Cyberbullying Facts Summarizing What is Currently Known

Over the last decade, we have surveyed over 15,000 middle and high school students in twelve different studies from over 98 different schools throughout the United States. The first two studies were online exploratory samples used to obtain a general understanding of the problem. As such, the numbers obtained are higher than average and not representative because they only include online teens who volunteered to participate. Our ten most recent studies, however, have all been random samples of known populations, so we can be fairly confident in the reliability and validity of the data obtained (click here for more information about the methodology). Overall, about 28% of the students we have surveyed over the last ten studies have told us that they have been cyberbullied at some point in their lifetimes. About 10% said they were cyberbullied in the 30 days preceding the survey. Similarly, about 16% of those who we surveyed admitted that they had cyberbullied others at some point in their lifetimes (about 6% in the most recent 30 days).

Other Published Research

In 2014 we reviewed all of the published research we could find that included prevalence rates for cyberbullying. This work built on our earlier effort to quantitatively summarize published cyberbullying articles which we wrote about in our book Cyberbullying Prevention and Response: Expert Perspectives (see especially chapter 2). In total, we have now reviewed 73 articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Fifty-one of those included cyberbullying victimization rates and 42 included cyberbullying offending rates. As you can see from the charts below (click to enlarge), rates across all of the studies ranged widely, from 2.3% to 72% for victimization and from 1.2% to 44.1% for offending. The average across all of these studies was remarkably similar to the rates that we found in our work (about 21% of teens have been cyberbullied and about 15% admitted to cyberbullying others at some point in their lifetimes). Taken as a whole, it seems safe to conclude that about one out of every four teens has experienced cyberbullying, and about one out of every six teens has done it to others.

A couple of other broad generalizations can be made about cyberbullying, based on recent research:

– Adolescent girls are just as likely, if not more likely than boys to experience cyberbullying (as a victim and offender) (Floros et al., 2013; Kowalski et al., 2008; Hinduja & Patchin, 2009; Schneider et al., 2012)

– Cyberbullying is related to low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, anger, frustration, and a variety of other emotional and psychological problems (Brighi et al., 2012; Hinduja & Patchin, 2010; Kowalski & Limber, 2013; Patchin & Hinduja, 2010; Wang, Nansel, & Iannotti, 2011)

– Cyberbullying is related to other issues in the ‘real world’ including school problems, anti-social behavior, substance use, and delinquency (Hinduja & Patchin, 2007; Hinduja & Patchin, 2008; Kowalski & Limber, 2013)

– Traditional bullying is still more common than cyberbullying (Lenhart, 2007; Smith et al., 2008; Wang, Nansel, & Iannotti, 2011)

– Traditional bullying and cyberbullying are closely related: those who are bullied at school are bullied online and those who bully at school bully online (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009; Kowalski & Limber, 2013; Ybarra, Diener-West, & Leaf, 2007).

Cyberbullying Trends

There are only three studies that we are aware of that have explored cyberbullying experiences of students across the United States over time. The first analysis have been conducted by our friends at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Examining the three waves of the Youth Internet Safety Survey (2000, 2005, 2010), they find a slight increase in cyberbullying behaviors over that time period (from 6% to 9% to 11%).

More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct their biennial survey of students across the U.S. in their Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS). This survey has long asked about bullying at school but in 2011 and 2013 they added a question about “electronic” bullying. In 2015 (the most recent year available), 15.5% of students reported that they were bullied electronically, compared to 14.8% in 2013 and 16.2% in 2011.

Finally, the School Crime Supplement (SCS) of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) also surveys students every other year about victimization at school (and online bullying). This source observed a slight increase from 2009 to 2011 (from 6.2% to 9%), but the rate also decreased to 6.7% in 2013 (the latest year available). The fact that both the SCS and YRBS surveys revealed decreases in cyberbullying behaviors from 2011 to 2013 is promising, but with only a couple of data points it is difficult to draw any major conclusions. Moving forward, though, these surveys should give us a good general sense of the trends in cyberbullying incidents (especially when considered collectively).

Snapshot of Some Recent Data

We also recently collected data (February, 2015) from about 450 students at one middle school (ages ranged from 11-14) in the Midwest. We haven’t had a chance to fully examine the results, but here are some quick stats:

– 97.5% have been online in the previous 30 days
– 63% have a cell phone
– 42% regularly use Instagram
– 33% regularly use Facebook
– 15% have been the target of cyberbullying in the previous 30 days (boys: 11.8%; girls: 18.5%)
– 6.3% have cyberbullied others in the previous 30 days (boys: 6.1%; girls: 6.5%)


Brighi, A., Melotti, G., Guarini, A., Genta, M. L., Ortega, R., Mora-Merchán, J., Smith, P. K. and Thompson, F. (2012). Self-Esteem and Loneliness in Relation to Cyberbullying in Three European Countries, in Cyberbullying in the Global Playground: Research from International Perspectives (eds Q. Li, D. Cross and P. K. Smith), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

Floros, G.D., Simos, K. E., Fisoun, V., Dafouli, E., and Geroukalis, D. (2013). Adolescent online cyberbullying in Greece: The impact of parental online security practices, bonding, and online impulsiveness. Journal of School Health, 83(6), 445-453.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2007). Offline consequences of online victimization: School violence and delinquency. Journal of School Violence, 6(3), 89-112.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2008). Cyberbullying: An exploratory analysis of factors related to offending and victimization. Deviant Behavior, 29(2), 129-156.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2009). Bullying beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221.

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2012). Cyberbullying: Neither an Epidemic Nor a Rarity. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9(5), 539-543.

Kowalski, R. M. & Limber, S. P. (2013). Psychological, Physical, and Academic Correlates of Cyberbullying and Traditional Bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), S13-S20.

Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P. & Agatston, P.W. (2008). Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lenhart, A. (2007). Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Pew Internet & American Life Project, June
27. (

Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2010). Cyberbullying and self-esteem. Journal of School Health, 80(12), 614-621.

Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2013). Cyberbullying among Adolescents: Implications for Empirical Research. Journal of Adolescent Health 53(4), 431-432.

Schneider, S.K., O’Donnell, L, Stueve, A., and Coulter, R.W.S. (2012). Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 102(1), 171-177.

Smith, P. K., Mahdavi, J., Carvalho, M., Fisher, S., Russell, S., and Tippett, N. (2008). Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 49(4): 376–385.

Wang, J., Nansel, T. R., & Iannotti, R. J. (2011). Cyber Bullying and Traditional Bullying: Differential Association with Depression. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(4): 415–417.

Ybarra, M., Diener-West, M., & Leaf, P. J. (2007). Examining the Overlap in Internet Harassment and School Bullying: Implications for School Intervention. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41: S42–S50.

Ybarra, M. L., Espelage, D. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2007). The Co-occurrence of Internet Harassment and Unwanted Sexual Solicitation Victimization and Perpetration: Associations with Psychosocial Indicators, Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, S31-S41.

  1. Esosa Isokpan

    i learned that adolescent girls are just as likely, if not more likely than girls to experience cyber bullied

  2. savannah fabio

    some cyber bulling stories are just too sad

  3. savannah fabio

    sooooooo saaaaad

  4. kaylee elizabeth

    i think that people who get cyberbullied get suicidal thoughts, start an eating disorder, do self-harm, become depressed, and sometimes commit suicide. we can prevent these terrible things by watching who we follow on the internet, who are friends are, and what social medias we use.

    • Emma colon

      I definentaly agree with you its true😢😢

    • bree

      thnx <3

      • Katrina

        Come on, it's her opinion/view. Can you be a little less judgemental? This is an article on Cyberbullying, don't be one yourself.

  5. lauryn

    there are lots of people that try to commit suicide from cyber bullying like the movie cyberbully

    • Christian

      13% of children consider suicide and the depression mostly comes from divorces, sexual assault, and substance abuse

  6. Emma colon

    I know some stories about people who committed suicide because of cyberbullying and its sad because I feel very,very sad for those people who committed suicide and its very sad.😢😢😢😢😢😢

    • Areangeli

      I know exactly how you feel.

  7. Emma colon

    Its sad for those who committed suicide😢😢😢

  8. foina

    yeah its really sad especially if it turns out to be your best friends. it sucks but it gets better over time.

  9. Emily Whitehead

    if you know someone who is being bullied tell someone but instead they just keep it going and going

  10. Jombo

    I agree that it is very sad and disturbing

    #lets stop cyber-bullying

  11. Areangeli

    It is so sad that kids commit suicide they don't deserve that. That isn't right!!!!!!

  12. cherif haidar

    i learned that bullying can affect students and also it can hurt them physically and emotionally

  13. Beth whitehouse

    I think it's really upsetting knowing that people cyberbully and people don't do anything about it

    We need to stop this

  14. Reed

    CyberBullying doesn't just happen to Kids. Adults, people you know will start out texting you with normal conversations then sending pictures of all sorts, personal, cartoons of all types, avitars of themselves, scriptures of all sorts an when it never ends, you ask them to stop and then all of a sudden you need god and then a whole new set of all the above starts with a spiritual twist. Everytime
    you pick up you phone there's a spiritual reason
    why you don't like the text anymore when all you
    want them to do is stop.

    text why you don't want them sending them

  15. chris

    it makes me angry when someone kills themselfs

  16. Hunter

    Some of these kids think that they are all mighty and powerfull while they are on Instagram or whatever social media they use. Now there are some who may say it to your face but most hide and only say things behind there phones or electronic devices. I was asked to write a essay on this, but the facts are there people look. This is a waste of people's time and can even cause death. It's a shame what kids and even adults to today. If your gonna say something like that say it to their face. Or grow up and be quiet.

  17. Pablo

    I hate cyber bullying because its bad by the way im 7 years odl

    • Pablo

      jk im 12 but still i dont like cyberbullying its really bad and idk y people do it

  18. Nicky

    listen guys I've been bullied a lot and i have cyber bullied and the movie is so sad i wonder how someone can hack into a device and on to someones profile. That is just stupid who would do such a thing.

  19. Layla

    I never got cyberbullied

  20. Hilton

    Cyberbullying is a way for kids to relieve stress. It is the parents and the governments fault.

  21. Felisha

    Go on Netflix and watch Cyberbully, it is a sad movie, but entertaining. comment me if you watched it or if you are going to watch it!!!!

  22. rain

    dont you mean you seen cyberbullying the movie

  23. Tyler McCoy

    I have been bullied to the point where I became suicidal, and now I get the help that I needed

  24. Bella

    Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  25. Sporty Dinosuar

    Cyber bulling is a very sad thing i have been bullied all my life and its not fun. I have had bad thoughts about myself and its not a good feeling.
    # lets stop CYBERBULyLING

  26. Sporty Dinosuar

    Cyber bulling is a very sad thing i have been bullied all my life and its not fun. I have had bad thoughts about myself and its not a good feeling.
    # lets stop CYBERBULyLING
    WE can STOP this all we have to do is try

  27. Shanna

    I think people comitting suicide is really sad. I have been bullied to the point where I had those dark thoughts but luckily I got the help I needed. With the rise of technology, bullying became easier for people. It's easy to hide behind a computer or phone and bully someone instead of in their face. This only makes things worse! People should not engage in antisocial behaviors and degrade people online. It is so sad to know young people do this the most, its no wonder many young girls have self-esteem issues!

    • tyrone

      uhmm excuse me but young boys have self-esteem issues to, it isn't always just girls.

  28. luke

    Ya it sad, and the people doing the bulling think its funny to them which is not right.

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