As the digital age continues to grow, so does the prevalence of internet-connected devices, making cyberbullying an increasingly common form of harassment. But what's the real scope of this issue, and how many lives does this virtual menace touch?
In this article, we reveal the most compelling cyberbullying statistics for 2023. We've done the heavy lifting, combing the far reaches of the web to bring you the most pertinent and eye-opening data available.
Discover the staggering impact of cyberbullying on preteens, teens, and even adults.
Key cyberbullying statistics
The following are the most important cyberbullying statistics as of 2023.
In 2021, online harassment affected 41% of internet users, with 27% experiencing severe forms of harassment, such as physical threats, sexual harassment, and stalking. [Statista]
As of the beginning of 2023, 5.16 billion people used the internet worldwide, accounting for 64.4 percent of the global population. Furthermore, 4.76 billion people were active on social media. [Statista]
Eight out of ten individuals encountered workplace cyberbullying in the past six months. [The International Journal of Human Resource Management]
The number of students reporting cyberbullying in 2021 increased by 55% compared to 2011. [Cyberbullying Research Center]
Cyberbullying affected 20% of preteens (8-12 years old). [Cyberbullying Research Center]
Half of 10-18-year-olds experienced cyberbullying. [European Commission]
28% of teenagers encountered multiple types of cyberbullying. [Pew Research Center]
Teachers' top safety concern is cyberbullying. [Google]
In 2022, 60% of children worldwide were more concerned about cyberbullying than they were in 2021. [McAfee]
Cyberbullying concerned 34% of parents in 2022, and nearly 60% feared that their children might become cyberbullies. [McAfee]
In January 2021, 75% of US cyberbullying victims were targeted on Facebook, with Twitter and Instagram following at 24% each. [Statista]
How teens use social media
Here’s how teen social media usage in 2022 compares to 2015, according to Pew Research Center:
YouTube: 95% (no data available for 2015)
TikTok: 67% (no data available for 2015)
Instagram: 62% in 2022 vs. 52% in 2015
Snapchat: 59% in 2022 vs. 41% in 2015
Facebook: 32% in 2022 vs. 71% in 2015
Twitter: 23% in 2022 vs. 33% in 2015
Twitch: 20% (no data available for 2015)
WhatsApp: 17% (no data available for 2015)
Reddit: 14% (no data available for 2015)
Tumblr: 5% in 2022 vs. 14% in 2015
The impact of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can significantly impact the mental health and well-being of those who experience it, including children, teens, and adults. Here are more details:
Cyberbullied students report poor sleep and signs of depression. [Sleep Research Society]
Workplace cyberbullying can lead to stress, mental and physical illness, emotional issues, job dissatisfaction, and decreased performance. [Computers in Human Behavior]
Cyberbullying heightens the risk of self-harm and suicide in victims. Perpetrators of cyberbullying are also at risk of suicidal behaviors. [Journal of Medical Internet Research]
In 2020, 36% of US online abuse victims either stopped or reduced their online activities. Additionally, 25% experienced problems with sleep, and 18% contacted the platform for assistance. [Statista]
Preteens (ages 8 to 12) and cyberbullying
Here are some key facts about preteens and cyberbullying in 2023:
Cyberbullying affects 20% of preteens.
15% were cyberbullied themselves (6% many times, 8.5% once or twice).
15% witnessed cyberbullying.
14% bullied others at school at least once (nearly 2% did it several times). [Cyberbullying Research Center]
Cyberbullying impacts preteens in various ways:
Damages their self-esteem (70%)
Harms friendships (33%)
Affects schooling (6.5%)
Causes physical health issues (3.1%)
Leads to other effects (16.2%) [Cyberbullying Research Center]
Here's how preteens managed to stop being cyberbullied:
Blocked the cyberbully (60.2%)
Told a parent (50.8%)
Ignored the person (42.8%)
Reported it to the website or app (29.8%)
Walked away or took a break from the device (29.6%)
Reported it to the school (11.8%)
Talked to the person doing the cyberbullying (11%)
Employed other methods not listed (5.9%)
Found nothing worked (2.0%) [Cyberbullying Research Center]
66% of preteens helped cyberbully victims. [Cyberbullying Research Center]
The top three reasons preteens hesitated to help others are:
35% feared worsening the situation.
34% didn't know what to do.
27% didn't know how to report it online. [Cyberbullying Research Center]
Teens aged 13–16 are more likely to be cyberbullied on social media, whereas 9–10-year-olds are more likely to be tormented on gaming sites. [European Parliament]
34% of kids globally have deactivated their accounts to escape cyberbullying. [McAfee]
Teens (ages 13 to 17) and cyberbullying
The next cyberbullying statistics focus on middle and high school students aged 13 to 17. Learn about the prevalence and consequences of cyberbullying in this age group's digital environment.
How common is cyberbullying among teens?
We know that cyberbullying is common among teenagers, but how prevalent is it?
46% of U.S. teens experienced cyberbullying in 2022. [Pew Research Center]
57% of young people worldwide were cyberbullied by someone they knew, and 45% by strangers. [McAfee]
In 2022, 84% of 8-17-year-olds were bullied online, compared to 61% who faced bullying in person. [Office of Communications UK]
28% of teens encountered multiple forms of cyberbullying. [Pew Research Center]
One-third of children in most countries have engaged in cyberbullying. [European Commission]
Germany, Romania, and Switzerland have the highest percentages of online bullies, with 49%, 45%, and 43% of teens, respectively. [European Commission]
49% of teenage girls experienced cyberbullying compared to 43% of boys. [Pew Research Center]
Girls were cyberbullied more for their appearance (17% vs. 11%) or gender (14% vs. 6%) than boys. [Pew Research Center]
Online harassment was higher for 15-17-year-olds (49%) than for 13-14-year-olds (42%). Among older teens, 17% were cyberbullied for their appearance, compared to 11% of 13–14-year-olds. [Pew Research Center]
The most common forms of cyberbullying reported by teens included posting unpleasant remarks, spreading rumors, and threatening to hurt someone. [Cyberbullying Research Center]
In 2021, 31.7% of non-heterosexual teens and 20.8% of heterosexual teenagers were cyberbullied. As a result, sexual minorities are 50% more likely to be cyberbullied. [Statista]
The technology used in cyberbullying among teens
During 2021–2022, the following online platforms were used to harass or threaten students:
Private social media messages (34.6%)
Text message (20.4%)
Public social media posts (19.1%)
Online classroom (9.2%)
Online game (8.5%)
Online meeting platform (4.5%)
Other (1%) [Pew Research Center]
Why are teens cyberbullied?
Teenagers in the US believe they have been cyberbullied for their appearance (15%), gender (10%), race and ethnicity (9%), sexual orientation (5%), and political views (5%). [Pew Research Center]
Racist cyberbullying affects 22% of 10-year-olds. [McAfee]
Cyberbullying varies for people of different races and ethnicities. For instance, 48% of white teens report being cyberbullied, while 47% of Hispanic and 40% of black teens say the same. [McAfee]
According to parents, 28% of children worldwide have encountered racial cyberbullying. [McAfee]
Teenagers from low-income households are twice as likely to experience online bullying (16% vs. 8%). [Pew Research Center]
How teens combat cyberbullying
Here's what teens think about the measures taken to stop cyberbullying:
66% of teens say their parents are good at dealing with online abuse.
40% of teens say their teachers do a great job handling cyberbullying.
37% of people feel the same way about the police.
25% of teens say that social media sites are at least doing a good job addressing cyberbullying and online harassment.
18% of teens say elected officials have handled online harassment and bullying well. [Research Center of Pew]
Here's what teens think would help reduce cyberbullying:
Half say criminal charges or banning the bully's accounts would greatly reduce teen social media harassment.
42% think social media companies should find and delete bullying or harassing posts.
37% think these platforms should require real names and pictures. [Pew Research Center]
Types of cyberbullying behavior among teens
Here are the most common types of cyberbullying incidents.
Exclusion from group chats and conversations (36%)
False rumors (28%)
Making a joke at someone else’s expense (22%)
Being sent explicit photos they didn’t ask for (17%).
Asking for personal information (15%)
“Burning” or teasing someone (12%)
Physical threats — 12.5%
Posting explicit photos of them, aka revenge porn — 7%. [Pew Research Center]
What are parents and schools doing to stop cyberbullying?
Discover how parents and schools deal with the complex issue of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying education is being pursued by 80% of parents. This matches the fact that 74% are concerned about cyberbullying. [McAfee]
64% of parents globally talk to their children to try to help them. [McAfee]
61% of parents check their kids' electronic devices for cyberbullying. [McAfee]
39% of parents contact schools, and 22% consult camp counselors. [McAfee]
29% of parents in the US use therapy to help their children. [McAfee]
Just 4% of parents do not educate or assist their children. [McAfee]
Middle schools report 33% of cyberbullying, followed by high schools (30%), combined schools (20%), and primary schools (5%). [CDC]
In 2019–20, more public schools (16%) reported cyberbullying than in 2009–10 (8%). [Institute of Education Sciences]
16% of public schools reported student cyberbullying weekly. [Institute of Education Sciences]
Adults and cyberbullying
Every day, many adults are subjected to cyberbullying, but how serious is the problem? We’ll explore how common cyberbullying is among adults, how it affects adults, why it occurs, and more.
How common is cyberbullying among adults?
Explore the most recent data on how frequently adults are targeted online:
41% of Americans were harassed online in 2020. [Pew Research Center]
25% of Americans reported receiving physical threats or sexual harassment online in 2021. [Pew Research Center]
Online abuse increased from 16% in 2014 to 19% in 2017 and 28% in 2021. [Pew Research Center]
64% of adults under 30 have experienced online abuse. It’s the only age group with a majority. [Pew Research Center]
Online harassment affects half of 30- to 49-year-olds and 26% of 50-year-olds. [Pew Research Center]
Here’s what Americans think would help prevent bullying:
51% think suspending bullies would work.
48% want platforms to require user identification.
43% want bullies and harassers prosecuted.
40% think social media companies should delete bullying and harassing posts. [Pew Research Center]
How affected are adults by cyberbullying?
Certain groups are more vulnerable than others when it comes to cyberbullying.
Adult men are cyberbullied more than women: 43% vs 38%. [Pew Research Center]
Online harassment is higher for LGB people (68%) than straight people (39%). [Pew Research Center]
61% of women and 48% of men feel internet harassment directed at them is a big issue. [Pew Research Center]
Women are more than twice as likely as men to report being disturbed by their most recent online harassment encounter (34% vs. 14%). [Pew Research Center]
61% of men and 36% of women harassed online were not offended by their most recent occurrence. [Pew Research Center]
24% of people harassed online say their most recent event was extremely upsetting. [Pew Research Center]
Reasons for online hate among adults
Here are some important facts about why adults are usually harassed online:
55% of US cyberbullying victims were attacked due to their political views, while 35% experienced hate related to their physical appearance. [Statista]
50% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults harassed online believe it was because of their sexuality. [Pew Research Center]
Where are adults cyberbullied?
On which platforms does cyberbullying occur more often? Most online harassment occurs on social media, with 75% of cyberbullying victims claiming the attacks happened there. [Pew Research Center]
Social media actions against cyberbullying
Here's how several social media giants handled online harassment on their platforms.
Facebook erased 56.6 million hate speech posts in Q4 2021–Q3 2022. [Statista]
62% of YouTube comments deleted in Q3 2022 were spam, deceptive, or fraudulent. 15.1% were removed for child safety, 15.4% for harassment and cyberbullying, and 6.8% for hatred or abuse. [Statista]
YouTube erased 737.51 million comments in Q3 2022 for violating community guidelines. The platform erased almost 2 billion comments in Q2 2020 for similar reasons. [Statista]
Cyberbullying in online games
Harassment is a common occurrence in online games. Take a look at these stats:
88% of American adult gamers had positive online social encounters, but 74% of them also faced online harassment. [Anti-Defamation League]
Physical threats, stalking, and sustained harassment affect 65% of players. [Anti-Defamation League]
29% of multiplayer internet gamers have been doxed. [Anti-Defamation League]
Most players are harassed in the following games:
DOTA 2 (79%)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (75%)
PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (75%)
League of Legends (75%). [Anti-Defamation League]
53% of harassed online multiplayer players believe they were targeted because of their:
Race/ethnicity — 31% of black or African-Americans, 24% of Hispanics/Latinos, and 23% of Asian-Americans
Religion — 19% of Jews and Muslims
Gender — 38% of women
Sexual orientation — 35% of LGBTQ+ players [Anti-Defamation League]
23% of bullied online multiplayer gamers avoid games with unfriendly environments. 19% have quit games due to harassment. [Anti-Defamation League]
Only 27% of online multiplayer gamers said harassment did not affect their game experience, indicating 73% were affected by it. [Anti-Defamation League]
Association of Online Risk Factors With Subsequent Youth Suicide-Related Behaviors in the US — JAMA Network
How children (10-18) experienced online risks during the Covid-19 lockdown - Spring 2020 — European Commission
Detecting the Usage of Vulgar Words in Cyberbully Activities from Twitter — International Journal on Adv. Science Engineering IT
Cyberbullying Among Young People — European Parliament
Online Safety & Parents — Google
Cyber Victimization and Depressive Symptoms: A Mediation Model Involving Sleep Quality — Sleep Research Society
Relationship between cyberbullying roles, cortisol secretion and psychological stress — Computers in Human Behavior
Understanding the relationship between experiencing workplace cyberbullying, employee mental strain and job satisfaction: a disempowerment approach — The International Journal of Human Resource Management
U.S. internet users who have experienced cyber bullying 2021 — Statista
Facebook: hate speech content removal as of Q4 2022 — Statista
U.S. children who have been victims of cyberbullying 2021, by sexual orientation — Statista
Distribution of video comments removed from YouTube worldwide Q3 2022, by reason — Statista
Share of videos removed from YouTube worldwide Q3 2022, by reason — Statista
U.S. cyber bullying environments 2021 — Statista
Tween Statistics (9- to 12-year-olds) — Cyberbullying Research Center
Summary of Our Cyberbullying Research (2007-2021) — Cyberbullying Research Center
Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response (2022 Edition) — Cyberbullying Research Center
Digital Dating Abuse: A Brief Guide for Educators and Parents — Cyberbullying Research Center
Free to Play? Hate, Harassment, and Positive Social Experiences in Online Games — Anti-Defamation League
Teens and Cyberbullying 2022 — Pew Research Center
The State of Online Harassment — Pew Research Center
Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022 — Pew Research Center
Self-Harm, Suicidal Behaviours, and Cyberbullying in Children and Young People: Systematic Review — JMIR Publications
More Dangers of Cyberbullying Emerge—Our Latest Connected Family Report — McAfee
Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021 — Institute of Education Sciences
Octav Fedor (Cybersecurity Editor)
Octav is a cybersecurity researcher and writer at AntivirusGuide. When he’s not publishing his honest opinions about security software online, he likes to learn about programming, watch astronomy documentaries, and participate in general knowledge competitions.