Summary of Our Cyberbullying Research (2004-2016)
This study surveyed a random sample of 457 students between the ages of 11 and 15 from a middle school in the Midwestern United States. Data were collected in February of 2015. Click on thumbnail images to enlarge.
Teen Technology Use. Cell phones and other mobile devices continue to be the most popular technology utilized by adolescents with five of the top six reported weekly activities involving their use. A greater proportion of middle school students are now using Instagram compared to Facebook, while Twitter and Ask.fm remain largely unpopular among American youth of this age group.
Cyberbullying Victimization. We define cyberbullying as: “Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.” Approximately 34% of the students in our sample report experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetimes. When asked about specific types of cyberbullying in the previous 30 days, mean or hurtful comments (12.8%) and rumors spread (19.4%) online continue to be among the most commonly-cited. Twenty-one percent of the sample reported being cyberbullied in one or more of the nine specific types reported (only 6 of which are displayed in the chart above), two or more times over the course of the previous 30 days.
Cyberbullying Offending. We define cyberbullying as: “Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.” Approximately 15% of the students in our sample admitted to cyberbullying others in their lifetimes. Spreading rumors online was the most commonly reported type of cyberbullying they reported during the previous 30 days. About 6% of the sample reported cyberbullying using one or more of the nine types reported (only 6 of which are displayed in the chart above), two or more times over the course of the previous 30 days.
Cyberbullying by Gender. Adolescent girls are significantly more likely to have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes (40.6% vs. 28.2%). This gap narrows when reviewing experiences over the previous 30 days. In this sample, boys were slightly more likely to report cyberbullying others during their lifetime (15.5% vs. 14.0%), though this difference was not statistically significant. The type of cyberbullying tends to differ by gender; girls are more likely to post mean comments online while boys are more likely to post hurtful pictures or videos.