*This list of cyberbullying statistics from 2018-2020 is regularly updated with the latest facts, figures and trends.

All technology these days produces both good results and notable consequences. The internet is increasingly a perfect case study for this idea. While better connecting the world and democratizing information, the internet has also allowed individuals to hide behind masks of anonymity. The “faceless evil” of the internet is a growing threat for teens, specifically when it comes cyberbullying. Despite a more recent ramping up of awareness campaigns, cyberbullying facts and statistics indicate the problem is not going away anytime soon.

Cyberbullying around the world

We analyzed the results of an Ipsos international survey of adults in 28 countries which reveal an increasing number of parents have children who have experienced some form of cyberbullying.

In total 20,793 interviews were conducted between March 23 – April 6, 2018, among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries.

Of particular interest are Russia and Japan. In both countries, parents expressed extremely high levels of confidence that their children did not experience cyberbullying of any kind.

Meanwhile, Indian parents remained among the highest to express confidence that their children were cyberbullied at least sometimes, a number that only grew from 2011 to 2018. Across Europe and the Americas, it also appears more parents are either becoming aware of their children’s negative experiences with cyberbullying, or their children are increasingly experiencing such attacks online.

Percentage of parents that report their child has been a victim of cyberbullying. 2011-2018 Survey Results
United States263415
South Africa262510
Saudi Arabia191718
Great Britain181511
South Korea1398

Global perspectives on cyberbullying

The following chart includes additional perspectives and insight into cyberbullying from a global scale, including:

    • Percent of respondents aware of cyberbullying as a concept
    • Number of countries responding where specific anti-bullying laws exist
    • Respondents who believe current laws are enough to handle cyberbullying cases.

Cyberbullying facts and statistics for 2018-2020

All technology these days produces both good results and notable consequences. The internet is increasingly a perfect case study for this idea. While better connecting the world and democratizing information, the internet has also allowed individuals to hide behind masks of anonymity. The “faceless evil” of the internet is a growing threat for teens, specifically when it comes cyberbullying. Despite a more recent ramping up of awareness campaigns, cyberbullying facts and statistics indicate the problem is not going away anytime soon.

1. 60 percent of parents with children aged 14 to 18 reported them being bullied

More parents than ever report that their children are getting bullied both at school or online. Comparitech conducted a survey of over 1,000 parents of children over the age of 5.

We found:

  • 47.7% of parents with children ages 6-10 reported their children were bullied
  • 56.4% of parents with children ages 11-13 reported their children were bullied
  • 59.9% of parents with children ages 14-18 reported their children were bullied
  • 54.3% of parents with children ages 19 and older reported their children were bullied

2. One-fifth of all bullying occurs through social media

Although the vast majority of parents reported the bullying occurring in school, 19.2% stated that bullying occurred through social media sites and apps. A further 11% indicated bullying occurred through text messages, while 7.9% identified video games as a source. Meanwhile, 6.8% reported bullying occurred on non-social media websites, while 3.3% indicated the bullying occurred through email.

Some parents even witnessed cyberbullying occur, with 10.5% of parents indicating they observed the cyberbullying themselves.

3. Most parents respond proactively after their children are cyberbullied

There are a large number of ways parents can respond to cyberbullying, but it appears the most common response is to talk to children about online safety.

Comparitech found 59.4% of parents talked to their children about internet safety and safe practices after cyberbullying occurred. Parents may need to take more steps to intervene, however, as only 43.4% identified adjusting parental controls to block offenders, only 33% implemented new rules for technology use, and only 40.6% saved the evidence for investigators.

Very few parents (just 34.9%) notified their child’s school about cyberbullying. And a small number (10.4%) took the nuclear option and completely took away their child’s technology in response.

4. Most teens have now experienced cyberbullying in some way

A 2018 Pew Research study found that a majority of teens (59%) experienced some form of cyberbullying. According to the study, both online harassment and online bullying occur at particularly high rates.

The most common specific types of cyberbullying teens experience include:

  • Offensive name-calling (42%)
  • Spreading of false rumors (32%)
  • Receiving explicit images they didn’t ask for (25%)
  • Constant asking of who they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re with by someone other than a parent (21%)
  • Physical threats (16%)
  • Having explicit images shared without their consent (7%)
pew cyberbullying study
Source: Pew Research

Additionally, according to a decade-long Florida Atlantic University study of 20,000 middle and high school students, 70% of students said that someone spread rumors about them online.

5. Self-reported data results in mixed results

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, which has been collecting data on the subject since 2002,  an average of 28% of teens report being cyberbullied.

The differences in the reported number of victims between the Pew Research Center and Cyberbullying Research Center are stark, but present an inherent problem with self-reported data related to cyberbullying. Because of the difficulty of gathering data and the inconsistencies in how respondents will answer questions (as well as differences in how and in what format questions are asked), it’s hard to pin down the exact number of young adults who have been cyberbullied at some point in their lives. 

The problem could be worse, or less series, than either research center identifies.

6. Google Trends data shows increasing concern over cyberbullying

Google Trends data indicates much more attention is focused on cyberbullying than ever before. The volume of worldwide searches for “cyberbullying” increased threefold since 2004:

7. Cyberbullying may be contributing to the increase in youth suicides

There has been a troubling rise in teen suicide rates in the past decade. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among  US residents aged 10 to 24.

cyberbullying stats
Source: NCHS

Although the NCHS report, which was released in October 2019, does not suggest a reason for the increase in suicides, cyberbullying may indeed be part of the equation. One 2018 study found that young adults under the age of 25 who were victimized by cyberbullying were twice as likely to commit suicide or self-harm in other ways.

Additionally, research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting revealed the number of children admitted to hospitals for attempted suicide or expressing suicidal thoughts doubled between 2008 and 2015. Much of the rise is linked to an increase in cyberbullying.

More teen suicides are also now attributed in some way to cyberbullying (1, 2, 3) than ever before. Furthermore, young males are most likely to commit suicide than females, although teen suicides overall were up between 2000 and 2017

8. Bullying has surprising impacts on identity fraud

It appears bullying has effects beyond self-harm. Javelin Research finds that children who are bullied are 9 times more likely to be the victims of identity fraud as well.

cyberbullying 2018

9. Instagram may be the worst social media site for cyberbullying

Data from numerous studies indicate that social media is now the favored medium for cyberbullies. Other formats are still in use as well, however, including text messaging and internet forums such as Reddit. Nevertheless, it appears that Instagram is possibly the worst. 

A study from the UK anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label found that 42% of surveyed young adults experienced cyberbullying on Instagram (PDF). That was compared to 37% on Facebook and 31% on Snapchat. Perhaps surprisingly, only 9% reported having experienced cyberbullying on Twitter.

Most respondents also believe that social media networks do not do enough to prevent cyberbullying from occurring on their platforms. Nearly three-fourths (71%) stated that they believe these platforms don’t do enough to protect users from negative interactions.

10. Most young adults believe cyberbullying is not normal or acceptable behavior

The same survey which found that Instagram to be a bullying minefield for young adults also revealed young adults’ perceptions on the acceptability of bullying in general.

The Ditch the Label survey found 77% of young adults do not consider bullying to be simply “part of growing up”.  Most (62%) also believe hurtful online comments are just as bad as those made offline. And in a nod to the idea that celebrities are still human, 70% strongly disagree with the idea that its ok to send nasty Tweets to famous personalities.

All the same, personal perspectives on how to treat others don’t always result in positive behavior. Hypocrisy tends to rule the day, as the Ditch the Label survey also found that 69% of its respondents admitted to doing something abusive to another person online. One study found that adolescents who engaged in cyberbullying were more likely to be perceived as “popular” by their peers. 

11. Cyberbullying extends to online gaming, as well

Social media tends to eat up most of the attention related to cyberbullying, but it can occur across any online medium, including online gaming.  In a survey of parents and adults across Asia, 79% reported that either their child or a child they know had been threatened with physical harm while playing online games. 

Meanwhile, a survey of over 2,000 adolescents found that over one-third experienced bullying in mobile games.  And a Ditch the Label survey of over 2,500 young adults found 53% reported to be victims of bullying in online gaming environments, while over 70% believe bullying in online games should be taken more seriously.

cyberbulying in online games
Source: Ditch the Label

Online gaming bullying can extend beyond just hurtful words. It can also include the dangerous activity known as swatting, in perpetrators locate the home address of the victim and make a false criminal complaint to the victim’s local police, who then “send in the SWAT team” as a response. Swatting has resulted in the shooting death of innocent victims, making it a particularly troubling practice more commonly associated with the gaming community.

12. Cell phone bans in school don’t prevent cyberbullying

In early 2019, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released data showing that schools where cell phones were disallowed also had a higher number of principal-reported cases of cyberbullying.

13. Cyberbullying impacts sleeping habits

A 2019 study found teens who were cyberbullied were also more likely to suffer from poor sleep and depression. This finding was echoed in Ditch the Label’s 2019 report, in which 45% of respondents reported feeling depressed.

14. Being connected to peers and family helps reduce cyberbullying

A 2018 study found that parents want to be involved in helping to prevent and solve cyberbullying, but don’t know how. The study also found teens often believe cyberbullying is normal and don’t want parents to intervene.

Other research indicates that forming stronger bonds with their kids could be an effective way to help prevent bullying.  An online survey of South Australian teens aged 12-17 found that social connectedness significantly helped reduce the impact of cyberbullying.

And considering roughly 64% of students who claimed to have been cyberbullied explained that it negatively impacted both their feelings of safety and ability to learn at school, an increase in social connectedness could make a significant impact students’ comfort in the classroom. 

15. Female and LGTBQ+ cyberbullying victims are common

Data shows that cyberbullying is a prevalent issue among female adolescents and those in the LGTBQ+ community.

Girls are more likely to be victims of cybercrime (except for those bullied within the last 30 days), while boys are more likely to be cyberbullies. There’s also a significant cross-over between in-person and online bullying. Researchers found 83% of students who had been bullied online in the last 30 days had also been bullied at school. Meanwhile, 69% of students who admitted to bullying others online had also recently bullied others at school.  

A growing body of research also indicates that those who identify as LGBTQ+ not only face more significant bullying in person but are also more likely to be bullied online compared to those who identify as heterosexual. The consequences of this kind of treatment also lead to an increased rate of suicide among some LGBTQ communities and may result in decreased educational attainment.

  • Over 27.1% of LGBTQ teens have been cyberbullied, compared to 13.3% of their heterosexual peers. (Source: CDC)
  • A larger number of LGBTQ teens (10%) report not attending schools to avoid bullying, compared to 6.1 percent of heterosexual teens, ultimately leading to lower educational attainment. (Source: CDC)
  • Over 1/5 of all teens (22%) who report that they are “not sure” of their sexual orientation reported being cyberbullied. (Source: CDC)
  • Black LGTBQ youth are more likely to face mental health issues due to cyberbullying and other forms of bullying when compared to non-black LGTBQ youth and youth who identify as heterosexual.  An American University study of CDC data found 56% of black LGTBQ youth are at risk for depression. (Source: American University)
  • A large number of black LGBTQ youths experience suicidal thoughts. American University found 38% had suicidal thoughts within the past year, compared to heterosexual youth. (Source: American University)
  • A 2018 study found that LGBTQ youth experienced cyber victimization as they aged, while heterosexual youth did not experience this increase. (Source: Computers in Human Behavior)
  • A study of 1,031 adolescents found that “sexual orientation only demographic factor to strongly correlate with cyberbullying involvement or to correlate with negative mental health symptoms”. (Source: Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma)

A need for more broad-reaching and open research

One common theme emerged as we researched various aspects of cyberbullying—a stunning lack of data. This is not to say that research on cyberbullying isn’t there. Even a simple search in research databases will reveal thousands of articles covering the topic in some form. However, most research on cyberbullying is either small in scale or lacking in depth. Most research is also based on surveys, resulting in a large variation in the results from survey to survey.

The Florida Atlantic University study represents one of the best sources of information to date. However, more is needed, including a meta-analysis of the data gathered from many other sources. Until then, publically available cyberbullying statistics paint an incomplete picture of the ongoing issue.

Past research still holds value

Despite a lack of consistent publicly or easily-accessible data, a plethora of data from beyond 2015 can still help shed some valuable light on the issue. Past research and statistics reveal where cyberbullying has been and help reflect on why this issue is still a concern today.

Older data on cyberbullying include the following:

  • Most teenagers (over 80%) now use a mobile device regularly, opening them up to new avenues for bullying. (Source: Bullying Statistics)
  • Half of all young adults have experienced cyberbullying in some form. A further 10-20% reported experiencing it regularly. (Source: Bullying Statistics)
  • Cyberbullying and suicide may be linked in some ways. Around 80% of youth that commits suicide have depressive thoughts. Cyberbullying often leads to more suicidal thoughts than traditional bullying. (Source: JAMA Pediatrics)
  • More than half of all teens who use social media have witnessed cyberbullying. (Source: NoBullying.com)
  • Over 50% of surveyed teens say they never confide in their parents after being victimized by cyberbullies. (Source: NoBullying.com)
  • The website Nobullying.com recorded over 9.3 million visits in 2016 from people seeking help with bullying, cyberbullying and online safety. (Source: NoBullying.com)
  • Almost 43 percent of kids have been cyberbully victims. Around 25 percent have been victimized more than once. (Source: DoSomething.org)
Source: DoSomething.org
  • Nine out of 10 teens who have been bullied through social media report that they’ve ignored it. A further 84% said they’ve seen others attempt to stop cyberbullies. (Source: DoSomething.org)
  • A UK survey of more than 10,000 youths discovered that 69% reported doing something about abusive online behavior directed toward another person. (Source: DoSomething.org)
  • The same U.K. survey also discovered that 71% of young adults believe social networks do not do enough to prevent cyberbullying. (Source: DoSomething.org)

Looking for more internet-related stats? Check out our roundup of identity theft stats and facts for 2017 -2019, or our Cybercrime statistics which runs to 100+ facts and figures.