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Bullying Statistics: Fast Facts About Cyberbullying

Last Updated: July 19, 2021

Luke Gilkerson
Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Your Brain on Porn and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls cyberbullying the “most common online risk for all teens.” Parents need to know the facts about cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person.

Types of Bullying Online

According to the Internet Safety 101 curriculum, there are many types of cyberbullying:

  • Gossip: Posting or sending cruel gossip to damage a person’s reputation and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • Exclusion: Deliberately excluding someone from an online group.
  • Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s e-mail or other online account and sending messages that will cause embarrassment or damage to the person’s reputation and affect his or her relationship with others.
  • Harassment: Repeatedly posting or sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages.
  • Cyberstalking: Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages, which may include threats.
  • Flaming: Online fights where scornful and offensive messages are posted on websites, forums, or blogs.
  • Outing and Trickery: Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online.
  • Cyberthreats: Remarks on the Internet threatening or implying violent behavior, displaying suicidal tendencies.

Facts About Cyberbullying

  • 32% of online teens say they have been targets of a range of annoying or potentially menacing online activities. 15% of teens overall say someone has forwarded or posted a private message they’ve written, 13% say someone has spread a rumor about them online, 13% say someone has sent them a threatening or aggressive message, and 6% say someone has posted embarrassing pictures of them online.
  • 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. In particular, 41% of older girls (15-17) report being bullied—more than any other age or gender group.
  • 39% of social network users have been cyberbullied in some way, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.
  • 20% of teens (12-17) say “people are mostly unkind” on online social networks. Younger teenage girls (12-13) are considerably more likely to say this. One in three (33%) younger teen girls who use social media say that people their age are “mostly unkind” to one another on social network sites.
  • 15% of teens on social networks have experienced someone being mean or cruel to them on a social network site. There are no statistically significant differences by age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic characteristic.
  • 13% of teens who use social media (12-17) say they have had an experience on a social network that made them feel nervous about going to school the next day. This is more common among younger teens (20%) than older teens (11%).
  • 88% of social media-using teens say they have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on a social network site. 12% of these say they witness this kind of behavior “frequently.”
  • When teens see others being mean or cruel on social networks, frequently 55% see other people just ignoring what is going on, 27% see others defending the victim, 20% see others telling the offender to stop, and 19% see others join in on the harassment.
  • 36% of teens who have witnessed others being cruel on social networks have looked to someone for advice about what to do.
  • 67% of all teens say bullying and harassment happens more offline than online.
  • 1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied over social media. In over half of these cases, their child was a repeat victim. Over half of parents whose children have social media accounts are concerned about cyberbullying and more than three-quarters of parents have discussed the issue of online bullying with their children.
  • 11% of middle school students were victims of cyberbullying in the past two months. Girls are more likely than boys to be victims or bully/victims.
  • “Hyper-networking” teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networks) are 110% more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks.

Anti Bullying Campaigns and Programs

Effects of Bullying

“While bullying through physical intimidation has long been a problem among teenagers, cyberbullying by using computers and smart phones to send rumors or post cruel messages has become more prevalent in recent years,” explains Dr. Jennifer Caudle. “Even though there might not be physical injuries, cyberbullying leaves deep emotional scars on the victim.”

Warning signs of being cyberbullied can include:

  • appearing sad, moody, or anxious
  • avoiding school
  • withdrawing from social activities
  • experiencing a drop in grades
  • appearing upset after using the computer
  • appearing upset after viewing a text message

In extreme cases, physical bullying and online bullying can drive a child or teen to deep depression and even suicide (sometimes called “bullycide”). Since 1983, over 150 children have taken their own lives due, in part, to the extreme pressure of being bullied.

When it comes to suicides related to cyberbullying, some names have made national headlines in recent years. Ryan Halligan (2003) may be the earliest known case of suicide provoked by Internet taunts, but unfortunately many others have followed: Jeffrey Johnston (2005), Kristina Calco (2006), Rachael Neblett (2006),  Megan Meier (2006), Jesse Logan (2008), Alexa Berman (2008), Michael Joseph Berry (2008), Iain Steele (2009), Hope Wittsell (2009), Tyler Clementi (2010), Ashley Rogers (2010), Alexis Skye Pilkington (2010), Phoebe Prince (2010), and Amanda Cummings (2011).

Cyberbullying Videos

Photo Credit: 45688888@N08
  • Comments on: Bullying Statistics: Fast Facts About Cyberbullying
    1. Jacob

      what types of punishment should be done to the bullies that are harming others?

      • Luke Gilkerson

        @Jacob – I believe the punishment should fit the crime, so it will depend on the extent of the bullying.

      • Nia

        They should have there devices taken away and they should say sorry to the victims

      • geo

        nun really XD

      • there should be more than just suspension and expelling there should be extreme measures if they did extrmeme damage

      • Called copes on or reported.

      • Anna Peyton

        They should be banned from the websites

    2. Guadalupe Garcia

      @Jacob – The bully should be caught first in order to find a punishment. The victim should just avoid having a social network so they wont be exposed.

      • maddie savage

        this is wrong the the person getting bullied should not be punished

    3. Jordan

      Yes, but does that really solve the problem? If bullies are really hell bent on getting to someone, they’ll find a way.

      • cherokea.melbourne

        I agree people should stop bullying others.

    4. sam cammisuli

      As you know, the increase media coverage has sparked awareness within communities, in and around the, GTA.
      Intervention, within the communities, such as parents, students, educators,and employers is needed to address, this complex issue of bulling, which has become an “EPIDEMIC”.
      If one has not experienced bullying, one will never understandthe effects of “bullying”
      I’m an adult now and only recently, with the increase media coverage, some of my childhood nightmares have resurficed.
      Attached, you will find a book of my past experience, that i hope along with a partnership,that may help repair, schoolyard, relationships.

      Sam Cammisuli

      • Its not just in the schoolyard Sam. Its prevelant. Its online dating, social interactions, it’s anonymous, IRS the local coffee ship or museum. Its the nightclubs and its in the home and the church. Its a matter of scarce redource s and mans inclination to delete the free will of fellows and peers. Its the mob mentality. Its capitalism its socialism its schadenfreude.

    5. cyberbullies are people that mess with people just to feel better about there selfs

    6. I dont see the reason for cyber bullying it needs to be stoped!!!!

      • Really, why shouldnt it be stopped?!?!? Kids are losing there lives be the things other kids say. and your not worried about it??????

    7. Alex

      Should cyber bullying be punishable by the student’s school? Lots of affected children are students who are being bullied by classmates…

      • Great question, Alex. I know many schools have policies against cyberbullying, but others do not out of principle. Keep in mind most cyberbullying happens in a context of real-world bullying as well, so in most instances schools won’t have to wait until a bully does something “in real life” before they can take action.

        All the same, I think a school is responsible for creating an educational environment conducive with learning. This might mean that school staff have to step in as mediators in an online conflict from time to time. As to whether there should be punishments attached to this, I’ll leave that up to the administrators.

    8. maria denvard

      i think cyber bullying is stupid and preventable. the teens can easily block or delete their accounts. They’re not obligated to read the insidious comments posted. I’m not saying cyber bullying is okay, but it certainly is not a major issue that needs all that attention ^^ i’m only here for information on a mandatory project v.v

      • Rayne

        Even if the individual does not read comments or other things posted about them, the cyber bullying still fuels bullying in the real world. Other students see what is being posted and go to school with the information in mind and bully the individual in school. You can not just write off cyber bullying as not being serious, it is.

    9. Bullying is serious matters and can lead to irreversible consenquences

    10. alyssa

      cyber bulling is one of the major problems we have at my high school. and keep in mind i was been bullied before not only by a student but the students parents to, i was even taken out of a class i had with the student…since the school thought i was the problem.

      the school didnt do much to help me beside ‘hide’ me from my classmates.

    11. whysostupid

      This is easily the most stupid thing I have ever read. Why are children this young even using social networks? Are you retarded?

      • Are you asking if we are stupid for summarizing research done about children, or if the parents are stupid for letting their young children use technology?

      • Alanna

        Social networking is becoming a way of life in 2013. A lot of the age ranges in the article said 15-17 were the more commonly bullied teens. 17 years old is not a ‘young child’ and certainly should be allowed to use a social network, considering that by age 18 they are adults.

      • Bobingtonson

        and you say that THIS is stupid. Cyber bulling has caused many suicides idiot. Yes I know, ironic calling you an idiot on an anti-cyber bulling website.

      • Jeff

        This is cyberbullying sir this is punishible

    12. Taylor

      be better if cyberbullying never existed because there are a lot of teens that commit suicide and it needs to stop. R.I.P. for the teens that committed suicide from cyberbullying.

      • I think it is really sad that kids commit suicide becuse of people either: words, rumors, bullying, or physicail beatings….

    13. Amy

      Hello Luke Gilkerson,

      I find your statistics, facts, and videos to be very informational and helpful when learning about cyberbullying. I also feel that it would be very beneficial if parents learned more about what cyberbullying is, how it happens, how to prevent it, and ways to help their children deal with it.

      Would you mind reading my blog at http://amyengl250.blogspot.com/2013/04/cyberbullyinggoing-behind-screen-think.html? I would like to have your perspective.


      The Green Room at Iowa State University

      • Thanks for the link, Amy. As far as your advice to parents goes, you present some great information. Good advice! Your stats seems to be pretty solid too.

        Another perspective you might want to include is the area of how bystanders can play a role in limiting cyberbullying. My associate Lisa Eldred wrote a nice write-up on the documentary Submit about this very issue.

    14. Richard Johnson

      Hi Majarion, if that is your real name… cyber bullying is a very serious issue, show some respect. I disagree with you in as many ways possible. You seem like a very ignorant person, based on your grammar you don’t seem all that intelligent either. I hope you become enlightened on the dangers of cyber bullying.

    15. Cyberbullying is a very serious topic and it should be stopped and who ever does it should have a very serious consequence. Cyberbullying is just immature and I dont understand how someone can cyber bully.

    16. Lindsay Colon

      your advice was terrible but answer this for me why do you want to show respect for cycberbullying if the most common bullying type is school bullying so why do you do school bullying instead of cycber.

      • Who is your question directed toward? Are you asking why we haven’t written an article about bullying at school?

    17. These statistics should in my opinion open every parents’ eyes and have them disallow their children and teens to use the Internet, as well as any cell phones with Internet access. I became a victim of obsessed cyberstalking as a new Internet user in 2007, and I am fortunate to be alive today after what occurred.

      Please, parents, don’t let your children use the Internet. 20% of children – including teenagers – are approached by pedophiles on the Internet. Aren’t those statistics enough to wake you up?

      • Lisa Eldred

        Debbie, you’re right – the Internet does have a lot of creeps, and parents definitely need to be cautious. That’s exactly why we promote Internet Accountability in addition to Filtering from a young age. Rather than prohibit Internet use while they’re in the home, possibly leaving them unprepared when they reach adulthood, we want parents to see what their kids are doing online and talk to them very actively about making wise choices in who they speak to and what sites they visit.

    18. Rayne

      Cyber bullying is also more widespread than physical bullying. You could get the material around to other persons (i.e photos, rumors, etc.) very easily and fast via the internet, text messages and any other piece of technology. People just assume that cyber bullying only takes place on social networking sites. That is not true. Any piece of technology you can use to get in touch with someone else, including your cell phone, is considered cyber bullying.

    19. Rilley

      I am a 13 year old boy that has been bullied and pushed around for years and have had a Facebook account and got messages from adults and teens telling me to kill myself and things like that because i was a transvestite

      • That is so sad, Rilley. Do you have anyone supporting you right now?

      • Bobingtonson

        Just remember Riley, chances are there will always be someone who supports you, I mean 4 billion people in the world, someone will.

    20. Lisa Huddo

      Hi, I was wondering if there has been an increase in cyber bullying on the whole due to social media?
      If you have an links, that would be great!

      • Yes. Social media’s use has made cyberbullying much easier and more common, especially since teens did not interact as much online before the advent and common use of social media.

    21. candase dian ray

      i have been buillyed befor by my firend

      • gayfer99

        You should of fought her.

    22. gayfer99

      Most of this is sooo true

    23. braiden

      thats awesome

      • chad

        i dont like bullies.

    24. I didn’t realize how close to us bullies were until recently! My son was about to be bullied and he actually treated the situation is such a mature way, that he didn’t face any problems with the bully. Of course, my little boy was lucky enough to know better and he didn’t have to deal with a persistant bully. However, this is a serious issue that needs more attention, we all need to be aware of such an important problem of our society!

    25. Dear Luke Gilkerson,

      My name is mady, and I’ve been trying to end my life for years now. I was and still am sexually harassed and even sexually assaulted. I trusted a boy enough to send nudes to him, and eventually, they were passed around the school. Everyone was laughing at me calling me names. That’s when the thoughts poured in. I hated myself. My dad wasn’t a big help to that either. He is always telling me that in a whore and slut, that is not worth his time. So I’ve found no reason to live. I wanted to contact you so you can use my story to help others.


      • Chris McKenna

        Hi, Mady – Luke no longer works at CE, but I’m deeply concerned about your comments about suicide – here’s the truth…you have unmeasurable value! Don’t listen to the bullies or in this case, the words from your father. Your life is a precious gift and a blessing to this planet. Unique. Unrepeatable. Please find someone you can talk to about your struggles. If you don’t have anyone you can talk to, and you start to have suicidal feelings again, promise me you’ll call this number: 1-800-273-8255, if you are in the United States. They also have a chat feature that always has someone there to respond.

        I’m for you and want you to live.

      • Wendy Collins

        Mady love, I hope you see this. I will talk to you. I am 55 year old ( A cool one I have been told ;) ) grandmother :) .. I don’t judge and I listen. I want you around for years to come and I tell you why. In my mind’s eye after I read your letter, I could see you.. in a nice career… a couple of children after you are 30 (please wait til then :) ) and happy. Darling.. people are a**holes and there are so many out there that bully that do it because they them selves are miserable. They just want others to feel as bad as they do… it’s like they get off on it.Sweetheart, we all make mistakes.. some bigger than others, and it’s ok. No one is perfect and those little crappy highschoolers are just being jerks. I bet they have so many skele’s in their closet that they would just crawl back under their rock if something came up about them that wasn’t so ‘sweet or nice’. Don’t do anything crazy please. There ARE people that care, even tho you may think there isn’t.People DO care, even if it’s not a family member…. like me :) You just need to reach out, like you have here. So now there are 2 people here ready and willing to hear you and maybe even give you some great advice on what ever problems you are dealing with ♥ You my dear are worth more than any money or anything .. I hope in time you will see this. You are cared about by even me and Chris ( the young man who also wrote you ) and we don’ tknow you , yet. You don’t have to give your personal info out to either one of us. We only want to let you talk and get all this off your mind and out of your heart. You are the future <3 and we care. I know I want this world to be a better place and you would be one of those wonderful people that can and will make this world a better and nicer place. Please give life a chance. I think after the rough and bumpy road of highschool you will see that it was just that, a bump in the road and you are stronger than you think. I believe in you ^ ^

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