Cyberbullying facts: What the research shows
Cyberbullying is a key focus of my new YA novel True Shoes. The facts below, summarizing key findings of current research into this fast-emerging issue, are from the results of seven online surveys and in-school studies conducted between 2004 and 2010 by the Cyberbullying Research Center.
Between 19-41% of young people between 11-18 years old say they’ve been the targets of cyberbullying. 11.5-20% of young people said they had cyberbullied someone else.
Cyberbulling appears to be most common among middle schoolers. 30% of middle schoolers said they had been targeted twice or more in the past 30 days. 22% said they had cyberbullied someone twice or more in the past 30 days.
In a 2010 survey of 4,441 randomly sampled 10-18-year-olds in 37 schools, the following percentages reported that they’d been targets of these behaviors:
• “Mean or hurtful comments online,” 14.3%.
• Rumors online, 13.3%.
• “Threatened to hurt me through a cell phone text,” 8.4%.
• “Threatened to hurt me online,” 7.2%.
• “Pretended to be me online,” 6.7%.
• “Posted a mean or hurtful picture online of me,” 5%.
Girls tend to be more involved with cyberbullying than boys. The 2010 survey found these differences:
• “Someone posted mean or hurtful comments online” — girls 18.2%, boys 10.5%.
• “I have cyberbullied others” — girls 21.3%, boys 17.5%.
• “I spread rumors online about others” — girls 7.4%, boys 6.3%.
• “I posted a mean/hurtful picture online” — boys 4.6%, girls 3.1%.
Four out of five girls who’ve been the targets of online bullying knew who was doing it. 31% said it was a friend from school; 36% said it was “someone else from school”; 28% said it was “someone from a chat room.”
Compared to young people who have not been involved in cyberbullying, both targets and offenders report significantly lower rates of self-esteem. Young people who say they’re “angry or frustrated” are much more likely to engage in various types of bullying, including cyberbullying.
Young people who self-identify as “non-heterosexual” are much more likely to have been targets of cyberbullying than those who say they’re heterosexual. Among boys, the rates are 30% vs. 16%; among girls, 38% vs. 25%.
“Cyberbullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide compared to youth who had not experienced cyberbullying,” the Research Center reports.