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17 Scary Cyberbullying Statistics (2022)

by Josh Howarth
August 8, 2022

We’re currently in a cyberbullying pandemic.

Over 60% of children and 40% of adults have been targeted by cyberbullies.

And if you look at the trends, those numbers are likely to keep going up in the future.

A generation ago, bullying was an exclusively in-person activity. Today, bullies can reach their targets 24/7—through social media, text messaging, email and online gaming. For victims, cyberbullying can cause intense mental, emotional and physical trauma.

Both social media platforms and lawmakers have taken steps to address cyberbullying with varying degrees of success. Despite their efforts, most people think not enough is being done to prevent cyberbullying.

So just how bad is cyberbullying in 2022? Read these cyberbullying statistics to find out.

Top Cyberbullying Statistics

Before you read the complete list, start with these eye-opening cyberbullying stats:

  • 64% of American young adults (18-29) have experienced cyberbullying.
  • Middle school-aged cyberbullying victims are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-victims.
  • 41% of US adults have experienced some form of online harassment.
  • The number of Americans experiencing physical threats and sexual harassment online has doubled since 2014.
  • 75% of cyberbullying targets were harassed on Facebook.

Ready to read the rest of the stats?

General Cyberbullying Statistics

Most of the world agrees that cyberbullying is a problem that needs to be addressed. In some parts of the world, however, cyberbullying awareness is surprisingly low.

23% of middle and high school students have been cyberbullied in the past 30 days (Cyberbullying Research Center)

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The percentage of students who report being a target of cyberbullying has increased 55% since 2015 and more than tripled since 2007. 45.5% of middle and high school students report being cyberbullied at least once in their lifetime.

41% of US adults have experienced some form of online harassment (Pew Research)

Less severe forms of harassment were the most common—31% of adults reported offensive name-calling and 26% reported purposeful embarrassment. More severe harassment includes sexual harassment (11%), sustained harassment (11%), stalking (11%), and physical threats (14%).

92% of Americans think cyberbullying is a problem (Pew Research)

55% think cyberbullying is a “major problem” while 37% think it’s a “minor problem.” Only 7% of Americans think cyberbullying isn’t a problem at all.

75% of cyberbullying targets were harassed on Facebook (ADL)

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Of all the social platforms, Facebook is by far the most common for cyberbullying. By contrast, 25% or less of cyberbullying targets say they’ve been bullied on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, and other social platforms.

A quarter of the world’s adults don’t know what cyberbullying is (Ipsos)

Ipsos’ poll of over 20,000 adults across 28 countries shed some light on people’s awareness of cyberbullying. 25% of respondents had never heard of cyberbullying. Saudi Arabia was the least aware country with 63% saying they have never seen, read, or heard anything about cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Prevention Statistics

As cyberbullying becomes more prevalent, people are looking at governments and social media companies to stop cyberbullying and punish perpetrators. But are their efforts meeting expectations?

76% of global adults believe anti-cyberbullying efforts are ineffective (Ipsos)

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A majority of adults In each of the 28 countries polled believe more can be done to counter cyberbullying. The sentiment is most severe in Japan, where 89% of adults feel that not enough is being done to stop cyberbullying.

Facebook finds two-thirds of cyberbullying content before it’s reported by users (Facebook)

Facebook has ramped up its efforts to be proactive about cyberbullying. In Q1 of 2022, the company found and flagged 67% of all content labeled bullying or harassment. That’s a big difference from two years ago, when Facebook found just 14% of offending content before users did.

41% of people who have received physical threats on social media say the platform did not respond or take action (ADL)

In ADL’s Online Hate and Harassment 2021 survey, over four-in-ten respondents said that social media platforms failed to take action against content threatening physical harm—an increase from 38% in their 2020 survey. 14% said that the platform deleted the threatening content in 2021, down from 22% in 2020.

79% of US adults don’t think social media companies do a good job addressing cyberbullying (Pew Research)

Of those, 47% say companies do an “only fair” job and 32% a “poor” job addressing online harassment and bullying. When asked what would be the most effective response to cyberbullying, 51% said permanent account bans for offending users.

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Google searches for “moderation system” over the past five years.

48 US states have laws that include the terms “cyberbullying” or “electronic harassment” (Cyberbullying Research Center)

Alaska and Wisconsin are the only two states without some form of cyberbullying laws. 49 states have laws requiring school districts to have formal policies addressing the identification, behavior, and disciplinary responses to cyberbullying. 44 states have criminal sanctions specifically for cyberbullying or electronic harassment.

Four out of five Americans want more laws to address cyberbullying (ADL)

81% of Americans say that laws need to be strengthened to hold cyberbullies accountable for their actions. 80% feel that police should have more training on how to help victims of cyberbullying. 76% feel that laws should hold online platforms more accountable for harmful actions by their users.

School Cyberbullying Statistics

12-18 are critical formative years for children. Cyberbullying can put their mental health at risk and lead to unimaginably severe outcomes. With kids spending more of their time on smartphones, the risk of getting cyberbullied is higher than ever.

Middle school-aged cyberbullying victims are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-victims (Journal of School Violence)

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A survey of 2,000 middle schoolers found that cyberbullying victims were 1.9 times as likely to have attempted suicide than peers who weren’t involved in cyberbullying. Surprisingly, cyberbullying perpetrators were 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide.

25% of LGBTQ high school students who were bullied attempted suicide at least once in the past year (Trevor Project)

Middle school students fare even worse, with 29% of LGBTQ middle schoolers who attempted suicide reporting being bullied. For teens who weren’t bullied, attempted suicide rates were 10% for high school students and 12% for middle school students.

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Google searches for “lgbtq therapy” over the past five years.

42% of LGBTQ youth reported being cyberbullied over the past year (Trevor Project)

Cyberbullying is more common for middle school LGBTQ students (54%) than high school students (39%). Cyberbullying rates are around 10% lower in LGBTQ-affirming schools than in those that are affirming.

Female teenagers are almost three times as likely to experience cyberbullying than male teenagers (NCES)

22.4% of female students aged 12-18 say they’ve been the victim of cyberbullying, either online or via text. 7.6% of male students in the same age range reported similar instances of cyberbullying.

23% of middle and high school students have been cyberbullied over the past 30 days (Cyberbullying Research Center)

The percentage of students who report being a target of cyberbullying has increased 55% since 2015 and more than tripled since 2007. 45.5% of middle and high school students report being cyberbullied at least once in their lifetime.

16% of middle and high school students admit to having cyberbullied other students (Cyberbullying Research Center)

Based on 12 studies going back to 2007, an average of 15.6% of students admitted to cyberbullying others. Over the same period, 6% of students admitted to cyberbullying others over the past 30 days.

12% of US parents say their child experiences cyberbullying on a regular basis (Ipsos)

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Over a quarter of US parents (27%) say their child experiences at least some cyberbullying. By contrast, only 15% said the same thing in 2011. Of course, those numbers only consider parents who discuss cyberbullying with their children. 8% of US parents don’t know if their child has been bullied.

New Hampshire has the highest rate of high school cyberbullying among US states (CDC)

20.1% of high school students in New Hampshire experience cyberbullying. On the other end of the spectrum, only 10.6% of Georgia high school students report being cyberbullied. The national average is 15.7%.

Most cyberbullying in schools is done by the victims’ classmates (Ipsos)

51% of cyberbullying perpetrators are classmates of the victims, according to a 2018 poll of over 20,000 parents. 30% were children that the victim did not know.

Social media is the most common platform for cyberbullying (Ipsos)

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65% of global adults say their kids or kids in their community have been cyberbullied over social media. 45% say their child was bullied through text or messaging apps.

Adult Cyberbullying Statistics

Most attention surrounding cyberbullying is focused on children, and rightfully so. But adults can and do get cyberbullied on a regular basis. These stats paint a picture of cyberbullying and online harassment experienced by adults.

The percentage of Americans experiencing physical threats and sexual harassment online has doubled since 2014 (Pew Research)

The percentage of US adults receiving physical threats online went from 7% in 2014 to 14% in 2020. Online sexual harassment rates increased from 5% in 2014 to 11% in 2020. And while the share of adults experiencing harassment stayed the same from 2017 to 2020, both the severity and frequency of harassment have increased by 40% or more.

41% of US adults have experienced some form of online harassment (Pew Research)

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Less severe forms of harassment were the most common—31% of adults reported offensive name-calling and 26% reported purposeful embarrassment. More severe harassment includes sexual harassment (11%), sustained harassment (11%), stalking (11%), and physical threats (14%).

64% of American young adults (18-29) have experienced cyberbullying (Pew Research)

Among US adults, the 18-29 demographic is the only age group in which most have experienced cyberbullying. Cyberbullying rates get progressively smaller for each older demographic. 49% of 30-49-year-olds, 30% of 50-64-year-olds, and 21% of adults 65 or older have been cyberbullied.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to find cyberbullying very or extremely upsetting (Pew Research)

Among US adults who have experienced cyberbullying, 15% of women and 5% of men say the incident was “extremely upsetting.” 18% of women and 9% of men say the incident was “very upsetting.”

23% of cyberbullying targets reported having trouble sleeping (ADL)

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What impact does cyberbullying have on adults? The most common is trouble sleeping, according to a survey by ADP. 16% of cyberbullying targets took steps to improve their physical safety, such as moving to a new location or taking self-defense classes.

Political views are the top perceived reason for online harassment among adult cyberbullying targets (ADL)

In ADL’s survey, 49% of online harassment targets said they were bullied because of their political views. Physical appearance was the second-most frequent reason (33%), followed by gender (28%), ethnicity (28%), and religion (21%).

Appearance-based cyberbullying includes body-shaming and fat-shaming. A Good Housekeeping poll found that 89% of readers have been fat-shamed.

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Google searches for “body shaming” over the past five years.

Half of US adult cyberbullying victims say they were bullied because of their political views (Pew Research)

57% of American adult men believe they were targeted by online bullying because of their political views. 42% of American adult women say their political views were the reason behind their cyberbullying experience.

75% of US adults who have been cyberbullied experienced the most recent bullying behavior on social media platforms (Pew Research)

25% say their most recent incident was on an online forum or discussion site. 24% say it was through a texting or messaging app. 41% of cyberbullying victims say their most recent incident took place over multiple platforms.

Wrap Up

Even online, words have the power to do real harm.

Cyberbullying affects people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations. Fortunately, organizations like StopBullying.gov have been created to help combat this growing issue. In our always-connected, perpetually-online world, online harassment and cyberbullying have unfortunately become a normal part of life.