Why can’t people on the internet just learn to get along?
Whether it’s bullying between schoolmates, threats to strangers, or online harassment, everyone has experienced the dark side of the internet at one stage or another. But even so, the recent cyberbullying facts are nothing short of frightening. Given our reliance on online communication, nobody is safe.
The thing is:
Appreciating the true extent of a problem is the first step to dealing with it. Awareness of the latest cyberbullying statistics will ensure you’re ready to identify the dangers and protect yourself and your loved ones.
Do you want to stay one step ahead of the cyberbullies? If so, the following stats are just the thing for you.
Eye-Opening Cyberbullying Statistics
- Over 1 in 3 online users have been cyberbullied.
- Vulnerable people target most, including up to 75% of autistic people.
- Instagram is the most targeted social media platform, with 42% of users experiencing abuse.
- Only 1 in 10 youth victims report cyberbullying to a parent.
- Cyberbullying increases self-harm rates by over double
Cyberbullying Growth and Victims
Let’s take a look at the worrying statistics on how cyberbullying has grown into a genuine global epidemic by identifying who and how many people are affected by the issues.
1. Over 1 in 3 people have been cyberbullied.
Around 34% of individuals admit to being the victim of cyberbullying in their lifetime, with half stating that they have been affected by at least one issue under the cyberbullying definition within the past 30 days.
The study shows a 100% increase from 2007 levels, which underlines how quickly online bullying has escalated from a problem to a serious epidemic.
With over 4.3 billion internet users around the world, nearly 1.5 billion have suffered from threatening behavior.
2. Around 83% of youth cyberbullying victims have suffered real-life abuse.
A major factor in the problematic nature of cyberbullying is that it often spills over into real-world interactions. Over four in five young victims confirm they have also been targeted in real-life situations.
As a result, victims of internet bullying often feel they can’t escape from the situation. Adults who have been cyberbullied by colleagues may see it transfer to the real world.
This also highlights how a lot of cyberbullying comes from local people and isn’t limited to attacks from strangers online.
3. 69% of individuals admit to abusive online actions.
If you thought that the statistics on cyberbullying victimization were bad, the cyberbullying facts regarding how many people have partaken in cyberbullying activities are a real eye-opener. Almost 7 in 10 online users admit to acting inappropriately.
Only 15% think it comes under the cyberbullying definition, highlighting that a lack of education on the subject is a serious issue.
When compared to statistics associated with bullying in the physical world, the severity of the issue is clear.
4. Under 20% of cyberbullying cases are reported to the officials.
Fewer than 1 in 5 cases of incidents that break cyberbullying laws are actually reported to the police, and even fewer are investigated. So, cyberbullies do not see any risk in what they are doing due to the almost non-existent repercussions.
And that’s not all:
The figure of under 20% only relates to the serious instances, and there are millions of threatening messages and other less severe issues that go untreated.
Without a doubt, this has played a role in the continued rise of cyberbullying actions.
Statistics On Cyberbullying Victim Demographics
Nobody is safe from cyberbullying, but some audiences are more prone than others. It’s through no fault of their own, but awareness of the facts about cyberbullying across different groups is crucial.
5. Girls are at greater risk of cyberbullying than boys.
According to recent cyberbullying research, over 1 in 3 (36%) of girls have admitted to experiencing at least one type of cyberbullying. This is considerably higher than the male cyberbullying statistics of just over 1 in 4 (26%). Clearly, girls are at greater risk of online harassment from strangers and people they know in real life.
There are many potential reasons for this, including that the female audience are statistically more likely to suffer online sexual harassment. Meanwhile, some audiences may not boast a full education on what constitutes cyberbullying.
Even so, both genders are in peril.
6. LGBTQ online users are at even greater risk.
Contrasts between different demographics aren’t restricted to gender either. Individuals who identify as being a part of the LGBTQ community are significantly more vulnerable, with over 50% stating they have been subjected to online abuse and cyberbullying.
LGBTQ are shown to be at increased risk of cyberbullying from strangers, too, including attempts at public humiliation and embarrassment.
While social understanding of LGBTQ issues increases, so does the abuse.
7. Cultural differences are still a major source of online bullying.
Studies show that 17% of cyberbullying cases can be attributed to race, while 11% is linked to religion. With 61% of incidents being borne out of appearances, a significant number of those issues come from cultural aspects and heritage.
These are some of the most common sources of breaking cyberbullying laws, but very few are dealt with in a strong manner.
While the cyberbullying stats primarily focus on adolescents, they extend to older generations.
8. Financial status accounts for 15% of cyberbullying.
Over 1 in 7 cases of cyberbullying are rooted in financial status. The significance of this is that poverty is already a major factor in encouraging a host of mental and physical health problems. Cyberbullying exasperates those issues and leaves no escape for victims.
This is also one of the sources of cyberbullying that continues into adulthood, with cyberbullies often trying to assert their financial status as a sense of power.
Financially unstable people are often at greater risk of financial bullying scams.
9. Up to 75% of autistic people are ridiculed.
Worrying, 3 in 4 autistic children and adults will receive ridicule from online bullies. Physical defects (70%) and learning difficulties (52%) aren’t far behind, meaning that the most vulnerable are often targeted by strangers and perpetrators they know in real life.
The fact that this demographic is twice as likely to receive threats is mirrored by manipulation from bullies through bribery, catfishing, and similar tactics.
It is a situation that encapsulates the dark nature of cyberbullying and the concept that nobody is safe.
Which brings us to:
Cyberbullying On Social Media Statistics
Social media is at the heart of various types of bullying online. Here are some of the shocking cyberbullying statistics surrounding the various platforms.
10. Instagram is the worst culprit.
Social media cyberbullying occurs across multiple platforms, with the most common sources being Instagram (42% of victims), Facebook (37%), Snapchat (31%), WhatsApp (12%), YouTube (10%), and Twitter (9%). However, cyberbullying is shown to occur across other platforms, too.
Here’s the scoop:
Common forms of abuse on those channels include private abuse, ganging up, online harassment or pressure, and public shaming. This type of behavior often occurs across multiple platforms.
Social media abuse is prevalent from both strangers and people known in real life.
11. 5% of perpetrators have set up fake profiles.
Over 1 in 20 people who have bullied someone online have done so by setting up fake profiles before sending abusive messages. This is also a very popular method of catfishing, sextortion, and other forms of tricking victims.
This can also be a way for perpetrators to continue cyberstalking when the victim has blocked other accounts. Most social media channels allow for profile creation without any form of ID verification.
The cyberstalking laws are transparent, but it’s far from clear how to stop cyberbullying.
12. Nearly one-quarter of victims quit social media.
Despite the negative elements, social media can have a hugely positive impact on a person’s life. Sadly, 24% of social media bullying victims don’t get to experience them because they feel forced into quitting the social media channels as an escape.
We can attribute this partly to the fact that 71% of social media users do not believe social media platforms take enough action to fight cyberbullying.
Users feel isolated and have two choices – endure the abuse or quit altogether.
13. Sexual harassment hits 20% of kids and even more young adults.
Sexual assault statistics show that roughly 1 in 5 teens have sent sexually suggestive photos of themselves to people on social media. Whether the recipient is someone they know or a stranger posing as someone else, the images can come back to haunt them.
The threat of having those photos leaked is a major concern for victims of this type of social media bullying. The direct dangers of speaking to a false account are clear too.
Meanwhile, the threat of revenge porn can be a major worry for adult victims.
14. Over 27% of people believe social media has increased bullying.
Nearly 3 in 10 people state that social media has significantly increased the presence of bullying. This extends beyond bullying on social media to include online abuse via messaging as well as face-to-face abuse.
The thing is:
Many bullies feel doing it online is easier to get away with, while 4 in 5 victims believe perpetrators use it for their own entertainment.
In addition to the increased levels of bullying, this encourages group bullying and various other situations.
Types of Cyberbullying
While many people naturally equate cyberbullying with hurtful comments to classmates, colleagues, or ex-lovers, cyberbullying takes many forms.
15. Identity theft affects 1 in 10.
Over 10.1% of online bullying victims have had someone impersonate them online, identity theft statistics suggest. Using their photos and making up profiles can land a victim in a lot of trouble. For children, it can be used to end friendships or land them in trouble.
For older web users, it can lead to breaking up intimate relationships, causing jeopardy at work, or inflicting financial losses on the victim.
The emotional damage caused by someone posing as you can also be vast.
16. At least 79% of video game players receive abusive messages.
Video games are known to promote aggression, which often leads to the bullying of other players. Studies showed that 79% of Asian parents were aware of their children being sent abusive messages while playing online games. Those levels are consistent across the board.
The abusive messages often include physical threats and promises to cause harm while other dangers like hacking and releasing private info aren’t uncommon.
This threatening nature is prevalent for gamers but can spill into other platforms.
17. 24% of catfishing profiles involve people pretending to be the opposite sex.
Over 10% of online dating profiles are fake, with nearly 1 in 4 catfishers posing as the opposite hoping to use sextortion tactics and the threat of public humiliation to get money and other benefits. The embarrassment has led many victims to commit suicide.
Common catfishing strategies include enticing victims into sending money, threatening to go public with private photos, or exposing their intended cheating.
This is one of the most common forms of cyberbullying among adults, and many feel unable to discuss it.
18. Cyberstalking has been on the rise each year.
The ratio of victims is, unsurprisingly, weighted 60%-40%, with women being at a greater threat. However, the number of cases facing both genders increases each year, with multi-platform stalking on the rise.
This can lead to anxiety and paranoia for the victim. Others will fall into the trap of sending inappropriate materials as requested.
Millions are left feeling unsafe as a result of this problem.
Cyberbullying and Children
Cyberbullying is a serious issue for people of all ages, but children are at even greater risk, as they won’t know how to act. Given the amount of time they spend online, the situation is very alarming indeed.
19. Over 4 in 10 students are bullied frequently.
Over 40.6% of students report frequent involvement with bullying, meaning that some form of harassment has occurred at least twice within the past month. Worryingly, 9.4% admit to being the perpetrator as well as the victim on a frequent basis.
Cyberbullying takes place across all internet-enabled devices, which often sees victims subjected to the abuse daily.
The figures continue to climb, showing that cyberbullying is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
20. Private info made public is the most common problem.
Over 32% of teenagers confirm that private info being made public is an issue they’ve faced. This includes forwarding private messages (15%), spreading stories about a person (13%), receiving threatening messages (13%), and sharing embarrassing photos (6%).
While only one in three teens believe that bullying is more likely to place online than offline, studies also show that online bullying often occurs more regularly.
The sharing of private info is yet another common source of cyberbullying for adults.
21. Only 1 In 10 cyberbullying child victims will report it to an adult.
While millions of children receive threats every single day, just 10% will actually tell a parent, teacher, or adult in a position of authority. The vast majority suffer in silence, allowing themselves to be bullied for weeks, months, or even years.
Unlike other forms of bullying, it’s very difficult to see bullying occur. However, the symptoms are evident, which is something parents and other adults should look to identify.
Here’s the kicker:
While most are aware of cyberbullying, they do not realize how close to their home it is.
22. Cyberbullying makes victims 2.3x more likely to self-harm or commit suicide.
Studies show that victims of cyberbullying are considerably more likely to fall into the cycle of self-harm or commit suicide. Perpetrators are also 20% more likely to self-harm, while there’s a strong correlation between cyberbullying and depression, particularly in males.
Victims of cyberbullying are shown to display those dangers regardless of how they have been cyberbullied, whether they are being instructed to self-harm or have been subjected to the sharing of private messages and photos.
It may be a digital problem, but the repercussions are a real-world danger.
23. 70% of child victims believe cyberbullying has affected their social life.
A huge 7 in 10 children that suffer from cyberbullying admit that it has had a negative impact on their social life. Whether it’s the development of social anxiety, a lack of confidence, avoiding situations, or being more reserved, the problems are hugely significant.
Furthermore, 64% of cyberbullying victims believe that it has impacted their academic achievement, partly due to the distractions that it causes.
Even for thick-skinned victims who won’t fall into the cycle of self-harm, cyberbullying is a major concern.
Cyberbullying and Other Problems
One of the most worrying things about cyberbullying is that it leads to other issues. Aside from the increased threat of self-harm, it can be closely linked to a host of alternative problems.
24. Child victims of cyberbullying are 9x more likely to suffer identity theft.
The cyberbullying statistics for 2018 show that individuals who have suffered cyberbullying are also at a much bigger threat of child identity theft than minors who have not been bullied. This can lead to serious consequences for their financial, emotional, and physical welfare.
25. Cyberbullying leads to mental health issues.
There is a clear link between cyberbullying and depression among teens, and older demographics are also at risk. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, and paranoia are among the most likely problems.
The Final Word
Cyberbullying is a serious issue that continues to worsen by the year. The cyberbullying statistics show that it affects a wide range of demographics in an array of different ways. Given the many, many repercussions, an investment in education is the most important feature by far.
At the end of the day:
Whether it’s identifying scams, symptoms in loved ones, or any related issue, knowledge truly is power. Take care!