What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, text, apps, social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.

Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

Persistent – Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day, so it can be difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.

Permanent – Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.

Hard to Notice – Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize.

Cyberbullying Facts

Research on cyberbullying is varied and growing. However, because kids’ technology use changes rapidly, it is difficult to design surveys that accurately capture trends.

June 2014: Nationwide, 14.8% of students reported being cyberbullied, including being bullied through e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, or texting.1

In 2011, about 9 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being cyberbullied at school during the school year.2

In 2011, it was reported that 16 percent of high school students in grades 9-12 were electronically bullied in the past year.1

Why is Cyberbullying Different?

Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from their aggressor. .

  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a child even when he or she is alone. .
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

Together We Can Change Everything!

Join the conversation! Engage and connect on our Bullying forum.

Whether you need advice or have advice to give, our forum is the place to connect with a growing community committed to the care of the next generation.



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January 30, 2018

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Click for References & Sources

  1. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) report, by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  2. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013 (ISCS 2013) report, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and National Center for Education Statistics Institute of Education Sciences (IES).
  3. School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics).

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