Be the Change, Stop Bullying & Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying and Social Media


A greater proportion of middle school students are now using Instagram compared to Facebook (Patchin, 2015).

Approximately 34% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime (Patchin, 2015).

15% of students admitted to cyberbullying others during their lifetime (Patchin, 2015).

Adolescent girls are more likely to have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime (40.6% compared to 28.2%). The type of cyberbullying tends to be different among gender; girls are more likely to post mean comments online while boys are more likely to post hurtful pictures or videos online (Patchin, 2015).

As of 2015, 92% of teens (13-17) reported going online daily and 24% reported going online “constantly” (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2017).

Social media is associated with mental health problems, which includes depression, sleep disturbances, and eating concerns, among young adults (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2017).

Of the 60% of parents who reported checking their teen’s social medial profiles, 35% knew the password to one or more of their teen’s social media accounts, and 39% used parental controls at least once (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2017).

Those who are cyberbullied are also likely to be bullied offline (Hamm, Newton, & Chisholm, 2015).

Cyberbullying has negative effects on victims, such as lowering self-esteem, increasing depression and producing feelings of powerlessness (Anderson, Bresnahan, & Musatics, 2014).

Among overweight adolescents, 61% have received mean or embarrassing posts online and 59% have received mean texts, e-mails or instant messages (Anderson, Bresnahan, & Musatics, 2014).

Because the National Crime Victimization Survey data is weighted to represent the entire enrolled 9th-12th grade student population, it is estimated that about 2.2 million students experienced cyberbullying in 2011. Of the 9% of students that reported being cyberbullied in the National Crime Victimization Survey compared to 6.2% in 2009 (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2013):

  • 71.9% reported being cyberbullied once or twice in the school year
  • 19.6% reported once or twice a month
  • 5.3% reported once or twice a week
  • 3.1% reported almost everyday


When asked about cyberbullying in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCES, 2013):

  • 3.6% of students reported being cyberbullied with hurtful information on the internet
  • 1.1% reported private information being purposely shared
  • 1.9% reported unwanted contact via e-mail
  • 2.7% reported unwanted contact via instant messaging
  • 4.4% reported unwanted contact via text messaging


Of the students that reported cyberbullying (Zweig, Dank, Lachman & Yahner, 2013):

  • 25% of teens on social media reported having an experience resulting in a face-to-face confrontation with someone.
  • 13% reported concern about having to go to school the next day.
  • 12% reported being called names they didn’t like via text messages.
  • 11% received a text message from another student intended to hurt their feelings.
  • 8 % reported having physical altercations with someone because of something that occurred on a social network site. 
  • 6%reported another student sending an instant message or chat to hurt their feelings.
  • 4% reported having something put on a profile page to hurt their feelings.
  • 3% reported receiving a nasty email from another student.


As of 2010, 8% of public schools reported that cyberbullying had occurred among students daily or at least once a week at school or away from school. Of the schools who reported having cyberbullying situations, 4% reported that the school environment was affected by cyberbullying (U.S. Department of Education & U.S. Department of Justice of Justice Programs, 2013).

From 2006-2012, reports show teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

Since 2011, teen Twitter use has grown significantly from 16% to 24% (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

In focus group discussion, teens indicated they dislike the increasing adult presence, excessive sharing, and stressful “drama” on Facebook (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

60% of teen Facebook users keep their profiles private and most report high levels of confidence in their ability to manage their account settings (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

Teen social media users do not express a high level of concern (9%) about third-party access to their data (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

As of 2012, teen social media users are sharing more personal information in their profiles (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013):

  • 91% post a photo of themselves (up from 79% in 2006)
  • 71% post their school name (up from 49% in 2006)
  • 71% post the city or town where they live (up from 61% in 2006)
  • 53% post their email address (up from 29% in 2006)
  • 20% post their cell phone number (up from 2% in 2006)


Older teen social media users (14-17) more frequently share certain types of information on their profiles than younger teen social media users (12-13) (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013):

  • Photos of themselves (94% vs. 82% of young teens)
  • Their school name (76% vs. 56% of young teens)
  • Their relationship status (66% vs. 50% of young teens)
  • Their cell phone number (23% vs. 11% of young teens)


16% of teen social media users have set up their profile to automatically include their location in their posts (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

26% of teen social media posts include false information like a fake name, age, or location to help protect their privacy (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

Teens who are concerned about third party access to their personal information are also more likely to engage in online reputation management (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

Among teen social media users, those who are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about third party access, are more likely to (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013):

  • Delete comments that others have made on their profile (61%)
  • Untag themselves in photos (52%)
  • Delete or deactivate their profile or account (38%)
  • Post updates, comments, photos, or videos that they later regret (26%)


1 in 6 online teens say they have been contacted online by someone they did not know in a way that made them feel scared or uncomfortable (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

More than 57% of internet-using teens have decided not to post content online over reputation concerns (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

44% of youth have lied about their age to gain access to restricted websites and online accounts (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013).

95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of online teens are users of social media sites (Pew Research Center Internet Project, 2011).

12 months prior to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, 16.2% of students had been electronically bullied, including being bullied through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2011).

  • The prevalence of having been bullied electronically was higher among females (22.1%) than male (10.8%) students.
  • The prevalence of having been bullied electronically was higher among white (18.6%) than black (8.9%) and Hispanic (13.6%) students.
  • The prevalence of having been bullied electronically was higher among 10th grade (18.1%) than 9th grade (15.5%) and 12th grade (15.0%) students.


69% of teen social media users think that peers are mostly kind to each other on social media site, 20% say that peers are mostly unkind, and 11% think that “it depends” (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

88% of social media-using teens have witnessed other people being mean or cruel on social networking sites (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

  • 12% say they witnessed cruel behavior “frequently,” 29% say they saw meanness “sometimes,” and 47% say they saw such behavior “only once in a while” (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).


15% of social media-using teens say they have been the target of online meanness (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

65% of teens social media users have had an experience on a social networking site that made them feel good about themselves and 58% have felt closer to another person because of an experience on social media (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

41% of teens who use social media say they have experienced at least one of the negative outcomes we asked about (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011):

  • 25% of social media teens have had an experience that resulted in a face-to-face argument or confrontation with someone.
  • 22% have had an experience that ended their friendship with someone.
  • 13% have had an experience that caused a problem with their parents.
  • 13% have felt nervous about going to school the next day.
  • 8% have gotten into a physical fight with someone else because of something that happened on a social network site.
  • 6% have gotten in trouble at school because of an experience on a social network site.


19% of teens have been bullied in the past year in some form (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011):

  • 12% of all teens report being bullied in person.
  • 9% of all teens have been bullied via text message.
  • 8% say they have experienced some form of online bullying, such as through email, a social network site or instant messaging.
  • 7% say they have been bullied by voice calls over the phone.


95% of teen social media users who have witnessed cruel behavior on social media sites say they have seen others ignore the mean behavior (55% report witnessing this “frequently”), while 84% have seen people defend the person being harassed (27% report witnessing this “frequently”), and 84% have seen others tell someone to stop (20% report witnessing this “frequently”) (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

2/3 of teenagers who have witnessed online cruelty have also witnessed others joining in and 21% of teens say they have joined the harassment themselves (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

Teens rely most heavily on their parents and peers for advice about online behaviors and coping with challenging experiences (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

36% of teen social media users who have witnessed online cruelty seek advice on how to deal and 92% of those who ask for advice say that the advice they receive was “helpful” (Pew Research Internet Project, 2011).

85% of parent of youth ages 13-17 report their child has a social networking account (American Osteopathic Association, 2011).

52% of parents are worried their child will be bullied via social networking sites (American Osteopathic Association, 2011).

1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied via a social networking site (American Osteopathic Association, 2011).

In 2011, 7.5 million (or more than 1/3) of all 20 million minors who actively used Facebook were younger than 13 and not technically permitted to use the site (Consumer Reports, 2011).

Among young Facebook users, more than 5 million were 10 years old and under, and their accounts were largely unsupervised by parents (Consumer Reports, 2011).

From 2010-2011, 1 million children reported being harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook (Consumer Reports, 2011).


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