Cyberbullying Facts Summarizing What is Currently Known

Since 2002, we have surveyed over 20,000 middle and high school students in twelve different studies from over 98 different schools throughout the United States. The first two studies were online exploratory samples used to obtain a general understanding of the problem. As such, the numbers obtained are higher than average and not representative because they only include online teens who volunteered to participate. Our ten most recent studies, however, have all been random samples of known populations, so we can be fairly confident in the reliability and validity of the data obtained (click here for more information about the methodology). Overall, about 27% of the students we have surveyed over the last ten studies have told us that they have been cyberbullied at some point in their lifetimes. About 10% said they were cyberbullied in the 30 days preceding the survey. Similarly, about 16% of those who we surveyed admitted that they had cyberbullied others at some point in their lifetimes (about 6% in the most recent 30 days). More detailed information about our various studies can be found here.

Other Published Research

In 2015 we reviewed all of the published research we could find that included prevalence rates for cyberbullying. This work built on our earlier effort to quantitatively summarize published cyberbullying articles which we wrote about in our book Cyberbullying Prevention and Response: Expert Perspectives (see especially chapter 2). In total, we have now reviewed 234 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals. One hundred and twenty-two of those included cyberbullying victimization rates and 88 included cyberbullying offending rates. As you can see from the charts below (click to enlarge), rates across all of the studies ranged widely, from 0.4% to 92% for victimization and from 1.0% to 60.4% for offending. The average across all of these studies was remarkably similar to the rates that we found in our work (about 21% of teens have been cyberbullied and about 13% admitted to cyberbullying others at some point in their lifetimes). Taken as a whole, it seems safe to conclude that about one out of every four teens has experienced cyberbullying, and about one out of every six teens has done it to others.



A couple of other broad generalizations can be made about cyberbullying, based on recent research:

– Adolescent girls are just as likely, if not more likely than boys to experience cyberbullying (as a victim and offender) (Floros et al., 2013; Kowalski et al., 2008; Hinduja & Patchin, 2009; Schneider et al., 2012)

– Cyberbullying is related to low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, anger, frustration, and a variety of other emotional and psychological problems (Brighi et al., 2012; Hinduja & Patchin, 2010; Kowalski & Limber, 2013; Patchin & Hinduja, 2010; Wang, Nansel, & Iannotti, 2011)

– Cyberbullying is related to other issues in the ‘real world’ including school problems, anti-social behavior, substance use, and delinquency (Hinduja & Patchin, 2007; Hinduja & Patchin, 2008; Kowalski & Limber, 2013)

– Traditional bullying is still more common than cyberbullying (Lenhart, 2007; Smith et al., 2008; Wang, Nansel, & Iannotti, 2011)

– Traditional bullying and cyberbullying are closely related: those who are bullied at school are bullied online and those who bully at school bully online (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009; Kowalski & Limber, 2013; Ybarra, Diener-West, & Leaf, 2007).

Cyberbullying Trends

There are only three studies that we are aware of that have explored cyberbullying experiences of students across the United States over time. The first analysis have been conducted by our friends at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Examining the three waves of the Youth Internet Safety Survey (2000, 2005, 2010), they find a slight increase in cyberbullying behaviors over that time period (from 6% to 9% to 11%).

More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct their biennial survey of students across the U.S. in their Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS). This survey has long asked about bullying at school but in 2011 and 2013 they added a question about “electronic” bullying. In 2015 (the most recent year available), 15.5% of students reported that they were bullied electronically, compared to 14.8% in 2013 and 16.2% in 2011.

Finally, the School Crime Supplement (SCS) of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) also surveys students every other year about victimization at school (and online bullying). This source observed a slight increase from 2009 to 2011 (from 6.2% to 9%), but the rate also decreased to 6.7% in 2013. In the most recent iteration of this survey (conducted in 2015), 11.5% of students reported that they had been “bullied online or by text” though the way cyberbullying was measured in this year changed and therefore it cannot easily be compared to the other three years. So it is difficult from just looking at these few studies to determine if rates of cyberbullying is increasing or decreasing. We need to collect additional data points over time using consistent measures.

References

Brighi, A., Melotti, G., Guarini, A., Genta, M. L., Ortega, R., Mora-Merchán, J., Smith, P. K. and Thompson, F. (2012). Self-Esteem and Loneliness in Relation to Cyberbullying in Three European Countries, in Cyberbullying in the Global Playground: Research from International Perspectives (eds Q. Li, D. Cross and P. K. Smith), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

Floros, G.D., Simos, K. E., Fisoun, V., Dafouli, E., and Geroukalis, D. (2013). Adolescent online cyberbullying in Greece: The impact of parental online security practices, bonding, and online impulsiveness. Journal of School Health, 83(6), 445-453.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2007). Offline consequences of online victimization: School violence and delinquency. Journal of School Violence, 6(3), 89-112.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2008). Cyberbullying: An exploratory analysis of factors related to offending and victimization. Deviant Behavior, 29(2), 129-156.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2009). Bullying beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2012). Cyberbullying: Neither an Epidemic Nor a Rarity. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9(5), 539-543.

Kowalski, R. M. & Limber, S. P. (2013). Psychological, Physical, and Academic Correlates of Cyberbullying and Traditional Bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), S13-S20.

Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P. & Agatston, P.W. (2008). Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lenhart, A. (2007). Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Pew Internet & American Life Project, June
27. (http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/216/report_display.asp).

Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2010). Cyberbullying and self-esteem. Journal of School Health, 80(12), 614-621.

Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2013). Cyberbullying among Adolescents: Implications for Empirical Research. Journal of Adolescent Health 53(4), 431-432.

Schneider, S.K., O’Donnell, L, Stueve, A., and Coulter, R.W.S. (2012). Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), 171-177.

Smith, P. K., Mahdavi, J., Carvalho, M., Fisher, S., Russell, S., and Tippett, N. (2008). Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 49(4): 376–385.

Wang, J., Nansel, T. R., & Iannotti, R. J. (2011). Cyber Bullying and Traditional Bullying: Differential Association with Depression. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(4): 415–417.

Ybarra, M., Diener-West, M., & Leaf, P. J. (2007). Examining the Overlap in Internet Harassment and School Bullying: Implications for School Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41: S42–S50.

Ybarra, M. L., Espelage, D. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2007). The Co-occurrence of Internet Harassment and Unwanted Sexual Solicitation Victimization and Perpetration: Associations with Psychosocial Indicators, Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, S31-S41.

84 Comments

  1. i think that people who get cyberbullied get suicidal thoughts, start an eating disorder, do self-harm, become depressed, and sometimes commit suicide. we can prevent these terrible things by watching who we follow on the internet, who are friends are, and what social medias we use.

    • IT IS NOT A CYCLE LIKE THAT!!!! PLEASE GO DO RESEARCH ON THE CAUSE OF MENTAL ILLNESSES, THEN COME BACK AND RESPOND WITH SOMETHING LESS STUPID
      thnx <3

      • Come on, it's her opinion/view. Can you be a little less judgemental? This is an article on Cyberbullying, don't be one yourself.

      • wow your a jerk i'm positively sure that's how most MENTAL ILLNESSES happen is because of IDIOT people treating them like crap and it also dosen't help if people keep making fun of eachother just because of their own Damn insecurites an example "oh yeah your fat" or "just go kill yourself no one and nothing will miss you" and how about this one oh boy this one is a popular one but stupid "your just cutting BECAUSE your a self seeking whore" all of those things they start to believe because people keep shoving it in their faces. SO no she dosen't have to do research because you Said so and here's a fun fact what she said isn't STUPID you are because you DIDN'T do the research so there you have it bree . Your Friend Anonymous

        • I do not believe calling someone a "jerk" contributes to stoping cyberbullying. Your friend
          -That One Unknown Person

        • As to someone who has gone through Cyberbullying, its best to ignore them and move on. You are beautiful just the way you are, even though its hard to believe it.

      • People do get problems like anorexia nervosa(an eating disorder in which the person(s) affected starve themselves) from cyberbullying, so please do your research before rudely calling someone out and calling them stupid on a cyberbullying research site of all places…

        -An Anonymous Person

  2. I know some stories about people who committed suicide because of cyberbullying and its sad because I feel very,very sad for those people who committed suicide and its very sad.😢😢😢😢😢😢

    • I'm sorry but, this does not make sense to me
      ————————> "but instead they just keep it going and going"

  3. I think it's really upsetting knowing that people cyberbully and people don't do anything about it

    We need to stop this

  4. CyberBullying doesn't just happen to Kids. Adults, people you know will start out texting you with normal conversations then sending pictures of all sorts, personal, cartoons of all types, avitars of themselves, scriptures of all sorts an when it never ends, you ask them to stop and then all of a sudden you need god and then a whole new set of all the above starts with a spiritual twist. Everytime
    you pick up you phone there's a spiritual reason
    why you don't like the text anymore when all you
    want them to do is stop.

    n
    text why you don't want them sending them

  5. Some of these kids think that they are all mighty and powerfull while they are on Instagram or whatever social media they use. Now there are some who may say it to your face but most hide and only say things behind there phones or electronic devices. I was asked to write a essay on this, but the facts are there people look. This is a waste of people's time and can even cause death. It's a shame what kids and even adults to today. If your gonna say something like that say it to their face. Or grow up and be quiet.

  6. listen guys I've been bullied a lot and i have cyber bullied and the movie is so sad i wonder how someone can hack into a device and on to someones profile. That is just stupid who would do such a thing.

  7. Cyber bulling is a very sad thing i have been bullied all my life and its not fun. I have had bad thoughts about myself and its not a good feeling.
    # lets stop CYBERBULyLING

  8. Cyber bulling is a very sad thing i have been bullied all my life and its not fun. I have had bad thoughts about myself and its not a good feeling.
    # lets stop CYBERBULyLING
    WE can STOP this all we have to do is try

  9. I think people comitting suicide is really sad. I have been bullied to the point where I had those dark thoughts but luckily I got the help I needed. With the rise of technology, bullying became easier for people. It's easy to hide behind a computer or phone and bully someone instead of in their face. This only makes things worse! People should not engage in antisocial behaviors and degrade people online. It is so sad to know young people do this the most, its no wonder many young girls have self-esteem issues!

        • Uhmm… What about trust issues? I'm sure people have gained trust issues from cyberbullying, I know I've gained trust issues but I don't believe they are from being cyberbullied… actually I'm not sure if I've been cyberbullied (can't remember), though I do know that past events have caused my trust issues…

  10. What i think is they need to grow up and truthfully get a life (in a nice way) because no one wants there reputation to be a jerk or a
    bully.

  11. y can't people just stop being butts to people cuz everyone is different and that is something to celebrate not to be mean about. i am a friend, a sister and, a babysitter so i can't stand if all of my family and friends did that to themselves

  12. 3 million kids per month are absent from school due to bullying. 20% of kids cyberbullied think about suicide, and 1 in 10 attempt it. 4500 kids commit suicide each year. Suicide is the No. 3 killer of teens in the US.

  13. I don't know why people bully so much. Is it because that person has a lot of stuff that you don't have. Man its not right just let that person be if they want to do the stuff that they want to do just let them be it none of your business to make them feel bad.

  14. this is atrocious.. its gotta come to a stop. I personally have never been cyberbullied but I have been verbally bullied. Cyberbullying isn't right and to think that the people that its coming from think its funny to see someone upset and depressed its just sad.

    btw I'm only 13

  15. cyber bullying is fun (sarcastic) … no matter how hard we try to say "stop bullying" over and over again.. it will always go on and on, i have been bullied well until now .. cyberbullying, traditional bullying .. i cut my wrists everynight and hide it everytime i'm in school.. i always smile when someone is around me but cry at night. i don't have friends (the kids that smiles at me are not considered as friends .. i don't even know them) i even came to the point where i was about to hang my neck in my room, i wrote a letter but i realized .. yes, bullying, cyberbullying or whatever can give depression, anxiety, fear, low self-esteem but that doesn't mean we don't know how to stand up and control ourselves to let our braveness come out of its hiding place. We may not be perfect but we are still humans like those persons who bully us. We are strong, don't think you're weakness takes over your mind.

  16. bullying among teens is now very rampant on social media nowadys , for it is so easy for someone to degrade a victim online for they can do it annonomously . lets stop cyberbullying instead lets sp[read good vibes on on social media. Afterall, social media is created to make circle of friends not to badmouth and hurt someone else

  17. http://www.noteful.com/AnonymousSecretsConfessions.aspx the bullying that goes on, in this site is just not funny. someone on there has real hate for me and abuses me but if I fight back they sure can't hack that. please stop the bullying on these sites. its causing illness and upset when people are attacking cancer patients and welfare disability ill people and so on. and there is clearly one dirty stalker troll on there from fast forward tv show called magda she does nothing but abuse over her fat son.

  18. I agree, cyberbullying is bad and it always will be, and nothing is going to change that. I have experienced one of my friends go through cyberbullying and it wasn't a good thing to experience. It is like they think it is ok to do this because they are behind a screen and you and nobody else can get to them when they are doing this. Whoever is being bullied or cyber bullied, coming from my experience with kids bullying me and my friends, just don't listen to them. also, just know that there are people here that care about you and that you are not going to go through this alone. also, just incase you think about hurting your self, don't do it! Don't do it because it is not good and even though you think nobody cares about you, they do so just stop and think about that before you do anything. #stopbullyingandcyberbullying #believeinyourself
    You are perfect in every single way! Help me and others stop bullying at mine and your school. We can do it if we work together.

  19. Can someone put the depression rate from cyber bulling for the people doing school work, i think it would be helpful for a lot kids that have projects.

  20. Why cant people learn to just ignore others?I mean I do it and yes i have dealt with bullies i just learned to use common sense and block them or leave the chat.

  21. come on just ignore and block, its rlly not that hard, its actually pretty easy, just dont give them ammo (JUST LEARN NOT TO BE STUPID ABOUT IT) JUST BLOCK

  22. as a teen that has had suicidal thoughts (and i probably still do) i looked at some of this page then went down to the comments, its nice to see that people are openly against bullying even if some people are victims of bullying, im not quite yet sure why i may still be suicidal but if you want to know why i have yet to have done it… it is because i have thought of who all may be devastated by my actions, what i may miss, and how it would change anything. (i came to this site for a essay i have to write in a class, i dont check my email much)

    • Life gets better, it really does. You will hopefully realize that your future can be really bright, and that there will always be haters, and that people can be there for you and help you through difficult seasons if you let them. It gets better. Figure out what you love, what you enjoy, what makes you happy, and go after those things. We are in your corner. Really.

      • I already realize that but right know my problem mainly is that I am unsure of what the thoughts in the back of my head are. I never have truly had friends, only recently I have figured out who near me I might be able to trust. My problem with trust is that i don't even really trust myself, how could one trust some one if they don't trust themselves? As you can tell I do stay up at night which gives me time to think, I truly do over think some things. I use video games to escape my thoughts, sometimes certain parts of songs get stuck in my head. If you want an example of part of a song i could easily give you the 9 words that got stuck on repeat in my head first. For now here's something my own head has come up with: death is fun, death is life, fun will die, but so will life. That is something I can't manage to get out of my head. I will openly admit that I have memories I can't seem to let go of although I need to. Yet I tell some people "Don't dwell on the past" I suppose not dwelling could've lead to my state…

  23. everyone needs to calm down, i've had a hard time with this stuff to i just learn to ignore most of the time, its easy

    • Your right it is easy to ignore things like these but some people are either not used to it or are too sensitive because they have had a incredibly shielded life. I assume you realize this but you must remember it.

  24. I believe that cyberbullying is a result of something that happened to the culprit that made them upset about themselves and they are jealous that other people feel better about themselves. Don't get me wrong… cyberbullying is wrong on all levels but i believe that we need to reach out and to the victimizers and find out why they acted out to their peers.

  25. I believe that cyberbullying is a result of something that happened to the culprit that made them upset about themselves and they are jealous that other people feel better about themselves. Don't get me wrong… it is wrong on all levels but i believe that we need to reach out and to the victimizers and find out why they acted out to their peers.

  26. coming from someone has tried killing themselves its really had to wake up and get out of bed but you just don't want to go throw and you know i have had some days were i can get out of bed to go pee because i was to depressed to get up its hard and i want to say that it will get better i know there mite be some bad day but that's just one or two days it will get better.

  27. it is sad to say people kill themself because of cyber bullying or even bullying. But i promise it will get better! It just takes some time to recover from something like this. As much as you want to you have to know that people are there for you and always will. I PROMISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Unfortunately some of us get better then something comes along and messes up our lives but we have to continue to push through it.

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