Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed September 10, 2019
Cyberbullying continues to increase as technology and social media evolve. This type of bullying is unique because it can happen around the clock while the victim is in complete isolation – and often follows technological or social trends that parents are not aware of yet.
There are clear laws against harassment and bullying, but it can be complicated for states and schools to separate self-expression from online harassment. While cyberbullying allegations often lead to debates and differing opinions, the undebatable fact is that online harassment is affecting more online users every year, many of whom are minors.
Helpful Cyberbullying Statistics
These 2019 statistics on cyberbullying shed some light on how large the problem is becoming across the nation — for students and adults alike:
- 73% of students under 18 years old report being bullied at least once in their life.
- The number of students who feel bullied is now nearly double what it was in 2016.
- 87% of minors have seen cyberbullying online in some form.
- One in six women have been stalked online, and one in 19 men report online stalking.
- Out of every 10 American adults, four report experiencing harassment online.
- 15% of people report being a cyberbully at least once in their life.
- 69% of people report harassing or abusing someone else online, though they did not identify it as cyberbullying.
- 64% of students report that being cyberbullied affects their ability to learn.
Cyberbullying Trends on Social Media
The online channels where cyberbullying occurs can change rapidly. A 2019 study from Enough.org shows popular social media channels and their percentage of users that have encountered bullying incidents:
- Instagram: 42%
- Facebook: 37%
- Snapchat: 31%
- WhatsApp: 12%
- YouTube: 10%
- Twitter: 9%
In a study, 71% of surveyed people think online channels do not do enough to stop cyberbullying. The following grim statistics show the serious outcomes that can develop from cyberbullying.
- 24% of students have considered suicide due to cyberbullying.
- 37% of cyberbullied students developed anxiety and 36% developed depression.
- Only 22% of female cyberbullying victims will pursue action against the bully.
Speaking daily with your child can help keep them safe. According to one study, 38% of students would report cyberbullying to their parents and at least 27% would tell one of their friends. Keep your ears and eyes open and take immediate action if any scenario seems like cyberbullying.
What You Need to do After A Cyberbullying Incident
No matter what side of the situation you are on, every cyberbullying situation is complex. It may involve families, children, teachers, schools, education, online platforms, violation of a minor’s rights, criminal law and more. You can bring charges against a cyberbully and attorneys may get involved to resolve serious cases.
All 50 states have individual laws regarding harassment and bullying. Read your state’s laws for specifics on what you may be facing and follow these tips if you encounter online bullying:
My Child Was Cyberbullying
My Child Was Cyberbullied
Immediate Actions to Take
Who To Tell
When To Call An Attorney
How Can I Keep My Child Safe From Cyberbullying?
Everyone needs to be a good digital citizen. Promoting healthy relationships with others is the first step to stop bullying and ensure people report abuse right when they see it. To help protect your child, parents can also choose to:
- Monitor all websites or social platforms
- Monitor what your child does online
- Manage their child’s logins of social media channels
- Block users that are trolling or bullying
- Request to see the messages their child receives
- Recommend that their children keep accounts private
- Recommend that their children do not friend or follow people they do not know
- Disable all comments sections or tell children to avoid reading comments or commenting on sites
- Report online bullying to the channel administer or customer service department
- Use “report abuse” features on posts or “report this person” options under usernames
While these tips can be helpful to prevent an incident, remember that cyberbullying is never the victim’s fault. Online safety and respect should be a right for everyone.
Cyberbullying may happen online, but most incidences involve people who know each other in person. For example, a child may take their personal dislike for a classmate online. Telling police, other parents and school authorities can help stop a bad situation and prevent more serious scenarios.
Criminal law attorneys can also ally with you to pursue charges and seek justice for defamation, harassment, threats or violence. The rights of adults and minors are important to protect – all states have criminal or civil laws against harassment to protect these rights.
Seek Help Right Away When You Spot Cyberbullying
Many states and organizations take cyberbullying very seriously. No matter what side of the situation you and your family are on, speaking with an attorney who understands online harassment laws is a key place to start. They can help you understand what you may be facing, and the course of action that will protect your child’s best interests.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.