Cyberbullying is a pervasive problem, with 37% of teenagers having been harassed online at least once. Parents can fight cyberbullying by recognizing the signs in their children and supporting them through difficult times online.
The growth of social media and the overall digital landscape continues to bring a tidal wave of benefits for internet users. Yet, as always, the good comes with the bad.
It’s a sobering fact that hate speech, hurtful comments and bullying have always been around. The digital world is another avenue for internet trolls and people with malicious intentions to continue discriminatory harassment, spread their negative impact and disrupt the mental health of their cyberbullying victims.
Cyberbullying continues to grow worldwide, with more young people being targeted. In fact, studies have shown that about 50% of children have experienced at least one type of cyberbullying in their lifetime. You can read my comprehensive guide to get tips on how to safeguard your children’s privacy online.
In this age of technology, more and more internet users are also becoming increasingly aware of the impact of this online abuse. Now, more than ever, it’s time to take action and stop cyberbullying. A great way to do this is by promoting awareness of global cyberbullying.
Keep reading to equip yourself with some important cyberbullying statistics and do your part in the fight against online bullying.
How can you tell if someone is being cyberbullied?Victims of cyberbullying often showcase symptoms of social anxiety and depression. They may become withdrawn, and their physical health may also decline. The best way to confirm is by creating a safe space for communication and having an open conversation with the individual.
What country has the highest rate of cyberbullying?India has the highest rate of cyberbullying being reported so far, with Brazil and the United States ranking second and third, respectively.
By Definition: Cyberbullying
“Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm.”— National Centre Against Bullying
Cyberbullying (or cyber bullying):
“Willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.”— Cyberbullying Research Center
Quick Facts: Cyberbullying Statistics
- 40% of adults online have experienced cyberbullying.
- Instagram is the social platform where cyberbullying occurs most.
- The leading factor for cyberbullying in the U.S. is disagreeing on political views.
- Among teenagers, girls are more likely to be victims than boys, but among adults, men face more harassment online.
- Cyberbullying victims often develop social anxiety issues and suicidal thoughts.
Frequency of Cyberbullying
1. Almost 16% of students in grades 9–12 experienced cyberbullying within the span of a year
A 2019 study on youth risk behavior conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice showed that 15.7% of high school students between the ages of 14 and 18 faced cyberbullying in the 12 months preceding the survey.1
2. In 2019, 37% of teens aged between 12 and 17 reported experiencing online harassment at least once in their life
Teens and preteens between the ages of 12 and 17 also face the challenge of repeated threatening online behavior. In this age group, 37% have faced online bullying at least once, and 30% of them have faced online harassment more than once, meaning these incidents are not just one-time events.2
3. Hurtful comments and rumors are the most common methods of cyberbullying
When asked about what forms of cyberbullying they experienced, the students cited that hurtful comments (24.9%) and rumors (22.2%) were the most common methods used.2
4. 40% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some form of online harassment
Several cyberbullying statistics point to the issue being more prevalent in school environments, but this doesn’t mean adults aren’t often victims of the same forms of harassment online. American adults also have witnessed online bullying — 40% of them, in fact — in different and more evolved forms, including theft of personal information, such as identity fraud.3
5. Post-pandemic cyberbullying dropped by as much as 40%, and this trend continued even with some schools returning to the classroom
Another study showed that the shift to online teaching and remote learning led to a drop in cyberbullying incidents by as much as 40%, with a sustained decline in these rates. The number of searches for the terms “school bullying” and “cyberbullying” dropped significantly, indicating a possible fall in the number of people who witnessed cyberbullying or faced it themselves.4
6. Instagram is the platform where cyberbullying occurs the most
As far as social media bullying statistics go, Instagram is the leader for cyberbullying, with 42% of victims reporting it as the platform where they’ve faced the most online harassment. The following platforms rank highest for cyberbullying. 5
- Instragram (42%)
- Facebook (37%)
- Snapchat (31%)
- WhatsApp (12%)
- YouTube (10%)
- Twitter (9%)
Cyberbullying Victim Statistics
Who Is Prone to Cyberbullying?
7. 59% of U.S. teens have faced online harassment
Over half of teens in the U.S. face cyberbullying. This goes to show how major an issue cyberbullying is among this young crowd. Studies by the Pew Research Center show that 59% have faced offensive name-calling, spreading of rumors, receiving unsolicited explicit images, badgering and harassment by an individual other than a parent, and having others distribute their own images without their consent.6
8. Among the teenage crowd, girls are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying than boys
Teen girls are more susceptible to incidents of cyberbullying than boys. In a 2012 study, 15% of girls, particularly the older age bracket, reported being victims of cyberbullying compared to a lower percentage of 6% among boys.7
9. LGBTQ+ teens are 3x more likely to face cyberbullying than heterosexual teens
Cyberbullying stats indicate that LGBTQ+ youth are three times more likely to face bullying in general than heterosexual teens. The Out Online report by GLSEN reported that more than 42% of this demographic reported cyberbullying incidents. Of those affected, 58% were targeted with hate speech and 35% were on the receiving end of online threats.8
10. Nearly 80% of tweens are exposed to cyberbullying
It’s no surprise that cyberbullying stats indicate teenagers as a prominent victim group, but tweens aged 9 to 12 are also being bullied online. Among 1,034 tweens surveyed in one study, nearly 80% had been exposed to online bullying, either as a target, bully or witness. More than 66% of tweens who faced cyberbullying said it had a direct negative impact on their self-image and feelings of themselves.9
11. Overall, male victims outnumber female victims of cyberbullying online
When you’re looking at internet users as a whole and factoring in adults into the equation as well, male internet users face more instances of cyberbullying than females. In fact, 43% of males generally faced more harassment online, whereas the number is a lower 38% for females. However, it’s worth noting that females still face more instances of stalking and sexual harassment online than men.10
Main Reasons People Are Cyberbullied
12. The primary reason for online hate and cyberbullying in the U.S. is differences in political views
The leading factor for cyberbullying online in the U.S. is disagreements on political views, with 55% of internet users reporting said reason as the primary indicator.11
13. Physical appearances (gender and race) come as the second most significant reason for internet bullying
An individual’s physical appearances come second to different political views, involving 35% of incidents. Attacks on protected classes (like gender and race) share the second spot with an equal share of cyberbullying incidents.11
14. The most common type of cyberbullying is offensive name-calling
There are many forms of cyberbullying, but offensive name-calling takes the cake at 42%, according to the Pew Research Center. Be it in chat rooms or via an instant message on online social media accounts, more victims are bullied online through hurtful names being thrown their way.6
15. More than 80% of youth believe that cyberbullying happens because the bullies consider it a joke
Studies by the National Crime Prevention Council have uncovered an alarming fact about the cyberbullying mentality among present-day youth. An entire 81% of youth think that cyberbullies believe that bullying is funny, and that humor is the main reason for the bullying. This means that most bullies probably don’t even take the repercussions of their actions seriously, which limits the ability for effective cyberbullying prevention.12
The Effects & Impact of Cyberbullying
16. Nearly 30% of teenage victims do nothing about the bullying they experience
Speaking of repercussions, 29% of victims do not report or do anything about the abuse. They choose to handle the issue through silence and inaction.12
17. More than 40% of cyberbullying victims develop social anxiety issues
It’s no surprise the toll cyberbullying takes on the mental health of its victims, with 41% of victims developing social anxiety issues. This means that everyday interactions become a source of fear, embarrassment and irrational anxiety. Self-confidence takes a hit, and it becomes harder to interact with both friends and family.5
18. Students who are victims of cyberbullying are three times more likely to engage in acts of delinquency and violence at school
Victims, especially those that stay silent about their struggles, can develop violent thoughts. This can often lead to self-harm and the tendency to want to be violent toward others at school or lash out by causing trouble. Such students who face cyberbullying are three times more likely than non-victims to engage in delinquent behavior. If their struggles are not addressed in a sensitive manner, victims can become perpetrators themselves.13
19. Cyberbullying victims that are non-heterosexual showcase more depression and psychopathological symptoms than heterosexual victims
LGBTQ+ youth display more extreme forms of mental health decline when cyberbullied, perhaps a direct correlation to the higher intensity of bullying and hate they face online.14
20. Victims of cyberbullying are almost twice as likely to commit suicide
Cyberbullying victims are more prone to thoughts of self-harm and are two times more likely to take their own lives. It can take a tremendous toll on a victim’s sense of self-worth and value for their own life.15
Cyberbullying Awareness Statistics
21. Global cyberbullying awareness is at 75%
Sweden and Italy have the most cyberbullying awareness, with a 91% awareness rate. The United States came in ninth place, at 85% awareness. Countries in the Middle East region have the least awareness, with Saudi Arabia having just 37%. By contrast, France has only 50% awareness, securing a lower position on the list also.16
22. Parental awareness of cyberbullying is higher in the West than in the East
The good news is parental awareness is growing in countries like India and Brazil, with 40% of Indian parents proactively reporting when their children were cyberbullied. However, Japan’s statistics are quite sobering, with only 4% of Japanese parents filing such reports.17
U.S. Cyberbullying Statistics
23. Only 18% of Americans feel social media companies are doing a good job of handling cyberbullying issues on their platforms
Social media companies have faced repeated criticism for being a platform that enables cyberbullying and online harassment. About a third — 32% — of Americans feel that social media platforms are handling cyberbullying poorly and that more action is required from these powerhouses to prevent cyberbullying and social media scams.18
24. The intensity of physical threats, stalking and harassment faced online by American victims has only grown over time
Even with the growing awareness of cyberbullying in the U.S., it’s unfortunate that the incidents and the intensity of cyberbullying itself have not dropped. The 15% of Americans that expressed being victims of severe forms of harassment in 2014 has grown to 25% today. Unless more is done to prevent cyberbullying, this statistic is expected to keep growing.19
Global Cyberbullying Statistics
25. More than 3/4 of global internet users believe not enough is being done to prevent cyberbullying
More than three-quarters (76%) of netizens worldwide believe cyberbullying requires special attention, and more should be done by way of cyberbullying laws and active prevention. A minority (24%) feel satisfied with the current measures in place and don’t believe more anti-bullying measures or criminal sanctions are required.20
26. One in three people across 30 countries are victims of online bullying
One-third of young people across 30 countries are cyberbullying victims. Of that number, 20% said they skip school due to these incidents, which means that cyberbullying has a direct impact on the quality of worldwide education.21
Conclusion: Cyberbullying Statistics
The growth of the internet has opened a lot of doors for the current generation, but let’s face it: It’s also created a lot of threats. The anonymity of the internet makes it easier for bullies to get away with name-calling, online harassment and more. The digitally savvy internet users are more at risk than ever of becoming victims themselves, especially the younger generation whose exposure to the internet is far greater than those that came before them.
It’s crucial for us to do our part in preventing cyberbullying. Hopefully, these cyberbullying statistics have inspired you to take action, educate yourself and lend a helping hand to those who need it.
Enhancing your personal cybersecurity and protecting your identity are crucial steps. Besides that, If you know someone who may be a victim of cyberbullying, or if you’re a victim yourself, don’t be afraid to speak up. Confide in a loved one or someone you feel safe with to get the help you need.
Let’s all work together to make the internet a safer place for ourselves and the generations ahead.
- National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice
- Statista – Types of Online Harassment
- Brown University Study
- Ditch the Label – Annual Bullying Survey
- Pew Research Center – Teen Cyberbullying
- International Journal of Cyber Criminology
- Cyberbullying Research Center & Cartoon Network
- Statista – Cyberbullying by Gender
- Statista – Online Harassment Reasons
- National Crime Prevention Council
- Cyberbullying Research Center
- Media Education Research Journal
- Science Daily
- Statista – Cyber Bullying Awareness
- Pew Research Center – American Views on Online Harassment
- Pew Research Center – State of Online Harassment
- Statista – Global Opinion on Cyber Bullying