Cyberbullying Statistics, Facts, and Trends (2020)

cyberbullying header image

Whether we like it or not, bullying has been around since the beginning of civilization. It hasn’t truly changed its form over those years, it’s always the stronger ones who prey upon the weak, but it has evolved with the rise of technology.

A new form of bullying, namely cyberbullying, has become a growing problem in countries around the world. In its essence, cyberbullying doesn’t differ much from the type of bullying that many children have unfortunately grown accustomed to in school. The only difference is that it takes place online.

The following are a number of concerning cyberbullying statistics that show the scope of this rising problem and the dire need for an effective solution.

The Most Interesting Facts
  • The most common type of an online harassment: mean comments 22.5%
  • 35% had sent a screenshot of someone’s status or photo to laugh at them
  • 61% of teens who report being bullied say it was because of their appearance
  • 56% of online harassment victims reported that they had been harassed on Facebook
  • 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before they hit the age of 18

What counts as cyberbullying?

cyberbullying

If you’ve ever seen the TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s segment “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets,” you might have an idea of what it means to cyberbully someone. Although this segment is humorous, the reality of the situation is very different.

Cyberbullying is any type of harassing, threatening, demeaning, or embarrassing another person online. Typically, this is done through mean comments, online rumors, and even sexual remarks. They’re usually connected with appearances, intelligence, race, sexuality, etc.

Essentially, anything that is posted online that’s intended to hurt or upset someone else, regardless of what the topic is, is considered to be cyberbullying.

1. The most common type of online harassment are comments (22.5%), according to US students.
(Source: Cyberbullying.org)

Apart from posting mean comments online, spreading rumors, and posting sexual remarks, cyberbullies among US students commonly use aggressive and pejorative words, threats, profile hacking, and photo-sharing without consent.

most common type of online harassment

2. 64% of victims who receive an aggressive instant message say they know the perpetrator from in-person situations.
(Source: Verywellfamily.com)

Even when they personally know their victims, the perpetrators often resort to annoying, upsetting, and embarrassing them online, mostly by mocking their photos or status updates in group chats.

online victims

3. Nearly 1 in 6 (15%) of online teens said they had experienced unwanted forwarding of private communication.
(Source: Pewresearch.org)

18% of teens aged 15-17 and 11% of younger teens have experienced their bullies sending their private messages to others or sharing them on public channels.

4. Teens who report being bullied say it was because of their appearance.
(Source: Nveee.org)

Someone’s appearance seems to be the most common reason for cyberbullying, followed by intelligence. Racism and sexual discrimination are still very much present, as well as mocking someone because of their financial difficulties and religion.

reasons for bullying

5. Bullies often expose disabilities and mental problems like.
(Source: Ditchthelabel.org)

It’s easier to bully someone weaker, right? Someone who can’t fight back. That’s why bullies often harass someone who is dealing with a mental problem or has a disability.

6. Girls are more likely to report someone spreading rumors about them.
(Source: Pewresearch.org)

Cyberbullies who are spreading online rumors mostly target girls (16%), particularly older teens aged 15-17. Rumor-spreading is not as popular with boys, as only 9% of them experience it.

7. 53% of US adults who use the internet have personally experienced online harassment.
(Source: Statista.com)

More than half of US adults (53%) who use the internet have dealt with cyberbullying, with 37% reporting severe online harassment, including physical threats, sexual harassment, stalking, and sustained harassment.

US adult internet users suffer online harassment

8. 56% of online harassment victims reported that they had been harassed on Facebook.
(Source: Statista.com)

This definitely doesn’t come as a surprise, given that Facebook is the dominant social media platform, counting nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users, 1.8 billion of whom are US users.

Who is prone to cyberbullying?

prone to cyberbully

While cyberbullying is mostly associated with school children, they aren’t the only targets, and many adults experience cyberbullying themselves.

The most common target for cyberbullies are children, young adults (especially girls), students, and members of the LGBTQ community.

As far as the bullies themselves are concerned, they come from all walks of life. Studies show that children with less involved parents and those suffering from depression or anxiety tend to display bullying behavior, but nothing’s conclusive as of yet.

9. Recent statistics show steady growth in cyberbullying trends.
(Source: Statista.com)

Between 2007 and 2016, the number of teens experiencing cyberbullying had remained almost the same (32%+-). In cyberbullying statistics 2019, nearly 43% of teens (mostly girls and those with non-traditional sexual orientation) had experienced some form of online harassment.

10. 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before they hit the age of 18. (Source: Ditchthelabel.org)

That’s 45% of young and older teens (especially girls and members of the LGBTQ community) who have been victims of cyberbullies. It’s an alarming percentage that seems to be only going higher.

seven out of 10

11. About 37% of children between 12 and 17 years experienced cyberbullying at least once.
(Source: Comparitech.com)

Although a great number of young people (60%) had witnessed their peers aged 12-17 (37%) being bullied, they didn’t bother to try and stop the bullying. Most people don’t want to intervene so as not to become the victims themselves.

12. Girls are more likely than boys to be both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.
(Source: Dosomething.org)

Only 6% of boys reported being bullied online, compared to 15% of girls, particularly older girls aged 12-17. 41% of older girls reported experiencing some form of online harassment.

13. 70% of school students, from a poll of 20,000, said that someone spread rumors about them online.
(Source: Florida Atlantic University)

This was revealed by the Florida Atlantic University, in a study of surveys conducted over the past decade. The study also found that 73% of middle and high-school students had experienced bullying on school grounds.

14. More than one in 10 students (12%) admitted to cyberbullying someone else at least once.
(Source: Florida Atlantic University)

The same Florida Atlantic University study found that 12% of respondents confessed that they had bullied someone online at some point in their life. The perpetrators were most commonly boys.

15. Over 12% of LGBT youth have experienced cyberbullying.
(Source: Netsanity.net)

LGBT cyberbullying statistics show that LGBT teens are more likely to be bullied than heterosexual teens. More than 12% of LGBT teens reported being cyberbullied, with 58% dealing with hate speech and 35% receiving online threats.

lgbt cyberbully

Where are people cyberbullied?

Cyberbullying places

There isn’t a single platform where all the cyberbullying takes place, and no online space is completely free of cyberbullying. Since most children and young adults access the internet via their mobile devices, this is the most common medium through which they experience this type of harassment.

Cyberbullying statistics show that Instagram is the most common platform for cyberbullying, closely followed by Facebook and Snapchat. Many people experience cyberbullying while playing online multiplayer games as well, and while YouTube is among the platforms with the highest number of users, only a tenth of users have so far reported experiencing cyberbullying there.

16. 95% of teens in the U.S. are online, and the vast majority access the internet on their mobile device, making it the most common medium for cyberbullying.
(Source: Dosomething.org)

With the growing use of mobile devices, the problem of cyberbullying in the US has increased. Teens have internet access pretty much everywhere, which makes it very easy for them to bully people online.

17. More youths experienced cyberbullying on Instagram than any other platform. (Source: Enough.org)

A recent survey shows that Facebook (42%) and Snapchat (37%) don’t lag far behind Instagram (42%), while there are fewer cases of cyberbullying on WhatsApp (12%), YouTube (10%), and Twitter (9%).

social media cyberbullying

18. Internet trolls are most active on social media.
(Source: Techjury.net)

According to Statista research, 38% of online trolls target people on social media, while 23% prefer trolling people on YouTube and other video-sharing platforms. They also often operate on forums, chat rooms, and blogs.

19. Respondents with children who play online games reported a higher rate of cyberbullying attacks than those whose kids engage in only standard browsing activities.
(Source: Telenor.com)

79% of respondents reported their child receiving physical threats while playing games online, while 41% reported their child receiving sexist or racist remarks or experiencing name-calling through mean online comments.

20. What types of games do online bullies fancy most?
(Source: Techjury.net)

According to a Cyberbullying Research Center survey, gamers who prefer MMORPGs (26.8%) are more likely to engage in cyberbullying, followed by those who prefer third-person shooter (24.5%), first-person shooter (14.2%), and sports games (11.9%).

Blogging bullying

Blogging bullying

With over 500 million blogs on the internet, it’s no wonder that blogs are, in fact, one of the most popular targets for cyberbullies. While the comment section is usually reserved for discussions and questions for the author, you’ll notice hateful and hurtful comments sometimes tend to be prevalent. The victim of blogging bullying isn’t only the author, but many commenters as well.

The other side of blogging bullying is when the author of the blog themself posts hateful content that’s intended to embarrass, insult, or otherwise upset someone else. While this is the most prevalent among school children and students, it’s very common among adults as well.

Impacts of cyberbullying

impacts of cyberbullying

Bullying as a whole has a huge impact on the victim’s mental wellbeing and their overall quality of life, and cyberbullying is no different. As a matter of fact, some studies suggest that bullies tend to be more aggressive online as there are rarely any real-world consequences of their actions, so the impact on the victims could potentially be even greater.

Victims of cyberbullying often experience much lower self-esteem, greater social anxiety, depression, and many experience suicidal thoughts as well.

Cyberbullying can be a cause of alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, poor school performance, and more. All this serves to show how harmful cyberbullying is and how important it is to put a stop to it.

21. More teen suicides are now attributed in some way to cyberbullying than ever before.
(Source: Pas-meeting.org)

Between 2008 and 2015, the number of teens who attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts has doubled, as revealed at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting of 2017. Many cases were the result of cyberbullying.

22. Cyberbullying can have serious impacts on the self-esteem and mental health of people who experience it.
(Source: Ditchthelabel.org)

These alarming cyberbullying statistics show how enormous the negative impact of bullying is and how paramount it is to take strong measures to stop it finally. The overall health of targeted people depends on it.

cyberbullying health impacts

23. Research has found that children who are bullied are 9 times more likely to be the victims of identity fraud as well.
(Source: Javelinstrategy.com)

This was revealed in a 2017 worldwide study by Javelin Strategy & Research, which showed that there was a big connection between being bullied online and being a victim of identity theft afterward.

24. Data on the psychological impact of women experiencing online abuse or harassment worldwide.
(Source: Statista.com)

According to a 2017 survey by Statista, a great number of female victims of cyberbullying end up dealing with a range of negative effects on their mental health and overall well-being.

cyberbullying psychological impact

Cyberbullying around the World

cyberbullying around the world

Cyberbullying isn’t a problem solely in the United States. It’s actually a global issue. The top 3 countries where cyberbullying is the most prevalent are India, Brazil, and the United States, but this is a common occurrence everywhere. Social media cyberbullying statistics show that over 65% of parents around the world cite cyberbullying on social media as one of their greatest fears.

While many countries are trying to impose anti-bullying laws, an effective preventative measure still hasn’t been discovered, and residents of many countries aren’t satisfied with how bullying is being tackled.

On the bright side, cyberbullying awareness is at an all-time high, meaning that the governments around the world will have to take measures to prevent it.

25. One in three young people in 30 countries said they have been a victim of online bullying, with one in five reporting having skipped school due to cyberbullying and violence.
(Source: Unicef.org)

This was revealed recently by a UNICEF poll, raising even more concern about cyberbullying and calling for urgent action to finally end violence in schools and societies all over the world.

three people

26. 20,000 parents participated in worldwide research about high-risk online platforms, 65% single out cyberbullying on social media as their biggest fear. Other common threats include text messaging (38%) and chat rooms (34%).
(Source: Techjury.net)

The majority of surveyed parents (65%) mostly fear social media bullying for a good reason, as most cases do take place there, primarily on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

27. Percentage of parents throughout the world that report their child has been a victim of cyberbullying.
(Source: Enough.org)

Cyberbullying stats show that cases reported by parents vary greatly from country to country. In India, 37% of parents have reported their child being a victim of cyberbullying, while only 1% of Russian parents have done the same.

cyberbullying by country

28. People from Europe and South America are generally dissatisfied with the current cyberbullying measurements.
(Source: Techjury.net)

Even in countries with anti-bullying laws, people generally don’t believe there are proper measures in place for stopping cyberbullying. Only 13% of Serbians and 15% of Chileans are satisfied with the current state of affairs.

29. Global cyberbullying awareness is at 75%. Sweden and Italy are leading the chart with 91% awareness. Source: Statista.com)

Cyberbullying awareness is on the rise, showing real promise of putting an end to this serious global problem. Cyberbullying facts and statistics show that Saudi Arabians are currently the least aware of cyberbullying (37%).

Reactions to cyberbullying facts

Reactions to Cyberbullying

While most people are aware of bullying and cyberbullying facts, few know how to deal with it. Those who are witnesses to it rarely react, mostly because they cannot be anonymous. Parents are often not aware that their child is being cyberbullied because most children believe this to be a normal occurrence and don’t want to let their parents know.

Most children attempt to stop cyberbullying by blocking the bullies on social media platforms, and so far, this seems to be their best option.

Luckily, 48 states in the US have introduced electronic harassment laws, and 44 of them include criminal sanctions for cyberbullying.

30. Google Trends data indicates much more attention is focused on cyberbullying than ever before. (Source: Google.com)

People are becoming increasingly aware of the issue, which doesn’t come as a surprise, given that cyberbullying has been steadily growing for years. Anti-bullying laws have definitely helped raise awareness.

google trends

31. The website Nobullying.org recorded over 9.3 million visits in 2016 from people seeking help with bullying, cyberbullying and online safety.
(Source: Nobullying.org)

Websites like Nobullying.org have been rising in number in recent years, empowering people who experience any kind of bullying to seek help and regain control of their life.

32. The number of US states with state cyberbullying laws, by policy implementation:
(Source: Statista.com)

Cyberbullying laws in the US vary by state and policy implementation. While some states clearly include cyberbullying and online harassment in their laws, others also include criminal sanctions and school policies.

cyberbullying laws

33. 83% of young people believe social media companies should be doing more to tackle cyberbullying on their platforms.
(Source: Dosomething.org)

social media companies should tackle cyberbullying

As already discussed, their best option seems to be blocking the bullies on social media, but that doesn’t prevent the bullies from spreading online rumors and using other types of online harassment.

34. Frequency of talking about the internet and online behavior between parents and children:
(Source: Telenor.com)

According to a social media survey by Telenor Group, a lot of parents (46%) speak to their children all the time about online behavior and threats. However, some parents (39%) do it only sometimes, while others (12%) never do it.

Frequency of talking

35. 4 out of 5 students say they would be more likely to intervene in instances of cyberbullying if they could do it anonymously.
(Source: Dosomething.org)

Most witnesses to cyberbullying don’t ever intervene, as they wouldn’t want the perpetrators to turn on them. However, if there was an anonymous way to do it, 81% of students say they would probably help the victims.

five people

36. Parents want to be involved in helping to prevent and solve cyberbullying but don’t know-how.
(Source: Gromsocial.com)

The study also found teens often believe cyberbullying is normal and don’t want parents to intervene. This is why we need to continue raising awareness of cyberbullying. Teens need to understand that it’s not normal, and every parent should have access to effective solutions against bullies.

37. 68% of US respondents confirm they are sharing less personal information online than before.
(Source: Reportlinker.com)

Children are also increasingly aware of the dangers of cyberbullying. This is definitely one of the ways to prevent some forms of cyberbullying, such as blackmail. The fewer bullies know about someone, the less likely they are to harass them both online and offline.

38. Over 70% of teens say that blocking the account of the perpetrator was the most effective method for internet safety.
(Source: Ncpc.org)

Before talking to their parents or seeking any help, most US teens block their bully’s social media account. They believe it to be the best way to prevent cyberbullying.

Conclusion

While the above-mentioned cyberbullying statistics and facts are frightening, there is a silver lining to the growing problem of cyberbullying. Governments around the world are trying to control and prevent cyberbullying, the global awareness of the problem is on the rise, and many social media platforms are attempting to put a stop to cyberbullying as well.

As a final note, it’s important to teach the children about what cyberbullying is, what its impacts are, and how it can be prevented. As always, education is the only true solution.

Sources:
https://cyberbullying.org/2016-cyberbullying-data/
https://www.verywellfamily.com/cyberbullying-statistics-4589988
https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2007/06/27/cyberbullying/
https://www.nveee.org/statistics/
https://www.ditchthelabel.org/
https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2007/06/27/cyberbullying/
(Source)
https://www.statista.com/statistics/333942/us-internet-online-harassment-severity/
https://www.statista.com/statistics/333942/us-internet-online-harassment-severity/
https://www.ditchthelabel.org/
https://www.comparitech.com/internet-providers/cyberbullying-statistics/
https://www.dosomething.org
https://netsanity.net/blog/
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying
https://enough.org/stats_cyberbullying
https://techjury.net/stats-about/cyberbullying/
https://www.telenor.com/asias-parents-speak-up-on-cyberbullying/
https://techjury.net/stats-about/cyberbullying/
https://www.pas-meeting.org/
https://www.ditchthelabel.org/cyber-bullying-statistics-what-they-tell-us/
https://www.javelinstrategy.com/
https://www.statista.com/statistics/784838/online-harassment-impact-on-women/
https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/unicef-poll-more-third-young-people-30-countries-report-being-victim-online-bullying
https://techjury.net/stats-about/cyberbullying/#gref
https://enough.org/stats_cyberbullying
https://techjury.net/stats-about/cyberbullying/#gref
https://www.statista.com/statistics/293192/cyber-bullying-awareness-in-select-countries-worldwide/
https://trends.google.com/trends/
http://nobullying.org/#/
https://www.statista.com/statistics/291082/us-states-with-state-cyber-bullying-laws-policy/
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying
https://www.telenor.com/asias-parents-speak-up-on-cyberbullying/
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying
https://gromsocial.com/2019/07/22/protect-your-kids-from-cyberbullying/
https://www.reportlinker.com/insight/americas-youth-cyberbully-life-skill.html
https://www.ncpc.org/resources/cyberbullying/

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