40 cyberbullying statistics for 2021 (it is time to take action)
With the advent of the internet, the world has seen an exponential rise in cyber bullying cases. This in-depth piece features top cyberbullying statistics and facts across the globe that you must know today.
You have ever heard of the president who was bullied into quitting social media by vociferous citizens? Do you remember sometime in 2018 when Demi Lovato had to delete her account from the internet?
Or lately, still, do you remember Chadwick Boseman, the Wakanda King actor, a superhero in Black Panther? He got bullied into deleting pictures of his emaciated self. Chadwick had the last stage of cancer. But, when he posted his photos, people noted he had become so thin.
Then, some internet users said he was only thin due to the use of drugs. He could not take it, so he had to delete that picture. Later in August 2020, Chadwick passed on. The internet was now in pain because of what they had made a person living with cancer go through. This is just a fraction of cases of extreme cyberbullying, and; they happen every day.
Technology has a positive and negative side. And, with social media and the internet, people have the chance to express uncensored views.
Social platforms connect people across boundaries, turning the world into a global village. Unfortunately, it has also come with its vices, and cyberbullying proves it all. Although there have been thorough awareness campaigns and legislations, cyberbullying statistics show the problem is far from over.
First thing first. What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is any form of social harassment that relies on electronic communication forms such as phones and computers. That includes all kinds and shapes of aggression towards an individual in the form of ridicule, insults, hate speech, stalking, sexual remarks, death threats, impersonation, privacy invasion, or toxic behavior.
Think of this, you post a picture of yourself on your Instagram or Facebook. And, in a few minutes, people are already drooling and spraying you with all the hearts and likes.
Then, two of your followers decide to take offense with your hairdo. They liken it to some disgusting animal (raccoon) you hate. You find it obnoxious, but they just don’t stop, so they start a hashtag to make fun of you. Can you relate to this?
It all starts as a joke, and then you realize it’s not fun at all. Cyberbullying is the dark side of the internet and the technological revolution. Cyberbullying statistics are shocking and reveal the alarming rate of harassment in the virtual space.
The impacts of cyberbullying have been felt in families and the corporate world. Invasion of privacy ruins careers and breaks relationships. And to put this in perspective, we bring you the global cyberbullying facts and statistics that might shock you.
Disturbing cyberbullying statistics
- 42% of members of the LGBTQ have been bullied online.
- 21% of the victims of cyberbullying are high school girls with a minority skin color.
- Two-thirds of female victims of Internet harassment feel powerless. A third of all teenagers have sent explicit videos or pictures of themselves on social media at least once in their lifetime.
- 34% of American kids have been harassed on the internet at least once.
- Only about 38% of kids who’ve been bullied online seek parental guidance.
- They are left to themselves only. Victims of cyberbullying are 1.9 times more likely to develop suicidal thoughts.
Top 40 cyberbullying Stats 2021
While social media has become the main outlet for expression, little is happening to sanitize the platforms.
Many users result in insults and bullying of peaceful people. Here are some of the top cyberbullying stats for 2021:
1. Cyberbullying victims are 1.9 times likely to take their life
It’s not just the reputation and esteem that are on the line when you’re bullied online. It can go to the extent of severe depression and the urge to commit suicide.
Well, some people take drugs as a way to cool themselves down from the bullying others just take their lives.
Statistics show victims of cyberbullying have suicidal and self-harm thoughts. But there’s also a shocker that the offenders and bullies are 1.7 times more likely to take the same route.
No doubt, bullies are usually people from a depressed, unhappy background who try to feel important by hurting others.
Cyberbullying awareness statistics
About 15 years ago, the word “cyberbullying” didn’t even exist. Yet, today in this era, it is the most rampant of all social evils. There were few or no social platforms on the internet where people would meet and talk.
Today, almost everyone has access to a smartphone or a device to access the internet. And many more of these people have social media accounts. Here are some interesting facts about cyberbullying awareness.
2. The last decade has seen a tripling of cyberbullying searches on the internet
There has been a lot of curiosity around cyber bullying, which is evident in the terminology’s, tripling of searches.
Google Trends shows the rate of cyberbullying has increased in the last ten years, stirring insatiable curiosity. Since 2008, the word “cyberbullying” has received three times more searches than ever before.
3. Companies and organizations are playing a significant role in spreading awareness.
45% of employees in big companies agree they have an elaborate cyberbullying policy.
Our extensive research on cyberbullying facts reveals that companies with more than 25000 employees are stringent in their online systems. Smaller businesses lag in instituting proactive approaches that can prevent online harassment.
4. Italy and Sweden lead the world in cyberbullying awareness.
European countries have the best approach towards spreading awareness of online harassment. The global cyberbullying awareness currently stands at 75%, but; for these two countries, it goes up to 91%.
Saudi Arabia is at 37%, making it the most substandard country in online harassment awareness. Given the conservative nature, it’s not a surprise.
However, it’s shocking to find a country like France at the bottom with 50%.
5. Australia and the UK have the best organizational cyberbullying awareness stats
The Australian workers are the best informed about the workplace online harassment policies. 57% of Aussies understand everything about cyberbullying. Also, they’re knowledgeable about how to act in a cyberbullying situation.
Then, 33% percent of Aussies understand workplace policies.
In France, only 20% of employees understand online harassment policies or how to deal with it.
Cyberbullying demographic statistics
Women of color are the most susceptible to cyberbullying. The Cyberbullying Research Center reports racism and sexual indifference as a rampant evil.
And, multiracial women are at its center. 21% of cyberbullying victims in schools are girls with different skin color.
Children between the age of 12 and 17 are the second most vulnerable targets of cyberbullying.
As early as 12, your teenager is already a victim of online harassment. 37% of kids between 12 and 17 years have already been bullied online.
25% of these kids have been trolled, insulted, or threatened online. A further 22% is healing a psychological wound after getting gossiped on the internet.
57% of women interviewed admitted to blocking abusers while only 22% report them.
A third of female students, from a large sample of 5700 respondents, fall victim to online harassment. Ten percent of these students also admit to having bullied someone else on the internet.
Children cyber-bullying statistics
6. Three out of five children witnessed online harassment
About 60% of young people have been present to witness virtual harassment. This is 50% more than their adult counterparts are.
Most of them act as bystanders who don’t intervene and thus allow them to continue the attacks.
Psychologists insist that nobody should watch another one get harassed. Bystanders should speak up so the offender will not perpetrate these grievous acts. It also calls for parental guidance on the use of social media, especially to young people.
7. 37% of teenagers have been targets of cyberbullying
By the time your kid hits 12, they already are a victim of cyberbullying. It is disheartening to realize that 37% of teenagers have gone through this.
35% of children aged between 12 and 17 have not only been cyber-bullied but also have had people write mean comments about them.
8. 22% have gossiped online against their will
Then, 30% of kids in this age bracket have gone through racism, identity theft, mean comments, and body shaming or religious bashing.
9. Mental health issues are common among 68% of kids that have been bullied online
More than two-thirds of bullied children have mental health issues. For example, these kids are likely to show anxiety, depression, stress, and acute loss of empathy.
Those below the age of 18 are nine times more likely to fall for fraud.
Cyber-crime is in the increasing world over, and identity theft is at the pinnacle of it all. The Javelin Strategy and Research Centre reveals more than one million children fall to identity theft every year. Further, the survey shows a direct connection between scams and cyberbullying.
10. A third of teenagers have shared explicit images and engaged in sexting
33% of young people who responded to a survey showed that they have engaged in sexting. In sexting, online users send images, and text messages elucidate sexual urge—this new trend is rising, especially among teens and kids. The problem is that cyberbullies are in these trends and have used it to blackmail teens.
The research found that 75% of teens delete the image or texts immediately because they fear blackmail. The problem is that advanced programs and apps download these images and store them already. This breaches the privacy and leaves a gray area for investigations.
11. Children and millennials are now less likely to send personal information online
Many respondents in the US have confirmed and admitted to sharing personal information on the internet.
Fortunately, millennials are learning the need to protect their identity and personal information. For that reason, 68% of teens in the US share less personal data than they used to 5 years ago.
Instagram and Snapchat still rank as the favorite spot for teenagers at 71 and 66 percent, respectively. Teenagers are hiding their identity on these platforms, especially when sharing private photos.
12. Name-calling is the most popular form of online bullying in America
Social networks provide chatting to many people, and this is the environment where cyberbullying thrives. The offender uses anonymous tricks to talk with teenagers and harass them there.
Snapchat and Chatroulette are some of the popular chat platforms with anonymous chatting. Insults rank higher at 42%, followed by rumors at 32 and explicit images at 25% of all cyber harassments.
13. Three out of four of Romanian students get harassed during online classes
Romania has embraced a lot of change, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The country has firm measures that allow education to continue despite the pandemic containment policies. But, it’s shocking that virtual learning is facing trouble due to cyberbullying.
14. You are likely to feel more pains when you are bullied online in Poland than anywhere in the world
Of course, cyberbullying has repercussions, and some can be severe, so start that others. Yet, in Poland, you’d feel the most excruciating pain of cyberbullying.
According to Statista, 9 in every 10 of Polish respondents experienced severe stress and other mental health issues because of being bullied on the internet. The victims admitted to having had their personal life shaken and professions ruined.
That highlights Poland as the country with the most painful effects of internet harassment.
15. Mean comments, online rumors, and sexual remarks as the most popular topics on online harassment among US students
The Cyberbullying Research Center focuses on finding information and measures to prevent cyberbullying. The Center finds that most US students have been harassed online based on their sexual orientation. Mean comments take up to 22.5% of all online harassments. This is followed by online rumors at 20.1% and sexual remarks at 12.1%. Other popular antics include racial abuse, profile hacking, and ridicule.
16. 4-6% of global internet users have been hacked
As per Statista, around the world, 6% of the users of online platforms have been targeted by hackers. 4% have even ended up losing control and access to their devices. While cyberbullying and online safety seem connected, they are vast areas. That needs to be discussed and publicized for awareness.
It’s not just about being curious (and clicking malicious links) that gets you hacked; someone nasty could be out there to hack you. Unauthorized access to private information is illegal, but that’s not enough. You must know how to stay safe online. While hacking social media accounts is a menace, virus infections also play a central role at 14%.
Social media bullying stats
Social media is the most popular of all online platforms.
Thus, it’s the place where most cyberbullying happens.
Cyberbullying on social media is rampant because people have access to an account on these platforms.
People on social media live like they do in real life but virtually.
Therefore, if a person is a bully in real life, they are likely to replicate that behavior on the internet. Here are some surprising facts about social media cyberbullying.
17. 80% of children who own mobile phone have been harassed on social media
Most social media platforms usually have a restriction against the registration of children. Their terms and conditions are stringent, only to allow people of sound mind and legal age of 18.
However, children can sometimes be a little cheeky, and 80% of them are on social media and have several profiles on different platforms. These kids tend to be the center of online harassment, and 57% of them have experienced this.
Remember, even just looking at a person getting abused online can negatively affect a kid’s psychological behavior. Surveys establish a direct link between the failure to act when a bystander is used to becoming a bully.
18. LGBTQ teens are five times more likely to be harassed on Facebook than the ordinary person
You’re likely to get trolled if you have a non-conventional orientation. Harassing LGBTQ teens online is more rampant than it is offline. Here, offenders feel safe enough to get away with what they do against you virtually than they do in real life.
Remember, Facebook has more than 80 million fake profiles and pseudo accounts. These protect the identities of malicious bullies.
19. Women are most susceptible to Facebook bullying
Statista organization says women are more likely to be abused on Facebook than other platforms. Facebook leads the social media vulnerability to cyberbully at 57%. Facebook Messenger comes second at 23% and then Instagram at 10%.
Already, there is a rise in the number of female-targeted online abuse on streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube.
20. More than 70% of respondents feel that social media companies need to do more to fight with a cyberbully
Well, a lot of social media networks claim to be on the lead in protecting users from cyberbullying. But, Ditch The Label statistics show that 7 in every ten social media users feel that these companies don’t do enough.
They think it’s not enough for these platforms to suspend offenders for just a few days. According to the victims, social media platforms should punish bullies severely.
21. More than 40% of cyberbullying cases happen on Instagram
Instagram is the platform with the highest number of hate-speech cases. Instagram is all about individuals uploading their pictures for other people to see. So, it is likely to invite more online harassment than other platforms.
According to cyberbullying statistics 2020, Instagram records up to 42% of all social media harassment. And, considering that only about a billion users are on the platform, you can already do the math and see what could happen if there were more.
Then, Facebook and Snapchat follow with 39 and 31%, respectively. YouTube only accounts for 10% of the cyberbullying cases in the world.
22. Social media seems to glorify provocative opinions
Social platforms happen to be popular on social media, and Statista Organisation puts these platforms at 38%. 23% of these internet trolls operate on video streaming websites. YouTube, for instance, has the majority of internet trolling.
When social media users express provocative opinions, their followers flock there. That’s how the trolls survive in the chaos.
23. Communist countries are happy with the measures set to control cyberbullying. But Europe and South America are dissatisfied
South America and Europe show dissatisfaction with how the government handles internet harassment. Even in places that have strong anti-bullying legislation, people still feel that enough is not being done.
Only 15% of Chileans and 13% of Serbians have shown satisfaction. Then 37% of Russians and 41% of Chinese are happy with the current state of affairs.
Cyberbullying in gaming
Gaming platforms are a go-to online space for leisure, which means users have a lot of time there. The clique of people gambles or play games online is tech-savvy.
So, most of them understand how to use the internet in a more advanced manner than ordinary users. That’s why these cyberbullying facts about gaming might surprise you.
24. 38% of gaming enthusiasts have been hacked
Ditch the Label Organisation, working with anti-bullying campaigners including Habbo, interviewed 2500 people. They found out that nearly four out of ten of the respondents have had their gaming accounts hacked.
And trolling is very common in the gaming rooms and platforms at 64%. Hate speech comes second at 57% and personal threats at 47%.
Remember, the majority of people who like trash-talking when gaming will probably want to replicate that online.
25. Online games have the highest rate of cyberbullying
In 2016, the Cyberbullying Research Center came compiled genres of games that are likely to harbor bullies.
At the very top was MMORPG, with 26.8% as the most likely game to get you harassed. Then, shooters followed closely as well as FIFA by EA sports team at 11.9%.
Understandably, exciting games that attracted huge communities have the highest rates of cyberbullying. Looking at this data, our assumption is, PUBG lovers, as it’s among the most exciting games, need to be on alert.
26. Anonymity is the main reason for bullying
Many teenagers believe that anonymity in gaming gives trolls and bullies a hideout. 6% of these teenagers believe that anonymity contributes to cyberbullying in multiplayer games.
When ISCAP organization put the question to graduates from Sierra College (located in Rocklin, CA, United States), 805 out of 936 choose anonymity as the top cause of bullying in gaming. Six hundred five attributed the increasing rates of cyberbullying to lusting and drooling for attention.
76% believe these bullies are ignorant of the effects of cyberbullying in real life. And 73% held that the fact that most gamers did not fear punishment made them delinquent.
27. Gamers are more prone to cyberbullying than non-gamers
Gamers are more likely to become online trolls than non-gamers. 11% of Gamers have engaged in online harassment than only 8% of people who don’t do gaming. It’s not easy to put that perfect link between gaming and cyberbullying. But, more gamers have engaged in cyber trolling than non-gamers.
And in a turn of events, more gamers have been victims of cyberbullying than non-gamers. 40.7% of online game enthusiasts have been harassed online instead of only 27.2% of non- gamers.
Cyberbullying statistics in the USA
American bullying is a common practice on online platforms. 33.8 percent of middle and high school students in America have been the targets of online harassment. This includes hurtful online comments as well as threats or hacking.
28. 26% of all American internet users have been targets of online trolling
Nearly half of American experts are skeptical about the future.
From a 1500 experts sample, 42% of Americans do not expect improvements in decency or decorum on the internet in the future. 39% believe the blogosphere is headed to a lot of hatred and bigotry.
Nevada has the most notorious of all trolls. Nevada is the most ferocious and vociferous state in America. It’s a surprise that NV has an anti-cyberbullying legal framework against bullying in place. It’s even a crime to bully someone online in the state and has the highest cyber bullying forms in the entire American.
Maryland and Vermont rank as Americas 2nd and 5th cyber-bullies in America. They are also states that have neglected the victims of online harassment. The two states have the highest number of people who claim to have been harassed online. And yet, these perpetrators cannot face the law because there is no legislation in place.
Iowa has the second most brutal comments among all states in America. The state occupies the third last place in the number of people who have report harassment. But, people suffer in silence as they receive cruel and toxic online treatment.
New Hampshire is the friendliest state to browse the internet. It’s considered America’s best online friend. NH has the lowest percentage of hostile comments, and the fifth-lowest with the fewest people bullied online. New Hampshire has strict laws against cyberbullying, which qualifies them as the American cyberspace role model.
At 23.4%, Louisiana has the highest form of cybercrimes against school students in America.
Statistics on victims of cyberbullying
There is a worrying trend around the world about how people perceive cyberbullying.
The vast majority believe it’s normal to be a victim of online harassment and thus don’t take any steps. Psychologists believe that stress and depression have skyrocketed in the last decade due to social media.
When online users publish opinions or pictures of themselves, they are trying to find empathy.
Instead, they get bashed, and in the end, that makes them develop stress and anxiety, and self-pity. Here are some of the worrying statistics of cyberbullying victims.
29. Nearly half of the LGBTQ youth have experienced harassment on the internet
You are likely to be a target of cyberbullying if you have an unpopular orientation. 42% of youth in the LGBTQ (the gay community) have been insulted or bashed online.
35% of them have gone ahead to receive threats online. About 58% of them have experienced hate speech directed to them. The group continues to gain freedoms as governments around the world adopt pro LGBTQ laws.
30. Disabilities and mental problems are the main target of bullies
Bullies are often looking for people with disabilities and mental problems. Autism stands out the most openly bashed condition with 75%. Then people with physical defects also get trolled on the internet at 70%. Also, individuals with learning problems are 52% more likely to have people making fun of them.
Young respondents reveal that natural disabilities are a central target for online bullies. This calls for awareness and prevention of cyberbullying, and to make social networks safe enough for everyone.
31. Women are the main targets of trolling
Female students in America are 36.7% more vulnerable than their male counterparts.
Yet only 10.2% admits to having been perpetrators of harassing people online. It is not surprising that women are at the center of online harassment. Surveys reveal a worrying trend whereby one of every three girls has fallen victim to this plague. And, only one in ten admits to having bullying someone.
A statistical distribution of cyberbullying in the World
You know that cyberbullying is already widespread.
But, what you don’t know probably is the stretch it has in the global community. Some countries take these vice more seriously than others. And, they are countries that show a higher rate of online harassment than others.
European cyberbullying statistics conclude young teenagers as the main victims of online harassment.
Surprisingly, children and especially young teenagers, form the bulk of cyberbullying victims. Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15 are vulnerable to cyberbullying because they access phones and computers at a young age. Of course, there are pros and cons to these. But, some of these teens could end up trolls themselves.
You are most likely to be trolled online if you engage in political discussions in America.
63% of American online bullies are those that have strong political opinions. Then, those that love entertainment and celebrities stand second at 52%. People that publish religious-related stuff are 48% more likely to be cyberbullies.
Psychologists agree that internet trolls ride on emotions and by taking strong opinions on delicate topics. They drop controversial and unpopular views, and people will give aggravated reactions. So, these online trolls have become very popular among their peers. But in the process, they promote the bashing of innocent people.
32. Only a third of students in the UK are safe from cyberbullying
UK students have not faced much of online bashing like their American counterparts. 35% of these students have never experienced online bashing. During the DitchTheLabel study, 7% admitted they were suffering and experiencing bullying.
Yet, the trend projects to a worrying state, especially in the last half a decade or so. Many children are still hesitant to accept that they are victims of cyberbullying. But, school-going teenagers report a rise in the rate of online aggression cases.
What parents think about cyberbullying
After realizing that the majority of online trolling happens to children, it’s only fair to find out parent’s points of view about this vice.
Here are some of the statistics that show how parents are aware of this phenomenon:
33. Parental awareness of cyberbullying is high in the West and low in the East
Parents from different countries in the world have varying views about cyberbullying.
For instance, about 40% of Indian parents have reported that their children were cyberbullied at some time. But only about 4% of parents in Japan and Russia filed such a report.
India, Brazil, and America have rising parental awareness. European countries are still stagnant. Yet, Russia has a nearly 0% reporting rate, which shows is the level of obliviousness in this matter.
34. Parents believe internet addiction is a more cause of worry than cyberbullying.
Statista reports 14% of parents are worried more about their kids’ internet addiction. This is a huge contrast to the 7% thought cyberbullying was a big issue.
35. Asian parents tell children about cyberbullying all the time
The majority of Asian parents understand the dangers of cyberbullying. They even go-ahead to speak to their kids about it. 46% of these parents do it all the time, while 39% tell them often. 12% have never engaged their children in any discussion to do with online harassment.
36. Two-thirds of parents believe social media is a high-risk platform for kids
When Statista interviewed about 20000 parents worldwide, 65% believe social media isn’t safe for their children. 30% thought text messages were a high-risk social engagement. And, 34% held that chat rooms were the leading platforms in which harassment thrived.
There’s, however, a sharp difference between kids and their parents. Parents believe Twitter and Facebook are the platforms responsible for cyberbullying. But, the kids rate Instagram and Snapchat as the leading avenues.
Statistics of cyberbullying effects
Victims of cyberbullying could end up becoming bullies themselves. And worse, they might even resort to suicidal thoughts after getting harassed.
Trolls ride on highly dynamic aspects of life, and this hurts people. Here are some worrying cyber bullying stats: Female victims easily lose self-esteem.
So, how does internet harassment affect women’s life offline? Statista Organisation studied 1000 women between the age of 18 and 55.
Victims experienced mood swings, panic attacks, and depression. 66% of them admitted to feeling powerless after the attack. 63% couldn’t sleep, while 61% lost their self-esteem.
37. Teens find it challenging to learn or stay at school
Florida Atlantic University studied the learning patterns of 5400 students. 64% of victims had problems learning. Most of these victims felt unsafe in school and could not concentrate on their studies.
38. Cyberbullying makes Asians more aware and vigilant
Apparently, not all the effects of cyber bullying are scary. Asia boasts some positive cyberbullying effects.
24% of victims in Asia went ahead to become more vigilant. 7% of those who witnessed cyberbullying felt the urge to make a change.
39. Online harassment pushes victims to suicide and self-harm
Cyberbullying has a direct connection to suicide. In fact, 24% of people who’ve been severely harassed contemplated suicide.
That is common in the puberty stage because as it amplifies stress and anxiety, especially in females.
40. Cyberbullying depression statistics
According to Ditch The Label Organisation, four of ten victims develop psychological complications. For instance, 37% become anxious, while 36% fall into depression.
A few cyberbullying statistics takeaways
It is evident that the last decade has seen the number of cyberbullying cases triple. The exponential growth of social media and the internet, in general, is to blame. As digital platforms continue to evolve, so does the shape and form of cyberbullying grow as well.
Online bashing is typical among sensational internet users who publish religious and political opinions that stir up emotions.
Cyberbullying facts show that young children, women, and the LGBTQ community are the primary victims. Trolls mask their identity to perpetrate these heinous acts.
Some cyberbullying victims fall into anxiety and depression. Then, students are unable to concentrate on studies because they fear the trolls.
Cyberbullying statistics create awareness for parents, students, and authorities. These online harassment stats are not just numbers. They represent real people who are suffering.
The surest way to keep off cyberbullying is to stay away from the internet. But, this is not viable in the world we live in today. So, you may want to try out software that helps you keep your kids safe online or control what they do on the internet. Monitoring your children’s online activity could end up saving them from cyberbullies.
About the author
Ali Qamar is the founder of PrivacySavvy, which he started out of the sheer passion for making every internet user privacy savvy. Ali has always been concerned about security and privacy for the general public and very libertarian. He has been a privacy advocate even before Edward Snowden appeared with his revelations about NSA's mass surveillance.
Ali graduated with a computing degree from the leading IT college in Pakistan, so he boasts a background in this area. He has an accountable understanding of the technical sides of encryption, VPNs, and privacy.
Ali is regularly quoted in the privacy and security reports by the local press. His contributions have been featured in HackRead, SecurityAffairs, Ehacking, Intego, Livewire, Business.com, InfosecMagazine, and many more publications online. Ali is naturally attracted to transforming things.