19. Instagram is the social media platform with the highest rate of cyberbullying.

(Ditch the Label)

Cyber bullying statistics from 2017 show that Instagram leads online platforms in bullying, with 78% of young people using it and 42% of them experiencing cyberbullying there. Second place belongs to Facebook, with 60% of young people on the platform and 38% of them experiencing online harassment. Snapchat comes in third, with 76% of young people using it and 31% of those experiencing bullying. For comparison’s sake: YouTube has a 92% usage rate and 10% social bullying rate.


20. 71% of teens say that blocking someone is the best method of preventing bullying.

(National Crime Prevention Council)

Statistics about bullying like this one show us that the ability to block a bully from contacting you still remains the most effective way to prevent further harassment. Other methods that teens cite are simply refusing to pass along cyberbully messages (62%) and urging friends to stop cyberbullying (56%). Another interesting anti cyber bullying statistic from the same survey: 56% of teens say that online groups and internet service providers should have moderators who are able to block bullies’ messages.


21. 64% of students who were victims of cyberbullying said that it affected their ability to learn and feel safe at school.

(Cyberbullying Research Center)

Cyberbullying and harassment have a clear negative impact on most students, with almost two-thirds of them saying that their grades can suffer due to being victims of such behavior. Cyber bullying statistics from 2016 show that being targeted by bullies online makes it much harder for students to continue feeling safe at school, because most of the victims know bullies personally and have to face the perpetrators in class.


22. About 60% of parents worry about their kids getting bullied online.

(Pew Research Center)

Cyber bullying articles document the fact that parents are aware of online harassment and are worried about their teens getting bullied. Roughly six out of every 10 parents say that they are afraid of their kids being victims of cyberbullying, while 57% have fear that their teens might receive explicit images. Still, 90% of parents say they believe they can provide appropriate advice to their children about making good online decisions, with 45% of them very confident in their ability to do just that.

Statistics on cyber bullying also demonstrate that parents’ concerns vary by gender, race, and ethnicity. White respondents are more likely to say they are worried about cyberbullying, and Hispanic parents are more afraid of their child exchanging explicit photos. Parents of teenage girls across all races and ethnicities worry more than parents of teenage boys (64% compared to 54% regarding online bullying, and 64% versus 51% on the issue of exchanging explicit pictures).


23. In Louisiana, 21.2% of students in grades 9 through 12 have been victims of cyberbullying – the highest percentage in the United States.

(Statista)

A nationwide survey of high school students reveals that the average rate of online harassment in the US is 14.9%. Louisiana leads this list of unflattering cyber bullying facts and stats, followed by Idaho (20.3%), Alaska (19.8%), and Arkansas (19.7%).


24. About 25% of stalking victims report some sort of cyberstalking.

(US Bureau of Justice Statistics)

The Bureau of Justice Statistics tells us that 14 out of every 1,000 persons aged 18 or older were victims during the past year, with 46% of the victims experiencing at least one unwanted weekly contact. The same number were afraid of not knowing what would happen next, and a large majority knew the stalker. Facts about cyberbullying indicate that stalking often transfers to the digital realm, with a quarter of victims reporting some form of cyberstalking, mostly via email (83%) and instant messaging (35%).


25. Gamers are much more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.

(Cyberbullying Research Center)

Statistics from the Cyberbullying Research Center illustrate a connection between certain types of competitive multiplayer action games and bullying behavior. Playing in highly tense team games leads to a lot of “flaming” and verbal abuse, and the numbers correlate to the number of hours spent playing each day.

Bullying from students who identify themselves as gamers is more likely to happen at school, with statistics on cyberbullying from 2018 showing that 21% of gamers and 11% of non-gamers have bullied others in the past 30 days. Gamers are much more likely than non-gamers to be victims of bullying, both at school (40.7% compared to 27.2%) and online (25.9% compared to 15.7%).


Global cyberbullying statistics

26. More than 75% of people around the world are aware of cyberbullying.

(Statista)

Global awareness of cyberbullying is rising, but there are still plenty of adults around the world who have never even heard of it. Countries that lead the statistics are Sweden and Italy, both with a high 91% level of cyberbullying awareness, followed by Chile with 89% and South Africa with 88%. The United States has a high 85% level of awareness, but statistics about cyberbullying show the number is rising only slowly. Still, the numbers are much better than for the countries at the bottom of the list like Saudi Arabia, which holds the last place with 37% awareness, and France with just 50%.


27. About 65% of parents globally are aware that social media is used as a platform for cyberbullying children.

(Statista)

A global report on social media bullying statistics reveals that two-thirds of parents around the world understand that these online platforms are used for harassment. Mobile phones were the next most cited answer at 45%, and online messaging platforms came in third with 38%. Online chat rooms and email closed out the top five internet platforms, cited by 34% and 19%.


28. 46% of Asian parents speak to their children about internet bullying and behavior on a regular basis.

(Telenor)

Asian statistics on cyberbullying from 2017  show that parents across the region are much more aware and active in speaking to children about online behavior and safety. Almost half of the respondents said that they talk to their kids about these topics all the time while 39% said that they discussed them sometimes. Only 12% of surveyed Asian parents said that they had never spoken to their children about these topics.


29. More than 21% of female victims aged 19-25 report distinct emotional disturbances due to cyberbullying.

(Heliyon)

Cyber bullying statistics from a 2016 study regarding young women showed that the majority, or 56.8% of respondents, had already experienced some form of cyber harassment. About 21% experienced distinct emotional disturbances, while 31% felt anger. Some 20.8% of victims said that they felt helpless, while 20.5% reported feelings of sorrow.


30. More than half the children observe cyberbullying online, and yet 95% of them ignore this behavior.

(Yellowbrick)

Statistics and facts about bullying show that while 55% of children witness some form of cyberbullying on the internet, almost all of them choose to ignore it and fewer than half tell their parents about it. The same study shows that girls are more likely to engage in or experience this type of harassment, and that only 1% of all bullies were not victims of bullying themselves before engaging in such behavior.


Statistics on negative effects of cyberbullying

31. Children who are bullied online are nine times more likely to be victims of identity fraud.

(Javelin Strategy & Research)

Statistics of cyberbullying from 2017 like this one tell us that more than a million children are victims of identity fraud, with most cases having to do with the hacking of social media accounts. For instance, bullies use “fraping,” logging into the victim’s Facebook account to perform an impersonation. Researchers discovered that the costs of children identity fraud amounted to $2.6 billion in 2017, costing parents alone $540 million.


32. 37% of bullying victims develop social anxiety.

(Ditch the Label)

The effects of cyberbullying statistics point to social anxiety as one of the most damaging issues that arise from being a victim of harassment. The negative impact that bullying has on the self-esteem of the victim frequently escalates into depression and fear of social situations, further exacerbating the problem. By being afraid of speaking up or opening up to meet new people and friends, more than a third of young people are facing difficulty or crippling inability to connect to others in a social situation.


33. Cyberbullying increases suicide attempts by 8.7%.

(Journal of Health Economics)

Cyberbullying suicide statistics from 2017 demonstrate that internet bullying impacts increases suicidial thinking among victims by 14.5%. Suicide attempts increase by 8.7%. The same report shows how significant small changes can be: A 1% drop in online harrasment can decrease suicide deaths by 11 per 100,000 population.


34. Suicide rates among teens age 15-19 rose by 47% between year 2000 and 2017.

(Public Broadcasting Service)

Suicide rates for young adults are at their highest level in nearly 20 years. High school students have been hit particularly hard by the growing epidemic. Cyber bullying suicide stats indicate that there were 11.8 deaths per 100,000 teens in the 15-19 age group, which is up from 8 deaths per 100,000 in 2000.


35. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people aged 15-29.

(World Health Organization)

While suicide ranks tenth on the list of common causes of death in adults, the numbers for younger people have been skyrocketing, raising urgent concerns about a possible link beterween online bullying and suicide. WHO’s 2016 study found that not only is the suicide the second most common cause of death among 15-29 year olds, but in one of more critical stats, that it accounts to 8% of all deaths in that age group.

Frequently asked questions

What is cyberbullying?

By definition, a cyberbully is someone who uses technology to harass, threaten, stalk  or embarrass another person. Because the most prevalent medium for cyberbullying is the internet, the other common term for it has become “online bullying.” There are many different ways that people attack others, but bullying facts tell us that most of it happens on social media platforms via threats, aggressive messages, and hurtful comments.

Cyberbullying effects can be incredibly damaging and the behavior is likely to continue because it can be hard to track anonymous bullies on the internet. Statistics for cyberbullying reveal that victims of bullying often become bullies themselves, taking out their frustration on others and creating a vicious circle of harassment and anger.

What are cyberbullying laws?

Even though there are no federal laws regarding cyberbullying, 48 states have recognized that it threatens the well-being of adolescents so much that they added it explicitly to their harassment laws. Out of those states, 44 include criminal sanctions in their cyberbullying laws.

Cyberbullying can, in some cases, overlap with discriminatory harassment. That means that a federal law might be applied to the case, making cyber bullying charges much more severe. Schools across the country are obligated by these laws to address student conduct that is severe, pervasive, or persistent and creates a hostile environment. One of the more important cyberbullying facts is that bullying based on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability or religion also allows for federal laws to apply.

How can I help prevent cyberbullying?

There are many ways parents and children can work together to prevent cyberbullying. For starters, parents should do their best to explain how technology works and what the risks are. Children should know that the information they share stays online permanently. They should therefore be extremely careful about who they share their private details, photos, and videos with.

Facts and statistics about cyberbullying tell us that children should be taught that almost any platform on the internet allows users to report, block, or delete messages from any other person on the same platform. Explanations of privacy settings, phishing, and other technological details can go a long way in cyberbullying prevention. Because bullying  often happens within groups of teens and students, it is extremely important to make children aware of their responsibilities and empower them to refrain from school bullying, and take action against bullies.

How do I know if my child is being cyberbullied?

In many cases, children will choose not to speak to their parents about cyberbullying, but there are certain signs and changes in their emotional state and behavior that you should watch for. If your child starts withdrawing from friends at school and feels uneasy going to classes, or if you notice sudden changes in their emotional state, it is probably a good time to ask them some questions about what is bothering them.

The most recent cyberbullying and bullying statistics indicate that your child’s behavior on a computer or smartphone can point to a problem, especially if you observe that they suddenly stop using these devices when they enjoyed it before. If your child gets nervous or jumpy when he receives an instant message or text, or becomes obsessed about checking social apps, it may be that others are saying bad things about them online. Other major signs: declining grades, unexpected weight loss or gain, depression, anger, decreased self-esteem, and difficulties with sleeping.

What should I do if my child is a victim of cyberbullying?

If you determine that your child is indeed being targeted by a cyber bully, it is important to show support, take the issue seriously, and take steps to address it. For starters, cyberbullying case studies suggest that you should talk openly about what is happening, how it started, and if your child knows who the bullies are.

The next step involves keeping a record of what is happening so you have proof of bullying when you report the bully’s behavior to the social media platform or the school. Documentation is helpful if the problem gets serious enough to warrant police involvement.

If your child is deeply affected by cyberbullying, you should also consider setting up appointments with therapists who can use their expertise to help him work through the effects. Cyberbullying statistics show that working to strengthen healthy friendships is incredibly important in helping them reduce the sense of isolation that frequently damages those targeted by such behavior.

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