Our experiences online are becoming a much more integrated part of our daily experience. The more we interact, socialize, do business, play, and whatever else, the more the online world becomes a very real experience, despite its digital platform.
Cyberbullying statistics show cyberbullying is a relatively new form of harassment emerging from the increasing use of online digital technology, especially by children and youth. Due to its novel nature, understanding the vastness of the issue can be difficult.
This phenomenon is highly prevalent and impactful, seriously affecting the mental health and well-being of those who experience it.
These statistics highlight the urgency of this topic and provide insights into what it is and how you can help prevent it.
Top Cyberbullying Facts (Editor’s Pick)
- Around 21% of 9-to-12-year-olds have been cyberbullied
- 44% of people have been targets of online harassment
- Mean comments make up 22.5% of cyberbullying cases
- 70% of teenagers have reported someone spreading rumors about them online
- 70% of LGBTQ+ students have been victims of harassment
- Cyberbullying victims begin abusing alcohol and drugs 9% of the time
- 24% of severely harassed people contemplate suicide
- Cyberbullying makes its victims 230% more likely to commit suicide
Facts About Cyberbullying
1. Around 21% of kids aged between 9 and 12 have been cyberbullied
(Cartoon Network and Cyberbullying Research Center)
Kids are exposed to digital technology at earlier ages with every generation. As such, they have the possibility to experience bullying and harassment online from their peers or anonymous people on the internet.
Traditional bullying for this age range still outnumbers cyberbullying incidents by far, with almost 80% of children experiencing it at one time or another.
Cyberbullying rates are escalating to almost one-quarter of youth, however, suggesting a growing and global problem.
2. From 2007 to 2019, the cyberbullying rate among middle and high school students rose from 18.8% to 36.5%
The prevalence of reported cyberbullying among older youth increases dramatically as online activity and social peer groups become a more central experience. Statistics show that 90% of teens between 13-17 use social media regularly.
Looking at cyberbullying statistics over the years, we see a general upward trend in cyberbullying among middle and high school students. The rate holds steady for a few years now at about 36.5%, with some fluctuations. Many differences from year to year can be due to reporting differences, however, rather than actual prevalence.
3. 28.1% of sixth-graders have been cyberbullied
Among children, cyberbullying seems to be the most common in the age range between 11 and 14. The rates of cyberbullying seem to drop off the further kids get from that age.
Sixth-graders and seventh-graders have roughly the same rates of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying age statistics show eighth-graders have a slightly lower rate, approximately 26.7%. Meanwhile, twelfth-graders have a cyberbullying rate of 15.8%, the lowest in middle and high school.
4. 60.4% of kids have defended their friends from cyberbullies online
Despite the grave statistics indicating a rise in this new form of abuse, awareness among children and teens is rising, and many are standing up for each other, making their online world a safer place.
Cyberbullying Research Centre statistics indicate that not only are youth more likely to defend their friends online than not, but 51% of them are standing up for other kids they don’t know, or aren’t friends with.
5. 44% of people have been subjected to online harassment
Online bullying and harassment isn’t just reserved for the youth of today. Harassment is the most prevalent category of cyberbullying. It includes acts like name-calling and attempts to embarrass someone, with the former being more common (37%) than the latter (28%).
Stats on cyberbullying show that rates of severe harassment are also prevalent, with 15% of people online experiencing physical threats and 12% of them being victims of stalking or sexual harassment.
6. Approximately 8.93% of people have had someone impersonating them through email to their friends or family
Cyberbullying has many different types. The most common is sending threatening emails or insulting people in chat rooms. Cyberstalking statistics show that impersonation of someone to send harmful material isn’t a rare occurrence, either. The rarest form of cyberbullying, however, is using a victim’s name to order specific goods or services, happening just 3% of the time.
Much of cyberbullying is in the attempt to cause damage either to one’s public persona (defamation) or to cause emotional distress through harassment, although cases of malware, stalking, and sexual harassment are also common.
How often does cyberbullying occur?
It’s difficult to know just how often cyberbullying occurs in the general population. There is a larger amount of data emerging on children and youth about this issue, but still, these statistics are skewed due to lack of awareness and reporting by victims.
According to US statistics, 40% of internet users have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime. The prevalence has become so great that 48 states have introduced cyberbullying laws to their legislation.
Social Media Cyberbullying Statistics
7. Facebook is the platform where 56% of online harassment victims have been harassed
(First Site Guide)
With 2.5 billion users, Facebook is still the largest social media website globally and has been for the last eight years.
With so much social traffic, when it comes to cyberbullying and harassment, most victims report their experience of cyberbullying took place on this site. Cyberbullying on Facebook statistics report that Facebook is a prime platform for harassment, as comments are made public and shared easily throughout the site.
8. 26% of people consider Facebook the worst social media website for cyberbullying
The prevalence of Facebook cyberbullying doesn’t go unnoticed by users. Many people report that they consider Facebook to be a dangerous platform for cyberbullying.
While Facebook may still be the biggest social-media website in the world, its relevance to younger people is lowering as newer platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram become more popular among youth. Cyberbullying on social media statistics showed that these platforms are a close second to Facebook when it comes to cyberbullying, perhaps illustrating that it’s a social media problem and not a specific website issue.
9. 22.5% of cyberbullying happens in the form of mean comments
(First Site Guide)
The anonymity of the online world is a major factor in why cyberbullying occurs with such frequency. It takes almost no time to send a mean comment, and the weight of the words is lost in the text, truly taking the social consciousness out of interaction.
These words still hold weight to the receiver, however. Cyberbullying facts and statistics suggest that mean comments are the most common type of cyberbullying, with spreading rumors and sexual harassment coming in second and third place.
10. 70% of teenagers have reported having rumors about them spread online
(Broadband Search, Pew Research)
Like regular bullying, cyberbullying is most prevalent in younger people. Teenagers tend to be victimized by their peers in pernicious ways. Cyberbullying data suggests that spreading rumors is very common among the teenage population.
Notably, 59% of teens have endured cyberbullying at some point in their lives, either through name-calling, the sharing of explicit images, or threats of physical violence. Online life is much more pervasive for younger generations, making these offenses that much more serious.
Many report that cyberbullying directly affects their offline life, with social anxiety being a major symptom. 46% of youth said that they developed social anxiety after a cyberbullying incident.
Cyberbullying Victims Statistics
11. 50% of college students have been bullied at some point in their lives
Most people see cyberbullying as something kids or teens do to one another, but like with most social crimes, it can happen to anyone. College is a unique time, where students have more independence but are nonetheless still considered adolescents.
As such, college students have an alarmingly high rate of cyberbullying. According to cyberbullying statistics, around 30% of all college students are subjected to cyberbullying once they enroll.
12. 70% of LGBTQ+ students have experienced harassment online
(Tyler Clementi Foundation)
Members of the LGBTQ+ community have historically faced discrimination and malignment from society at large. While progress slowly advances, LGBTQ kids continue to rank among the highest statistics for bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and other socially discriminatory acts across the country.
This discrimination is not only individualized but pervades institutions as well, with cyberbullying facts showing 63% of LGBTQ+ students reporting discriminatory policies and negative historical information about LGBTQ+ populations being taught in their schools.
13. 37.1% of mixed-race students aged 12-18 have been targets of cyberbullying
Another heavily marginalized group is mixed-race students, with more than one-third experiencing cyberbullying and discrimination online. Notably, mixed-race students are the most likely to be targets of cyberbullying than white and black students.
As some cyberbullying statistics point out, white students are the second-most cyberbullied racial demographic. Almost 25% of them have reported being cyberbullied, while 22.2% of black students have reported being targeted.
Prevalency aside, racial minorities are more likely to experience cyberbullying that is specifically targeting their race or culture, creating an added layer of aggression which is can be detrimental to marginalized student’s health and experience.
How many people are affected by cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying affects millions of lives every day. While there isn’t a lot of research on the prevalence in adults, it appears that children and youth are the most impacted population by this phenomenon, especially if they are marginalized somehow. Around 21% of kids aged between 9 and 12 have been victims of cyberbullying, and if those kids are members of racialized or LGBTQ+ communities, the rates are almost double.
The Emotional and Physical Effects of Cyberbullying
14. 9% of cyberbullying victims begin abusing alcohol and drugs.
While some still try to shrug cyberbullying off as “kids being kids,” the impacts of online bullying are undeniably devastating. The effects on both physical and mental health are widespread and becoming more critical as life online becomes more integrated into the daily lives of people.
Online bullying causes a variety of mental and physical traumas on victims. As cyberbullying and mental health statistics report, harmful behavior is directly correlated with experiences of cyberbullying. For example, 14% of cyber-bullied kids reported developing an eating disorder, 25% engaged in self-harm, and 37% developed depression.
15. 41% of victims of cyberbullying develop social anxiety
Along with depression, the development of social anxiety is the most common result of cyberbullying. Anxiety manifests in both the emotional distress of the person experiencing it, as well as physical health side-effects.
Mental effects of cyberbullying can have long-lasting repercussions for victims, and over longer periods of time, can cause suicidal thoughts, attempts, and in some cases that have played out already, the death of the person by suicide.
16. 24% of people who’ve been severely harassed contemplated suicide
Especially for older generations, cyberbullying can seem like a minor offense with little impact. For youth, however, digital technology is a much more pervasive and normalized part of their lives.
Cyberbullying is just as serious as its traditional counterpart. Cyberbullying and suicide statistics indicate that victims of online harassment and torment are significantly more likely to contemplate—and even attempt—suicide. While physical violence can be visibly seen as disturbing and harmful, cyberbullying is much more sinister as it slides into your DM’s and gets shared around to everyone you see every day at school, causing ongoing emotional torment.
17. Cyberbullying makes its victims 200% more likely to commit suicide
Suicide is by far the most devastating consequence of this modern phenomenon. Cyberbullying suicide statistics report that the frequency of teen and child suicide is increasing in the US, and cyberbullying may be a major contributor.
Victims of cyberbullying are just as likely to kill themselves as victims of traditional bullying are, although the accessibility of cyberbullying is particularly concerning as it takes just seconds to post a mean comment.
18. Students that experience cyberbullying are 300% more likely to engage in delinquency
There is a significant correlation between cyberbullying victims and delinquency. For instance, high-schoolers and middle-schoolers are approximately 3.17 times more likely to do delinquent things when exposed to cyberbullying.
Teenage cyberbullying statistics reveal that kids frustrated with cyberbullying in some way are around 2.5 times more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors. In contrast, kids angry about traditional bullying are “only” 2.18 times more likely to do so. This indicates that the cyberworld for kids is much more important than offline experiences.
19. Almost 70% of cyberbullied tweens said it diminished their feeling of self-worth
(Cartoon Network and Cyberbullying Research Center)
Cyberbullying can lead victims to do or feel many different things, but the most common outcome of all (69.1% of cases) is a diminished sense of self-worth.
Statistics about cyberbullying cite that 31.9% of all tween cyberbullying cases impact the victim’s friendships, while a little over 13% of cyberbullied tweens have reported their experiences damaged their physical health.
20. 19% of cyberbullying victims aged between 12 and 18 have experienced psychological harm
(International Journal of Cybersecurity Intelligence & Cybercrime)
Internet-based bullying has profound and detrimental effects on a child’s psyche, however, the emotional effects of cyberbullying are still seriously overlooked and lack of awareness allows the pervasiveness to grow.
Namely, 22% of girls and 15% of boys feel serious psychological harm because of their instances of cyberbullying. 24% of them have suffered social harm because of their experiences, with more girls feeling harmed (26%) than boys (20%). Psychological harm has long-lasting impacts on the mental and physical health of youth, and leaves us wondering what the long-term effects will be on this digital generation.
How does cyberbullying affect mental health?
Cyberbullying impacts the mental health of victims in a variety of ways, from disengaging from social media websites, to depression, alcohol use, and suicide attempts. The impact is both dangerous and widely misunderstood.
One of the most common side effects of cyberbullying is a loss of self-worth. Self-worth is linked to health indicators across the board. Performance in school, social activity, happiness, intelligence, and even physical well-being is linked to self-worth, making cyberbullying an extremely pertinent topic in today’s world.
Perpetrators and Common Perspectives
21. 85% of cyberbullies also engage in traditional bullying
Looking at statistics on cyberbullying, the prevalence and reporting is often focused on the victims who experience it. As with most relational issues, however, there are also the individuals or groups that perpetrate this kind of harassment.
Traditional bullies and cyberbullies seem to overlap. Kids that bully are three times more likely to bully others using the internet, and victims of traditional bullying also have an increased likelihood of being bullied online.
22. 12% of middle and highschool students have cyberbullied someone else in the last month
Internet bullying statistics reveal that traditional bullying is still more common than cyberbullying. While a little over 10% of students have participated in cyberbullying, a total of 32% of students participated in traditional bullying. Most commonly, 51% of students admit to having name-called someone, and 43% excluded someone from a group.
23. 77% of kids don’t believe bullying is a normal part of growing up
People who waive off (or even defend) bullying often use the argument that bullying is a natural and normal part of children’s struggle to learn the harsh lessons of the world and their place in it.
Cyberbullying and bullying statistics demonstrate, however, that many youth and adults don’t share this perspective. Youth reported that they do not feel that bullying is a “rite of passage” but a serious issue that needs to be addressed in their lives.
24. 45 U.S. states have school sanction laws for cyberbullying
(First Site Guide)
The majority of states in the U.S. have laws and policies that address cyberbullying in one way or another, especially pertaining to the school environment. If a student is found guilty of bullying someone over the Internet, they can face punishment like suspension or expulsion in extreme cases.
Cyberbullying in schools statistics show that these consequences are state-dependent in the US. For example, 48 states have legislation including online harassment, with slightly fewer states (44) having criminal sanctions for perpetrators of cyberbullying. Most states apply these sanctions within the school environment, and only 17 states have cyberbullying policies that apply off-campus.
25. In the United States, around 30% of people believe the current laws on cyberbullying are sufficient
There is still contention among the public regarding how well current legislation reduces the effects of cyberbullying, and statistics show dissatisfaction in the vast majority of the public.
With high-profile cases of teen suicide pointing the smoking gun at cyberbullying and the high user rates for teens on social media, it’s no wonder popular opinion is concerned and dissatisfied. As digital life is rapidly growing, it can be difficult for government institutions to adapt quickly, making awareness a central prevention technique.
How is cyberbullying different from in-person bullying?
The main difference between cyberbullying and in-person (or traditional) bullying is that the former happens virtually. This means cyberbullies torment their target through the Internet or communication devices like mobile phones.
Even though it isn’t done in person, cyberbullying is every bit as harmful as its in-person counterpart. It can lead to its victims losing their self-worth, developing social anxiety, depression, and many more negative effects.
Cyberbullying Stats: Conclusion
Cyberbullying is a relatively new but severe addition to the bullying framework for children, youth, and even adults.
As so much of our lives are conducted online, it becomes a very integrated part of our experience, and thus cyberbullying can have dire consequences on a victim’s mental and physical health.
Awareness about this issue is becoming more pervasive, but cyberbullying statistics show that many people believe this is not a serious issue. With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and many children and teens going to school online, taking cyberbullying seriously is more important than ever.