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October - Bully Awareness and Prevention Month - Press Release 2020

Talk with your kids about cyberbullying
Oregon Cyberbullying Laws
The 10 Warning Signs of Cyberbullying - Short
Cyberbullying Warning Signs - Long
Signs a Child Is Being Bullied
Digital Citizenship
Solutions and Prevention of Cyber Bullying Among Youth – Complete Guide 2020
A Comprehensive Cyberbullying Guide for Parents: Updated: June 7, 2018
What Is Cyberbullying? An Overview for Students, Parents, and Teachers
Cyberbullying: What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Children (12 page PDF)
Looking for Cyberbullies? Try Instagram
Cyberbullying facts and statistics for 2016/2017
11 Facts About Cyber Bullying
Nationwide teen bullying and cyberbullying study reveals significant issues impacting youth
Understanding Cyberbullying in College: Tips, Tools & Solutions for Recognizing and
Stopping Bullying in Social Media and Online
Teen Victims of Cyberbullying More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol: Study
Students Take On Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying Quiz: Have you ever been Cyberbullied?
Why Do Kids Bully Each Other Online?
Top Ten Mistakes
Simple Avoidance Tactics
If You Have Been Harassed Online: What to Do
If It Does Happen
What Can You Do To Stop It?
Where Do You Report It?
Professional Tennis Player Retires Following Cyber-Bullying Incident
Revenge porn law
The Long-Term Effects of Adult Sibling Bullying
Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, & Response 2019 (9 page PDF)
14 Signs of Cyberbullying in the Classroom
2019 Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response Guide (9 page PDF)
Cyberbullying & Suicide

Suicide | Suicide Index
Bullying and suicide | Bullying and Suicide Index
Cyberbullying and Suicide (2 page PDF)
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Pediatric Emergency Department Visits for Mental Health Crisis: Prevalence of Cyber-Bullying in Suicidal YouthDeath Hyperlink: Internet Suicide Pacts: Medical Journal Warns of 'Cybersuicide' Trend
Young victims of cyberbullying twice as likely to attempt suicide and self-harm, study finds
Cyberbullying makes young people twice as likely to self harm or attempt suicide
Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide Among US Youth: Our Updated Research Findings
Victimized Teens Six Times More Likely to Attempt Suicide
What Drives a Person to Suicide?
When Suicide Summons
Suicide: From the Edge and Back Again
How to Survive Suicidal Thoughts
How to Communicate Suicidal Feelings
Suicidal? 10 Tips for Keeping Yourself Alive
Suicide Awareness: The Family Secret
Suicidal Thoughts Are Not Weak
5 Self-Care Tips During Recovery from a Suicide Attempt
Change Suicidal Thoughts by Asking “Says Who?”
What Can Be Done to Reduce the Risk of Suicide
Your Suicide Attempt Doesn’t Make You Unloveable

CyberStalking Links


Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, & Response - 2019 (9 page PDF)
Cyberbullying: What Is Cyberbullying and How to Stop It - An overview
Statistics & Citations as of June 5, 2019
Cyberbullying: The complete resource guide
Parenting Online

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Talk with your kids about cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has intensified the experience of getting bullied by literally shattering the walls between school and home. There is no escape. Cyberbullying follows you everywhere: home, summer camp, to Grandma’s house.”

Fact is, it’s not enough to say to a kid, “So don’t go online. Don’t pick up the phone.” Could you follow that advice? I sure couldn’t. Young people are passionate about their reputations. They’re also developmentally unable to understand that anything beyond their personal hell exists.

With a recent study showing that youth spend nearly every waking moment with a device in their hand, we want to share some of advice on how to talk with your child about cyberbullying and digital citizenship.

Experts say there are some guidelines parents can follow to protect their children, at least until they're old enough to make decisions for themselves.

1. Monitor the use of your child’s photo online. Many cyberbullies will take your child’s photo and manipulate it in ways that are damaging or embarrassing. Be very careful about the images your child presents online, especially those coming from cell phones.

2. Watch out for cell phones, period. If you can’t figure it out, regardless of whether your child is dying to have it, don't buy it.

3. Regularly check in with kids and gauge the emotional tenor of the social network. Ask "What happened online today" right after you ask "How was school today." Often, simply raising questions and having an open discussion are the best ways to find out whether children are encountering inappropriate pressure online.

4. Set, then obey, age limits. If you’re child is under 13 they DO NOT belong on Facebook. Parents need to enforce that rule and not play ostrich. All conversations need to be age appropriate. Say "sexting" to a 13-year-old, but not to a 10-year-old.

5. Know who your kids are talking to. Don’t assume -- there is no profile for a cyberbully or a victim. It's not about spying. Teach your kids to seek out an adult, such as yourself, if they are online and one of the ' four Ds' occurs: something Dangerous, Destructive, Derogatory, or Damaging.

6. Teach kids to let it roll off their backs. Advise your kids not to make comments or join in spiteful threads. Be nice. Emphasize the positive: “I see you as a person with enormous kindness, integrity and respect for others. I expect you to be that same person when you’re using an electronic device." Don’t forward negative communication or respond back, but show it to a trusted adult.

7. The Internet is forever. Remind kids constantly of its permanence. It's not a great place to play a prank on someone, since it never goes away and spreads like wildfire.

If you haven’t had this conversation, or one like it, do not pass go. The time is now.

Young victims of cyberbullying twice as likely to attempt suicide and self-harm

Children and young people under 25 who are victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behavior, according to a study.

New research suggests that it is not just the victims of cyberbullying that are more vulnerable to suicidal behaviours, but the perpetrators themselves are also at higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Cyberbullying is using electronic communication to bully another, for instance by sending intimidating, threatening or unpleasant messages using social media.

The systematic review study, led by Professor Ann John at Swansea University Medical School in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham looked at more than 150,000 children and young people across 30 countries, over a 21-year period.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, highlighted the significant impact that cyberbullying involvement (as bullies and victims) can have on children and young people.

The researchers say it shows an urgent need for effective prevention and intervention in bullying strategies.

Professor Ann John said: "Prevention of cyberbullying should be included in school anti-bullying policies, alongside broader concepts such as digital citizenship, online peer support for victims, how an electronic bystander might appropriately intervene; and more specific interventions such as how to contact mobile phone companies and internet service providers to block, educate, or identify users".

"Suicide prevention and intervention is essential within any comprehensive anti-bullying programme and should incorporate a whole-school approach to include awareness raising and training for staff and pupils".

A number of key recommendations have been made:

  • Cyberbullying involvement should be considered by policymakers who implement bullying prevention (in addition to traditional bullying) and safe Internet use programmes.
  • Clinicians working with children and young people and assessing mental health issues should routinely ask about experiences of cyberbullying and be trained to do so.
  • Children and young people involved in cyberbullying should be screened for common mental disorders and self-harm.
  • School, family, and community programmes that promote appropriate use of technology are important.
  • Prevention of cyberbullying should be included in school anti-bullying policies, alongside broader concepts such as digital citizenship, online peer support for victims, how an electronic bystander might appropriately intervene; and more specific interventions such as how to contact mobile phone companies and Internet service providers to block, educate, or identify users.
  • Suicide prevention and intervention is essential within any comprehensive anti-bullying programme and should incorporate a whole-school approach to include awareness raising and training for staff and pupils.

The study also found a strong link between being a cyber-victim and being a perpetrator. This duality was found to particularly put males at higher risk of depression and suicidal behaviours.

The researchers highlighted that these vulnerabilities should be recognised at school so that cyberbullying behaviours would be seen as an opportunity to support vulnerable young people, rather than for discipline.

It was recommended that anti-bullying programmes and protocols should address the needs of both victims and perpetrators, as possible school exclusion might contribute to an individual's sense of isolation and lead to feelings of hopelessness, often associated with suicidal behaviours in adolescents and young people.

The research also found that students who were cyber-victimised were less likely to report and seek help than those victimised by more traditional means, thus highlighting the importance for staff in schools to encourage 'help-seeking' in relation to cyberbullying.

What Is Cyberbullying? An Overview for Students, Parents, and Teachers

The Internet is a defining factor of modern education. In fact, education has become more accessible and widespread than ever before because of the Internet. From using digital textbooks to getting a degree online, more classroom functions and student experiences are moving into cyberspace — including, unfortunately, bullying.

Despite all the good that the Internet has brought to students, parents, and teachers alike, there are people who use it with malicious intent. And just as bullying has existed since the dawn of time, virtual bullying has existed since the beginning of the Internet. This guide on cyberbullying from Maryville University Online will help you learn everything you need to know about cyberbullying, from relevant facts and statistics to helpful resources, so you can keep your teen safe online.

Cyberbullying Definition

According the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “cyberbullying” was first used in 1998. They define it as “the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (such as a student) often done anonymously.” But as time has gone on and the Internet itself has evolved, so has the definition of cyberbullying. defines cyberbullying as “bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets”, whereas the Cyberbullying Research Center describes it as the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” Essentially, it’s the use of electronic communication to mirror the way a person would be bullied in real life, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.

Differences from Traditional Bullying

There are a few aspects of cyberbullying that differentiate it from traditional bullying, which make it a unique concern for parents and teachers. Some of these differences include:

Anonymity: While victims usually know who their bully is, online bullies may be able to hide their identities online. The anonymity of the internet can lead to crueler or harsher abuses from the bully, all while the victim has no means of discovering who his or her harasser is.

Relentless: Bullying typically ends once the victim is removed from the negative social situation. However, smartphones, laptops, and other devices have made it possible for people to communicate with each other at all hours and from nearly any location. Cyberbullies may be able to torment their victim twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, making it difficult for the victim to escape it by going home or even changing schools.

Public: With traditional bullying, often only people that interact with those involved will know of the abuse. However, when content is posted or shared online, it’s possible that anyone may see it. This opens up the victim to more potential ridicule or pain from strangers. This is compounded by the anonymity afforded by virtual spaces: while bullying in person may be done covertly or out of view to avoid punishment, cyberbullies need not fear being witnessed in the act if their identities are not known.

Permanent: Because online content is impossible to delete entirely, cyberbullying may damage the victim’s, or possibly the bully’s, reputation permanently. Even if the content is removed or deleted from the original site, someone may find it posted elsewhere later. This may negatively impact future employment, college admissions, or relationships for victim and bully alike.

Easy to Overlook: Cyberbullying may be harder for teachers, administrators, and parents to discover, because they may not have access to students’ online activities. They may not be able to overhear or see the abuse taking place. Unless someone comes forward, parents and teachers may never know that bullying is taking place.

Cyberbullying is very different from traditional bullying, but it is still bullying. The consequences and dangers remain the same, if not increased in their severity and duration. Even though it occurs online instead of in-person, cyberbullying needs to be taken as seriously as traditional bullying.

Cyberbullying Statistics

Cyberbullying is not something that parents or their teenager have made up. It’s more common than you may think. And for many teenagers, young adults, and social media users, it poses a very real threat.

  • According to the School Crime Supplement from the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, 28 percent of all students from grades six to twelve have experienced some kind of bullying.
  • notes that about 30 percent of students have bullied others in some way or form during their lifetime.
  • A survey from the World Health Organization reports that, compared to 35 other countries in the Americas and Europe, the U.S. experiences an average amount of bullying. Across various age groups, Estonia and Lithuania rank highest for both bullying and victimization, while the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Sweden report the lowest rates.
  • The Cyberbullying Research Center reports that in 2016, about 34 percent of students had been a victim of cyberbullying at some time in their lives.
  • The same report from 2016 notes that girls were somewhat more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying than boys: 36.7 percent of adolescent girls had experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lives, compared to 30.5 percent of adolescent boys.
  • Youth who are part of the LGBTQ community are significantly more likely to experience cyberbullying. The 2015 National School Climate Survey found that almost half (48.6 percent) of students who are LGBTQ had experienced cyberbullying at some time in the last year.
  • The Cyberbullying Research Center also found that about 16 percent of students had cyberbullied others at some point in their lifetime.
  • A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, titled The Overlap Between Cyberbullying and Traditional Bullying, found that fewer than five percent of bullying victims experience cyberbullying alone. Typically, victims will encounter at least one other form of traditional bullying in addition to cyberbullying.

Examples of Cyberbullying

As technology has developed over the last twenty years, cyberbullying has become an increasingly larger issue. The immense popularity of smartphones, various instant messaging apps, and the rise of social media have opened up an ever-growing number of ways for cyberbullies to hurt their targets.


Much like offline harassment, online harassment involves sending abusive or offensive messages to an individual or group. Harassment takes great effort on the part of the bully to hurt the victim. Further, it is intentional, repeated, and constant. The victim will often have no reprieve from the bully. Especially over a period of time, these messages can have a negative impact on the victim’s self-esteem or confidence.


Cyberstalking is a form of harassment. These messages are often no longer just offensive or rude, but more threatening in nature. Messages may escalate to threaten the victim’s physical safety. Cyberstalking can quickly lead to in-person harassment or stalking


Exclusion comprises of deliberately ostracizing the victim. This may involve leaving them out from social media groups, chat rooms, messages, events, or activities. It may mean purposefully having conversations on social media platforms or apps that the victim does not have access to, or that they see, but are unable to join. The group may then go on to say cruel or rude things about the excluded person behind their back.


Outing is when the bully publicly shares private messages, pictures, or other information about the victim on the internet. This is done without the victim’s knowledge or consent, and is meant to embarrass, shame, or humiliate them. The information may be trivial or more private and serious, but either way, it is a form of outing.


Masquerading occurs when the bully, or possibly even bullies, assumes another identity to anonymously harass the victim. They may either impersonate someone else, use a real person’s account or phone number, or create an entirely fake identity. Often, the bully will know the victim well if they feel the need to hide their identity. The bully may harass or cyberstalk with victim. This is typically done in an attempt to amuse themselves or humiliate the victim.


Fraping is the act of logging into someone’s social media profile and posting inappropriate content under their name. While many people consider this to be a funny joke, fraping can hurt someone’s reputation, get them in trouble with family, or otherwise embarrass or harm them.

These various forms of cyberbullying often overlap, and the bully may choose to employ or combine multiple tactics to hurt their target. For example, they may share private information about someone after gaining access to their own account.

In addition, all these different kinds of cyberbullying may take place on different devices, social media websites, forums, text messages, or mobile apps. Someone may not even realize they are bullying someone, or even that they are being bullied.

Cyberbullying Laws

Bullying has become such a pervasive issue in recent years that there are initiatives and laws at multiple levels of government to prevent it.

Federal Laws

There are no federal laws that specifically address bullying. Cyberstalking is a notable exception to this rule. Though there are no federal laws regarding cyberstalking specifically, it is a criminal action under other anti-stalking and harassment laws.

Bullying may overlap with discrimination, harassment, or hate crimes if it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion. If that overlap occurs, federally-funded schools at all levels must address and resolve the harassment.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relation Service offers resources to help communities resolve conflicts, prevent violence, and respond to hate crimes and discrimination. It is a free, confidential service that offers everything from counseling to technical assistance. If harassment persists, victims should consider filing a formal complaint with both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice.

State Laws

All fifty states have anti-bullying laws in place. Most states, though not all, also have laws meant to prevent cyberbullying. Some states also have policies in place to help guide schools and their districts respond to bullying.

Familiarize yourself with the laws and policies in your state. You can find more information at the Cyberbullying Research Center or

There may also be local laws in place at the regional, county, or city level. If nothing else, most school districts or school codes of conduct contain anti-bullying language or rules. Be sure to research the various policies and laws at the local level in your area.

How to Identify Cyberbullying

As discussed above, one of the most concerning aspects of cyberbullying is how difficult it can be to recognize. Still, teachers should always be on the lookout for signs that a student is either being a bully or being bullied.

Signs and Symptoms of Cyberbullying

Some of the warning signs of cyberbullying may overlap with those of traditional bullying. However, here are a few things you should look in particular:

Anxiety or Anger: Pay attention to your teenager’s mood both during and after they use a mobile phone or computer. Do they consistently seem anxious, nervous, or otherwise upset when spending time online? Do they get angry or have outbursts when they are online?

Secretive: Has your teen become secretive or defensive about their online activities? If they unexpectedly shut off devices when others approach, refuse to discuss what they do online, or get upset or agitated when you try to discuss this with them, they may be attempting to hide the fact that they are being bullied.

Avoiding Technology: Take note of the frequency of the amount of time your teen spends online, especially if they have always enjoyed it. If they have suddenly stopped using their devices as frequently (or possibly altogether), they may be attempting to avoid a bully.

Becoming Withdrawn: Even if your teenager has always been quiet or introverted, observe their social behavior. Do they want to spend more and more time away from their friends and peers? Have they suddenly started commenting on their lack of friends or how there’s drama at school? Have they been pushing away people they’re close to and wanting to spend more time alone?

Increase in Messages: Has your teen started to receive a lot more messages or emails than they usually do? Are they from numbers or people you don’t recognize? Is your teenager evasive when you ask them who is contacting them?

Depression: Has your teen’s mood changed? Do they often seem sad or depressed? Has there been a drastic change to their eating or sleeping patterns? Are they claiming to be sick more often to avoid going to school or social events? Have they lost interest in other activities or hobbies?

One of these symptoms alone may not be immediate cause for concern, but if you begin to notice your teen continually exhibiting many of these behaviors, it may be time to address your concerns with them.

Why Children Don’t Discuss It

Many teenagers hide the fact that they are being bullied, online or in-person, from their parents, teachers, and other adults in their life.

Do not take it personally if your teen does not tell you about being bullied. It is an intense, confusing experience that everyone responds to differently, and there are many reasons they may choose not to talk about it with anyone.

They may not know what cyberbullying is, feel embarrassed or ashamed, or worry that their online privileges will be taken away. They may fear that the bully will retaliate or the abuse will intensify if they speak up, or they may simply want to figure out how to handle this situation on their own.

Signs Your Teen Might Be a Cyberbully

Also be on the look out for warning signs that your teen might be bullying their peers. It may be unexpected or shocking, but cyberbullying is becoming more and more common. Not only the “bad kids” are bullies, and it doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a parent.

It’s incredibly important to look for warning signs that your teenager may be a bully. Not only are they deliberately trying to hurt others, but it may also be their own way of seeking attention or help. Some of the signs to look for include:

Many Accounts: Does your teen have a large number of social media accounts on various websites? Are they under names other than your teen’s? Do you recognize the name listed on the account? They may be attempting to anonymously harass someone or infiltrate others’ accounts.

Secretive: Is your teenager secretive about what they do online? Do they turn off or hide their screen when others approach them while they’re online? Are they evasive or hostile when you ask them questions about their online activities? Do they get irritated or annoyed if you interrupt them while they’re using a phone or computer?

Long Hours Online: Pay attention to the amount of time your teen spends online. Is it excessive, especially compared to how much they’ve spent on the internet in the past? Are they obsessive about spending time on their devices or checking their messages? Do they prefer to spend time online at times of the day when they are less likely to be supervised, like before you get home from work or in the middle of the night?

Lack of Remorse: Does your teenager seem to not care if their words or actions hurt others? Do they make snarky or rude comments, especially when using their phone or computer? Is this callousness new or previously out-of-character for your teen?

New Friend Group: Has your teen recently made new friends who seem to be mean or aggressive? Do these friends have a history of bullying others themselves? Has your teenager become preoccupied with impressing them or becoming more popular with them? Peer pressure from new friends who seem aggressive can motivate many teen to start cyberbullying others.

Becoming Withdrawn: Has your teen abandoned activities and hobbies in favor of spending more time online? Do they no longer want to spend time with close friends or family members, preferring to spend time alone with their devices? Do they appear to be depressed?

Again, one of these warning signs may not be a definite indicator that your teenager is cyberbullying others. Pay careful attention to your teen’s behavior, as some of these signs may actually overlap with those that indicate they are a victim of bullying.

Why Teenagers Cyberbully Others

The reasons why one teen chooses to bully another are complex and varied. They may want to feel powerful, feel the need to act out for attention, or feel like they must control others. While each person’s motives are different, similar factors may come into play when teenagers choose to cyberbully:

  • Boredom: Some teens may simply be bored and or craving attention. It’s a way to add excitement or drama to their lives with very little effort. Cyberbullying often will become a new form of online entertainment.
  • Peer Pressure: Some bullies may be trying to impress their peers, become more popular, or maintain their social status. Being part of a group can give people a false sense of security that their actions are acceptable or normal.
  • Revenge: Teens may choose to cyberbully someone because they feel wronged by that person or that their victim deserves it. The bully may feel that their behavior is justified due to the pain the victim previously inflicted upon them.
  • Anonymity: Cyberbullies can embrace the chance to be anonymous by doing all of their harassment online under an identity other than their own. They may feel like they won’t get caught and don’t have to face their victim directly.
  • Ignorance: Some cyberbullies may simply not realize that what they’re doing is, in fact, bullying. They may think it’s just a joke and not take the situation seriously.

The Potential Effects of Cyberbullying

Traditional bullying is known to have adverse effects on victims. Academic performance can suffer, anxiety and depression can develop — and these issues can continue into adulthood. And much like traditional bullying, cyberbullying can have severe, negative consequences for the victim.

Victims may experience the following effects after being cyberbullied:

Decreased Self-Esteem: Bullying of all kinds is often detrimental to the victim’s self-esteem. Victims may believe that all of their peers dislike them and develop issues with trust and confidence.

Emotional Distress: Cyberbullying can lead to a shift in mood or emotion in the victim. The constant stress of the attacks can make victims prone to outbursts of frustration, sadness, or anger as they try to cope with the bullying.

Physical Symptoms: Victims may begin to develop frequent headaches, stomach aches, and have trouble sleeping. Though they are not attacked physically by the bully, the ongoing stress of the harassment may still take a physical toll as the victim grows increasingly stressed and anxious.

Depression: Cyberbullying can cause victims to develop depression. The constant stress and lowered self-esteem can cause them to feel hopeless, unloved, and sadness.

Suicidal Thoughts: About 20 percent of cyberbullying victims seriously consider suicide. Bullying does not directly cause victims to commit suicide, but it does put them at a higher risk of doing so.

As with traditional bullying, these issues may persist even after the victim is no longer suffering from cyberbullying, and may continue well into adulthood.

How to Prevent Cyberbullying

As cyberbullying becomes more common and widespread among teenagers and young adults, it becomes increasingly important for parents and teachers to prevent it from happening, to intervene when it does, and to respond appropriately to victims and bullies alike.

Guidelines for Appropriate Internet Use

Even before they are old enough to use the internet, initiate conversations about internet safety. Be sure to keep this an open dialogue with your teen. You will likely need to have new discussions as their online activities change and new safety concerns arise.

Some important topics to discuss before your teen goes online include:

Privacy: Teach your young adult about the importance of maintaining privacy online. Make sure they know to never share personal information, such as physical addresses and phone numbers, with strangers online. Ensure they know to never share any of the passwords to their accounts, even with their close friends.

Strangers: Let them know that the same rules apply to strangers online as they do in-person. Make sure they know they should be careful about, or avoid altogether, talking to strangers online. Tell them that you don’t always know what someone’s intentions are, and some people may try to befriend you in order to hurt you.

Permanence: Remind your teen that once something is put online, it cannot ever be truly deleted — even if the post is removed. Let them know that they cannot anticipate or control who may eventually see that content, so they must think very carefully before sharing things online.

Set clear guidelines about how you expect your young adult to behave on the internet. Let them know that you expect them to behave as ethically online as you would expect in-person. Consider having your teen sign a Youth Pledge and signing a Parent Pledge yourself.

Remind them that there may be consequences if they violate the pledge and ask them to help hold you accountable as well. Encourage them to ask you questions if anything is unclear when they are online.

Educating Your Teen on Cyberbullying

In addition to general Internet safety practices, educate your teen about cyberbullying. Make sure they know what cyberbullying actually is and that it is not a joke. Just because their friends are doing it for fun does not mean that it is acceptable or that your they have to participate.

Emphasize that the Golden Rule — that your teen should treat others the way they want to be treated — still applies when they are online. Teach them what it means to be a good digital citizen.

Keep the lines of communication open. Let them know they can always come talk to you if they experience or encounter any cyberbullying online. Reassure your teen that they won’t face repercussions or a loss of computer privileges if they are being bullied.

How to Deal With a Cyberbully

Provide your teenager with the tools to deal with anyone who is rude to them online, including a cyberbully. Remember that informing an adult about cyberbullying can be difficult for teens, so they need to be prepared enough to handle the situation on their own.

Highlight the importance of common sense when dealing with a cyberbully:

Don’t Engage: Encourage your teenager to avoid engaging with any cyberbullies. It can be difficult to ignore purposefully inflammatory comments, but remind your teen that responding to their messages will only intensify the bully’s efforts. and they are doing this to get a reaction. There is a greater chance that the bullying will stop altogether if your teen ignores them.

Block Them: Tell your teen they should block the phone number and social media accounts of anyone who bullies them. This is especially important if your teenager has trouble ignoring them, or the bullies are very persistent. Bullies may make other accounts or recruit friends to continue tormenting your teenager, but encourage them to block those accounts too.

Change Contact Info: If ignoring and blocking the cyberbullies does not help or intensifies their efforts, tell your teen that you can always change their contact information. Be sure they know that you are happy to help them update their phone number and email address.

Make a Record: Ask that your teen document any and all messages, comments, or other abuses from bullies online. Teach them how to take a screenshot and ask them not to delete any messages. Having proof of the bullying will be helpful if you need to contact any authorities.

Though it may be easier said than done, you can also encourage your teen to get offline more often. Stepping away from their devices and focusing on another activity may help distract your teenager from the cyberbullying.

Monitoring Social Media Activity

Find the right balance between supervising your teenager’s online activities and respecting their privacy. Talk with your teen about the degree to which you will keep an eye on them. They may not be thrilled at the prospect, but explain that this is important to maintaining their safety online.

Be sure to always be open with your teen if you choose to monitor their social media accounts or text messages. Avoid looking at personal content or messages without your teen’s consent; it can be a huge breach of privacy.

Cyberbullying Resources

Whether you have your suspicions or your teenager comes to you on their own, be sure to respond with love and support if you learn your teenager is experiencing cyberbullying. Always be willing to listen to what they have to say and reassure them that you are there to help them resolve this issue.

Helpful Cyberbullying Resources

For more information on cyberbullying, consult the following resources:
The Cyberbullying Research Center
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
Delete Cyberbullying
Embrace Civility in the Digital Age
Cyberbully Help
The Bully Project

Students Take On Cyberbullying


In this lesson idea, the short video “Cyberbullying” is explored through teaching strategies such as pre-viewing, anticipation guides, four corners, evaluating Internet resources, fishbowl and levels of questions. By learning about cyberbullying and how students in Watchung are taking a stand against online bullying, students may think more deeply about this in their own community.


Suggested Activities

Pre-viewing – Before watching the video, identify the core issue the students are attempting to address: cyberbulling. What does it mean to be bullied online? What does friendship mean in person vs. in a social network such as Facebook? How can students move from being bystanders to becoming an upstander?

Then ask students to respond to the following questions:

  • What strategies might students use to address these issues?
  • What are the risks, if any, to taking these steps?
  • What challenges might students confront?
  • What would “success” in addressing these issues look like? How could “success” be measured?
  • What resources do students need to be successful?
  • What might be the consequences of doing nothing?

Anticipation guidesAnticipation guides ask students to express an opinion about ideas before they encounter them in a text of unit of study. Often teachers ask students to return to their anticipation guides after exploring new material, noting how their opinions may have shifted or strengthened as a result of new information. Here are examples of statements you can use to encourage students to think about the ideas addressed in this video:

  • Students are the most powerful influence on their school’s tone and climate. They decide what kind of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Stepping in when you see someone treated unfairly is easier in person than online.
  • It is unrealistic to think that social networks (such as Facebook) can be places where all students are treated fairly and kindly.
  • If someone is verbally or physically attacking another student – someone you do not know – the best thing to do is stay out of it.
  • Cyberbulling is less harmful than face to face bullying.
  • Bystanders have the power to stop injustice.
  • If bullies knew their behavior was unacceptable, they would stop acting that way.
  • The best way to stop teasing, harassment and bullying is to have a stronger system of enforcement and punishment.

(Note: Many teachers use the Four Corners strategy to structure a conversation about controversial statements.)

Not in Our School: Sample Anticipation Guide:

Directions: Read the statement in the left column. Decide if you strongly agree (SA), agree (A), disagree (D), or strongly disagree (SD) with the statement. Circle your response.

Your Opinion
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

1. Students are the most powerful influence on their school’s tone and climate. They decide what kind of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable.

2. Bystanders have the power to stop or prevent injustice.

3. Stepping in when you see someone treated unfairly is easier in person than online.

4. The best way to stop teasing, harassment and bullying is to have a stronger system of enforcement and punishment.

5. If someone is verbally or physically attacking another student – someone you do not know – the best thing to do is to stay out of it.

6. It is unrealistic to think that social networks (such as Facebook) can be places where all students are treated fairly and kindly.

7. If someone is verbally or physically attacking your friend, the best thing to do is to stay out of it.

Using web resources on school climate, bullying and hate crimes: After having students watch the video you might want to have them explore some of the following resources to learn more about school climate, bullying and hate crimes. Students can report back to the class about what they found. Or, you can use information from these websites to create a short lecture.

You could also ask your students to use online search engines to locate information from credible sources on bullying and/or hate crimes. In addition to the general search function, Google provides searches that present information in different ways. You can find these functions on the bottom left navigation list and/or by clicking the heading “More search tools.”

  • “Wonder wall” breaks down a topic into sub-topics via a concept may display. Click here for an example of a Wonder Wall search for the term “bullying.” Students could be assigned different spokes of the wheel to explore in greater depth.
  • “Timeline” presents information organized by year. This function allows students to trace the history of bullying or hate crimes, as reported by the media.
  • “Nearby” provides information relevant to your particular area. This function allows students to focus on bullying or hate crime incidents in their region.

Review the strategy “Evaluating internet resources for ideas on how to help students assess the validity of their sources.

Fishbowl – After students have had the opportunity to process the video independently or in small groups, facilitate a whole-class conversation. Here are some specific questions with which you might consider having students grapple:

  • What were students responding to in this video? What problem were they trying to solve?
  • What did they do? What strategies did they employ? What community or school resources did they draw from?
  • What risks did they take? What challenges did they confront?
  • What do you think of their response? What did they accomplish?
  • What advice would you offer these students? What could be some next steps these students could take to further address this problem?
  • What more do you want to know about this situation? If you had the opportunity, what would you want to ask the students in this video?
  • What do you think the new immigrants gleaned from this experience? How could this project be expanded and deepened?

Fishbowl is a strategy that helps students practice being active listeners and participants in a discussion. Half the class can debrief the video while the other half observes. Then students can switch roles.

Levels of questions -- Here is an example of the kinds of questions you can use with this strategy:

  • Level one: What were students responding to in this video? What action did they take?
  • Level two: What do you think of their response? In what ways was it effective? What else could they have done to address the problem they saw in their school or community?
  • Level three: What power do you think young people have to change attitudes and actions? What gives young people power? What limits the power of young people to create change?

14 Signs of Cyberbullying in the Classroom

One of the biggest trends affecting education across the country is the migration of bullying to digital media, which is commonly referred to as cyberbullying. About 7 percent of students in grades 6-12 experience cyberbullying each year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. (216 page PDF) Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying is much harder for educators to detect and address. The perpetrators are often able to maintain anonymity, and much of the cyberbullying activity occurs outside of school.

Like traditional bullying, there are warning signs for teachers to watch for in their students. These signs can help you identify a victim or a cyberbully and step into the situation. Cyberbullying can be quite harmful to the well-being of students if it goes unchecked. In addition, the negative effects on students can severely damage your ability to manage the classroom.

Emotional Signs of Cyberbullying

Emotional changes in a student might be hard to see, but they are often some of the most severe signs. These signals show that cyberbullying has really had an emotional impact on a student.

1. Becomes a Loner

Cyberbullying victims often take every opportunity to keep to themselves. They refrain from being in groups and take steps to isolate themselves. For typically outgoing students, this will be an obvious change.

2. Mood Swings

You may witness a victim have emotional outbursts and mood swings. A situation may go from very calm to contentious quite quickly. This can occur both in a group setting and on an individual level.

3. Increased Stress

A student struggling to manage stress could be a cyberbullying victim. You may notice this during normally stressful times or in situations where the student wouldn’t normally be stressed.

4. Displays Aggressive Behavior

Lashing out aggressively is common among cyberbullying victims. This is especially true among students who are not usually aggressive. They may show aggression against peers or even educators during any situation.

5. Displays Symptoms of Depression

One of the severe effects of cyberbullying is depression. Among youth, depression may manifest as constant sadness, restlessness, a lack of enthusiasm, chronic fatigue and other symptoms. If teachers witness a student with symptoms of depression, they should immediately contact a guidance counselor and the parents. Untreated depression can have very negative effects on a student.

Academic Signs of Cyberbullying

Teachers are in the best position to identify the reasons behind a student falling behind academically. Victims of cyberbullying can take steps backward in the classroom just like in other aspects of their life. Here are a few academic-related clues that cyberbullying may be taking place.

6. Doesn’t Attend School

Teachers may see students miss school more frequently. If a student begins missing significant time, contact a parent to better understand the reason. This is a good time to get clues on whether something else is afoot.

7. Work Ethic Drops

Maybe a student stops turning in homework or submits incomplete assignments. Victims of cyberbullying may stop contributing in class regularly. This is especially true of often-successful students who are struggling with a cyberbullying situation.

8. Skips Class

Cutting class is never acceptable, but some students may try to avoid interacting in class by skipping it altogether. This may be to avoid the cyberbully or just to act out.

9. Loses Interest in School

Cyberbullying can turn a once-star student into someone less excited about school. If students who are regularly involved in the classroom begin to care less, they may be suffering from cyberbullying.

10. Grades Drop

The overall grades of victims of cyberbullying often drop. This may include performing poorly on tests, missing assignments and struggling in group projects. A sudden drop in grades may be a cry for help from a victim truly struggling.

Social Signs of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can have a tremendous impact on how students relate to their peers socially. Cyberbullies typically attack someone they know well. Students may stop trusting their usual social group and withdraw. Here are a few specific examples.

11. Stops Participating in Social Activities

A student who is on a team or in an after-school club may stop participating because of cyberbullying. Teachers who notice a previously involved student suddenly lose interest in extracurricular activities may want to explore what’s wrong and move from there.

12. Stops Eating or Sleeping

This may be harder for teachers to notice, but students struggling with cyberbullying often sleep and eat less. This will be evident during lunchtime or if a student falls asleep during class.

13. Hurts Self

Self-harming is not uncommon for victims of cyberbullying. While a teacher may not quickly notice this, they may notice a student wearing different clothing or trying to hide signs of self-harm. Friends of the student may also provide clues to potential self-harming.

14. Changes in Friends

Students who suffer from cyberbullying may switch their group of friends completely. This could be a sign that the cyberbully is someone close to them or that their feelings of self-worth have changed.

Understanding Cyberbullying

The increasing use of digital communication by young people is driving the rise in cyberbullying. Teachers must develop a strong understanding of cyberbullying and other issues affecting education. The online graduate education degrees at Campbellsville University can help you advance your career by gaining the knowledge and credentials you need. Learn more about taking the next step in your education career today.

Bullying, Cyberbullying, & Suicide Statistics

Featured statistics for each category can be viewed below or click the button for a pdf list of all available statistics.

All Statistics - 15 page PDF


Nearly 1 in 5 students (21%) report being bullied during the school year, impacting over 5 million youth annually (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2018)

Youth who are bullied are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school (CDC, 2018)

Almost all forms of bullying peak in middle school, specifically 6th grade students reported the highest percentage of bullying (29%) (NCES, 2019)


Approximately 34% of students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime (Hinduja & Patchin, 2015)

Over 60% of students who experience cyberbullying reported that it immensely impacted their ability to learn and feel safe while at school (Hinduja, 2018)

59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online, and over 90% believe it's a major problem for people their age (Pew Research Center, 2018)


Targets of cyberbullying are at a greater risk than others of both self-harm and suicidal behaviors (John et al., 2018)

Approximately 18% of youth report self-harming at least once, impacting 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys (Monto, McRee, & Deryck, 2018)

About 6% of students have digitally self-harmed, or anonymously posted online or shared hurtful content about oneself (Patchin & Hinduja, 2017)


Students who experienced bullying or cyberbullying are nearly 2 times more likely to attempt suicide (Hinduja & Patchin, 2018)

Current research suggests that suicide ideation and attempts among adolescents have nearly doubled since 2008 (Plemmons et al., 2018), making suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals 10-34 years of age (CDC, 2017) (Editor: The leading cause of death in Oregon (CDC, 2017)

Approximately 1 in 20 adolescents experience a suicide in single year (Andriessen, Dudley, Draper, & Mitchell, 2018)


Experience of bullying and cyberbullying are also associated with the development of low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, family problems, academic difficulties, delinquency, school violence, and suicidal thoughts/attempts (Hinduja, 2018)

Approximately 1 in 5 children and youth in the US experience a serious mental health concerns associated with trauma, social isolation, and bullying, yet only 20% of them receive the help they need (CDC, 2019)

Research has found that about 90% of individuals who die by suicide experience mental illness, one of the greatest risk factor for suicide (National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI], 2015)


Students most often report reasons for being bullied include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, and/or sexual orientation (NCES, 2016)

Overall, approximately 135,200 individual allegations of harassment or bullying on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, or religion during the 15-16 school year (U.S. Department of Education & OCR, 2019)

17% of students reported experiencing one type of bias-based bullying, specifically gender, race, and disability being the most common reasons for being targeted, which increases the student’s fear of being harmed, school avoidance, and negative effects on physical, psychological, and academic well-being (NCES, 2016)


Nearly 76% of public schools reported providing training for classroom teachers or aides on recognizing physical, social, and verbal bullying behaviors (NCES, 2018)

The strongest protective factor against being a target of cyberbullying was positive peer interaction (Zycha, Farrington, & Ttofi, 2018)

Developing a positive school climate is consistently associated with lower rates of bullying and cyberbullying behaviors (Hinduja & Patchin, 2016), specific anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying programs effectively reduce school-bullying behaviors by anywhere 10?–?20% (Gaffney, Ttofi, & Farrington, 2018; Gaffney, Farrington, Espelage, & Ttofi, 2018)


During the 2015–16 school year, 79% of public schools recorded that one or more incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place (U.S. Department of Education & NCES, 2019)

6% of students had been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property 1 or more times and about 4% of students ages 12–18 reported that they had been afraid of attack or harm at school during the school year (U.S. Department of Education & NCES, 2019)

There is a strong relationship between bullying behaviors and violent injury over time (Jetelina et al., 2018)

Teen Victims of Cyberbullying More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol: Study

Teens who are cyberbullied are more likely than their peers who are not harassed online or through cell phone messages to develop symptoms of substance abuse, depression and Internet addiction, a new study concludes.

Spanish researchers found victims of cyberbullying are at higher risk for psychological and behavioral health problems, including substance abuse, after six months of bullying, Health Behavior News Service reports.

Manuel Gamez-Guadix, PhD of the University of Deusto in Spain surveyed 845 teens, and found 24 percent had been a victim of one cyberbullying behavior, 15.9 percent had experienced two such behaviors, and 8 percent had experienced cyberbullying three times.

The researchers note in the Journal of Adolescent Health that cyberbullying is a growing problem among teens. It can include hurtful and harassing messages, rumors, inappropriate or fake photos and videos posted on social networking sites, or in text messages or emails.

Gamez-Guadix said, “It is important to include strategies to prevent cyberbullying within interventions for behavioral problems during adolescence. Mental health professionals should pay special attention to these problems in the treatment of victims of cyberbullying.”

Why Do Kids Bully Each Other Online?

There are many reasons kids bully each other online. Sometimes they are bored and looking for entertainment. Sometimes they are nursing a grudge and want to hurt the other. They may see themselves are righteous avengers, righting the wrongs of the intented victim. They may be the victim of an offline bullying or another netbully, striking back the only way they can. They may be jealous, hurt or just role-playing. They may not even mean to netbully another. They might have just had their communications misunderstood or misdelivered.

Each type of netbully requires a different approach. They ways we can stop and prevent them are different. And our educational campaigns have to cover all different motiviations to be effective. And the approach to helping the victim differs depending on why they have been bullied. While all victims need support and caring and understanding, there is a difference between the victim merely being in the wrong cyberplace at the wrong time and being the intended victim of a dangerous multi-pronged campaign of harassment and terror. The educational and prevention programs need to consider these differences as well.

Where Do You Report It?

There is no easy answer about where you should report bullying online. It depends on a number of circumstances, like the kind of communications, the level of harassment and when and how the communications are made.

Schools may try and take action when a student is bullied online. But they often find themselves defending an expensive lawsuit brought by the irate parent of the bully charging them with overstepping their authority. Schools have limited authority to address actions that take place outside of school grounds and off-hours unless it is a school-sponsored activity. Since most netbullying occurs from the bully's home computer after school, it may be outside fo the scope of a school's authority.

Unless the school plans carefully in advance and builds their authority into their acceptable use contracts, they may not be authorized to act.

Law enforcement is typically unprepared to deal with cyberharassment cases, specially when children are involved. They may be unable to conduct a cyber-investigation, and may not be able to find a crime to hang their hat on. While many cases of bullying online may be illegal, especially when hacking and death threats are involved, much of what occurs is not a crime.

ISPs are often the best place to start, after the bully's parents have been contacted, or if the victim doesn't know for sure the identity fo their bully. Most netbullying violates the ISPs terms of service. And if the case is recorded and reported correctly, the ISP may shut down the netbully's account.

Death Hyperlink: Internet Suicide Pacts: Medical Journal Warns of 'Cybersuicide' Trend

The car, parked on a deserted mountain road near Tokyo, had its windows taped shut from the inside. In the car were small charcoal burners -- and the bodies of seven people.

Within a few miles of the scene, another car held two more bodies.

The suicide victims were five men and two women ranging in age from 34 to 20. They came from all over Japan. What drew them together was an Internet posting from the 34-year-old woman offering a suicide pact.

On Nov. 28, four men were found dead in a Tokyo apartment where they had gassed themselves. The next day, two men and two women were found dead in a car parked near a dam outside Tokyo. Police suspect the two unrelated groups met over the Internet.

Could it happen outside Japan? Psychiatrist Sundararajan Rajagopal, MD, thinks it might. His editorial in the Dec. 4 issue of the British Medical Journal sounds the alarm. Rajagopal is with the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust in London.

"In recent years there has been concern about the role of the Internet in normal suicide -- solitary suicide, people who take their lives on their own," Rajagopal tells WebMD. "There is evidence that the Internet can influence people to take their own lives. The term coined is 'cybersuicide.' What we are seeing in Japan may occur sporadically in other countries. We cannot rule out the possibility that people, who might otherwise have taken their lives on their own, will meet on the Internet to form suicide pacts."

Suicide Sites Easy to Find

Web sites dedicated to suicide are easy to find on the Internet. Here are some excerpts from one suicide chat room:

"I somethings [sic] think I'd prefer myself dead. And then other times I do as well. And sometimes, I think I'd prefer myself dead. And rarely I don't not think I'd prefer myself dead.

"You really want to die but on the good days you programmed yourself to know that on the bad days when you really want to die you don't really want to die and that you are thinking irrationally. But i want to die."

"Now if you'll excuse me, i have a bus to catch."

"Catching a bus," on these web sites, is slang for killing oneself. Don't try to log on to save anyone. Those leaving antisuicide messages are banned from the sites.

Perhaps it was just talk and nothing serious. But psychologist Gerald Goodman, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of California in Los Angeles, says it's important to take talk of suicide seriously.

"Suicide oftentimes involves some sense of isolation," Goodman says. "Theorists say that the heart of it is meaninglessness. Meaninglessness without hope. When you look at why people do it, there are several things that add up: isolation, meaninglessness, and self-loathing -- disgust with oneself."

If isolation is part of the recipe for suicide, wouldn't a community -- even an Internet chat room of suicidal people -- keep people from killing themselves?

No, Goodman says. In fact, suicidal patients often tell him in chilling language that other people's suicides gave them "inspiration" or "courage" to kill themselves. It comes, ironically, from the human need to be known.

"The suicide wants company. The suicidal person thinks, 'I want to be known by you, and if you truly empathize with me there is no question you will want to talk me out of it - because if you know me you know it is the right thing to do,'" Goodman says. "So the empathy on these web sites is not saying, "Oh, I really understand you.' Instead, they demonstrate that they know how you feel by adding to it. It is collaborative. It is mutual support for suicide."

Goodman notes that there are many more web sites dedicated to mental health, support, and professional help than there are to suicide. But the suicide sites offer something enormously powerful.

"Mutual support is more powerful as a change agent than psychotherapy," Goodman says. "Psychotherapy is one-way intimacy. But with mutual support, we are both in it together. You aren't going to try to talk me out of it. We want the same thing. I've heard the word inspiration twice in this context. Inspiration for suicide."

Since young people are at particular risk of Internet-supported suicide, Goodman suggests that parents monitor teens' Internet use. And Rajagopal suggests that doctors and psychologists should ask depressed patients about whether they have used the Internet to obtain information about suicide.

The good news, Rajagopal notes, is that very few suicides -- only about one in 100, even in Japan -- are linked to the Internet.

"Suicide pacts are a very small proportion of suicides, and the number of Internet-linked suicides is still very small," he says. "I don't want people to be unduly alarmed."
Source: Daniel DeNoon, Rajagopal, S. British Medical Journal, Dec. 4, 2004; vol 329: pp 1298-1299. Sundararajan Rajagopal, MD, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Adamson Center for Mental Health, St. Thomas's Hospital, London. Gerald Goodman, PhD, professor emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles.

What Can You Do To Stop It?

What should a young person do if they are bullied online or by text-messaging or interactive gaming devices? At what point should they tell a parent, ignore the bully (blocking them from further communications) or get the police involved? When can a school take action and what can it do in advance to give it greater authority when the actions bullying the student take place online and off of school grounds?

How do we help prevent the escalation of a bullying situation online? How do we spot the bullying websites early enough to prevent serious damage to the victim and potential bodily harm? What are the laws and what should they be? How can we get the ISP's help? And what can we do to shutdown a bullying message board, profile, guestbook or website?

I'll address these and other questions about bullying online here at Net and at . And if you need help, feel free to reach out to our help volunteers at We are the world's largest Internet safety and help group, comprised entirely of unpaid volunteers from around the world. We're here if you need us. To reach me, send me an e-mail to E-Mail.

Professional Tennis Player Retires Following Cyber-Bullying Incident

Rebecca Marino, a 22-year-old professional tennis player from Canada, retired from the sport this week and cited cyber-bullying as a contributing factor. Marino was once ranked as high as 36th in the world.

“Cyber-bullying has taken it’s toll on me,” Marino told The Star. She went on to add that though it wasn’t the main reason for her retirement, it did exacerbate the situtation. “My depression had come way before the so-called cyberbullying,” she said.

Marino had received several offensive tweets recently, including ones that said, “go burn in hell” and “go die.”

On a conference call with reporters, Marino said “I am opening up to you all about this because I would like to get rid of the stigma attached not only to depression but also to mental illnesses both in the public and in professional sports. If I can share my story and change one person’s outlook or life, I have reached my goal.”

It’s a sad story and shows hows social media can really hurt people. Here’s hoping that Marino gets the help she needs and finds the happiness she’s looking for.

Teen Victims of Cyberbullying More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol: Study

Teens who are cyberbullied are more likely than their peers who are not harassed online or through cell phone messages to develop symptoms of substance abuse, depression and Internet addiction, a new study concludes.

Spanish researchers found victims of cyberbullying are at higher risk for psychological and behavioral health problems, including substance abuse, after six months of bullying, Health Behavior News Service reports.

Manuel Gamez-Guadix, PhD of the University of Deusto in Spain surveyed 845 teens, and found 24 percent had been a victim of one cyberbullying behavior, 15.9 percent had experienced two such behaviors, and 8 percent had experienced cyberbullying three times.

The researchers note in the Journal of Adolescent Health that cyberbullying is a growing problem among teens. It can include hurtful and harassing messages, rumors, inappropriate or fake photos and videos posted on social networking sites, or in text messages or emails.

Gamez-Guadix said, “It is important to include strategies to prevent cyberbullying within interventions for behavioral problems during adolescence. Mental health professionals should pay special attention to these problems in the treatment of victims of cyberbullying.”

If You Have Been Harassed Online: What to Do

1. Determine if the behavior is really harassment. Someone disagreeing with you is NOT harassment. Even if they disagree with you strongly. It is also usually not harassment if a person contacts you or posts about you once. Harassment consists of the intentional crossing of your emotional or physical safety boundaries. You must have boundaries set in place clearly in order for that to apply.

Here is the legal definition of harassment according to Black's Law Dictionary: "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose" or "words, gestures, and actions which tend to annoy, alarm and abuse (verbally) another person."

This is of course a very broad definition which state and federal legislation and common law have narrowed and refined in various ways. However, for our purposes, we will define online harassment as any actions that meet the qualifications of the above definition after the harasser has been told to cease. This definition, due to its broadness, is useful in that it fails to put value judgements on the complaints of individuals.

2. Tell the harasser to STOP! Clearly tell the perpetrator that his/her email, posts, comments, IRC or ICQ communications are unwanted and that you want an immediate end to them. Sometimes the best approach to this is a simple, rational "I am sorry that you feel that way, but I really feel that you are crossing some boundaries for me here and I would prefer it if we ended our communication here."

3. Contact the site administrator. If the behavior persists, you may want to contact the administrator responsible for the site. Who is the site administrator and how do you locate them? S/he is the operator of the BBS, the sysadmin of the system on which the web-based chat or other server is placed, or in the case of email the sysadmin of the system that the person harassing you is mailing from.

Most often, sites have an address called postmaster@[that site].com or webmaster@[that site] that you can use to report problems. If that fails, you can usually find contact addresses at web sites , which you can find by looking up the host name in a search engine like Alta Vista or Lycos (to name just a couple) or you can look them up through the internic. Searching for sites in the USA [.com, .mil, .org, .edu, .us and .gov] will give you the full contact information including names and addresses. The site is... . Just type in the address after the "@" symbol.

4. Determine your desired result. What do you want to see happen in this situation? Try to think of this more rationally than emotionally, and try to be realistic about what you can expect.

Some very reasonable and realistic goals might be :

  • Stop the harasser from contacting you
  • Convince the site administrator to ban the harasser if s/he is doing this to many people or has a history of it.
  • Improve the climate at this site by raising awareness of harassment issues and convincing the site administrator to employ and enforce some anti-harassment policies.
  • Protect yourself emotionally and physically from the harasser
  • Some unrealistic goals might be:
  • Solicit an apology from the harasser. He/she obviously doesn't have the social skills necessary to do something this mature if he/she is harassing you to begin with.
  • Shut down the system completely. You might really be angry at the whole thing and want to do this, but unless there is a culture of harassment on that system, or unless the administrator has an itchy trigger finger, this is not so easy to do. It isn't impossible however in extreme cases.
  • Harass the harasser until he/she is sorry. This is possible in some cases, but it is not in keeping with rational thinking. Of course you are angry, and you want to see the person who is hurting you hurt as well. This is a natural human reaction. But take a step back and think about what that would really accomplish. It would only perpetuate a culture of harassment, and this is the exact thing we want to stop so that others do not have to feel as hurt and upset as you do right now.

5. Take care of you first. In spite of what some people may say to you, words can hurt a lot. No matter what decisions you make about dealing with harassment, put your own emotional needs first. Sometimes you may want to simply walk away, and that's alright. There are times that we are too vulnerable to fight a battle. Get yourself into some safe places, talk it out with friends or ask me for a referral to organizations and/or professionals that can help you work through this.

6. Decide how you want to proceed. If you feel that no progress has been made after attempts to contact and educate the site administrator, you may feel that you want to pursue the matter in some other way. I can make suggestions and refer you to other sources if that is your desire at that time.

Top Ten Mistakes

Not listening to your intuition. As countless stories reveal, you need to keep your internal radar tuned to pick up signals that something might be wrong.

Letting someone down easy, instead of saying a definitive NO if your not interested in a relationship. Trying to be nice can lead a potentially obsessive suitor to hear what he wants instead of the message that your not interested.

Ignoring the early warning signs that annoying attention might escalate into dangerous harassment and pursuit.

Responding to a stalker in any way, shape or form. That means not acceding to your stalkers demands even once he or she has introduced threats.

Trying to reason or bargain with a stalker. Stalking is a like a long rape.

Seeking a restraining or protective order. All to often, this one act propels stalkers to act violently.

Expecting police to solve your problems and make it go away. Even the LAPD's Threat Management Unit says that victims have to take 100 percent responsibility for their dealing with the situation.

Taking inadequate privacy and safety precautions.

Neglecting to enlist the support of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, therapists and other victims. It may be tough to admit you're being stalked, but it's not your fault. Learn how to gather the people who will constitute your first line of defense.

Ignoring your emotional needs during and after a stalking. Do you know how to get support you need?

Simple Avoidance Tactics

Be Careful Who You Talk To. The greatest thing about the Internet is that you can talk to people you might never have been able to talk to in any other way. Even if there's no immediate threat of physical danger on the Internet, you still have to be careful who you talk to. You don't have to be nice to everyone, you don't have to get into a conversation with everyone who demands your attention, and you don't have to answer unsolicited e-mail, even if it's mail telling you how nice your Web page looks. If you feel at all uncomfortable with the conversation you're having with someone online, you have every right to stop all communication.

Be Even More Careful Who You Decide To Meet In Person. Friendships and professional relationships you start online can be special, beneficial relationships. But it's very difficult to predict what someone is like in person just from some text, GIF or video of them. Someone may seem normal on the phone even when they aren't. Be extra careful when you bring your online friendships offline. For your first meeting, bring a friend and/or meet in a public place.

Stalk Yourself. From your user ID to what Internet directories say about you--check all the information about you that could possibly be online. Every time you put a piece of personal information into someone else's hands, you are giving them power over you. Be careful where you send your real name, address, phone number, picture, or work history. Think about whether you really want your full resume on the Web. Every person has to weigh the benefits and risks and decide what personal information they want to put online. The trick is to know what's out there and how to hide that information if you need to.

Checklist on your Personal Information.

Is your user ID obviously female? How much of your name does it reveal?

Check your .sig file for personal info such as your full name, address (even just city and state), workplace, and phone numbers. 

Have ICQ? Remove any information in your Global Directory (user's details) that could tell a person who you are or where you are. Check that the email address listed is not your personal email. Use one of the free one's on the internet.

Use finger to see what kinds of information might be listed about you, especially if you have a .edu account. If you think finger reveals too much about you, edit your .plan file or contact your system administrator for help.

Does your Web site contain a photo, a resume, your name, address, or phone numbers? Any information about friends, family, or the area where you live?

Check your source code to make sure registration information (like your name) hasn't been inserted by your HTML editor.

Internet directories. Remember six months ago when you put your resume on that BBS? Did you ever leave personal information at someone's Web site for all to see? Check Web/Usenet search engines (Alta Vista, WebCrawler) and 411 phone directories for your name.

Is your phone number listed in the local phone book? Your address? Could someone conceivably make a link between your online information and what's in the local phone directories?

How easy would it be for someone to find you at work? What kinds of security measures do you have there?

If It Does Happen

If you are getting unsolicited e-mail or other forms of communication from someone you don't know or have no contact with, your best defense is to just ignore it. If the harasser doesn't have much of a personal image to latch onto, they may detach and go on to someone else. But don't let it go too far hoping the person will give up. Take precautions now in case it gets ugly later.

1. Archive Every Piece of Communication Relating to the Situation: Save every piece of communication you get from this person. Save all of the e-mail header information you can if it is an e-mail or newsgroup posting. If you are getting chat requests, ICQ or IRC messages, or any other type of communication, take a screenshot, print it out, and write notes on it. Send copies of each harassing communication to your postmaster and the harasser's provider.

Don't forget to save communications to postmasters, providers, system administrators, police, supervisors at work, and security specialists.

2. Start a Log. In addition to your archive of communications, start a log that explains the situation in more detail. Document how the harassment is affecting your life, and document what steps you're taking to stop it.

3. Tell Your Harasser To Cease and Desist. It is important that you contact your harasser directly telling him or her in simple, strong, and formal terms to stop contacting you. You must state that the communications are unwanted and inappropriate and that you will take further action if it does not stop. Don't worry about whether your letter sounds too harsh--make sure it's professional and to the point. CC: your postmaster and your harasser's. Archive the mail you have sent, and note that you sent it in your log.

After you send this mail, your communication to this person must stop. Any further communication can feed the situation. The harasser's behavior will be rewarded by your attention, so it will continue. Also, if the case goes to court, your harasser can report that the communication was going both ways, and it could damage your case. It is best to keep quiet no matter how tempted you are to defend yourself. It is important that you tell your friends not to communicate with the harasser in your defense for the same reasons.

4. Tell the Right People. If this person makes contact with you via video conferencing, notify the owners or reflector monitors (refmons) of the reflector sites you frequent. The refmons can assist you and watch for any inappropriate behavior. They may even remove him from the reflector and/or ban him. There is a network of refmons out there and word can be passed on about harassment from a particular person.

Report the situation to your system administrator(s), your friends, family, and coworkers. Tell your supervisor and work security personnel. Tell your apartment building's security people. Report the situation to your local police. The FBI will also take down a complaint, and they'll follow up on it if they have the manpower.

5. Take Police Action. Many states have modified their stalking laws to include electronic communications. Many states will let you file for a restraining order in cases like this, and the courts will often let you ask that your harasser pay for any filing fees. You'll need the person's address if you want to serve them with a restraining order or press charges against them. The police can get this information from the harasser's postmaster if they need to.

6. Protect Your Online Space. Change your password frequently. Pay attention to your files, directories, and last logout information. Monitor information about yourself on the Net with Alta Vista and other search engines. You might want

to lay low for a while if the person is haunting you in Usenet or on IRC.

7. Protect your offline space. Take all the precautions you would if an old boyfriend was acting crazy, especially if you think the person can find you at home or at work.

Cyberbullying facts and statistics for 2016/2017

All technology these days produces both good results and notable consequences. The internet is increasingly a perfect case study for this idea. While better connecting the world and democratizing information, the internet has also allowed individuals to hide behind masks of anonymity. The “faceless evil” of the internet is a growing threat for teens, specifically when it comes cyberbullying. Despite a more recent ramping up of awareness campaigns, cyberbullying facts and statistics indicate the problem is not going away anytime soon.

Recent statistics show steady growth in cyberbullying

A 2007 Pew Research study found 32 percent of teens have been victims of some type of cyberbullying. Nearly a decade later, a 2016 study by the Cyberbullying Research Center found those numbers were almost unchanged. By 2016, just under 34 percent of teens reported they were victims of cyberbullying.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, which has been collecting data on the subject since 2002, that number has doubled since 2007, up from just 18 percent. Disagreements in statistics and data gathering methods aside, a minimal increase in cyberbullying is a distinct positive. It’s also an indication that the increasing attention on cyberbullying in the intervening years has done little to stem the tide.

Google Trends data indicates much more attention is focused on cyberbullying than ever before. The volume of searches for “cyberbullying” increased threefold since 2004:

Research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting revealed the number of children admitted to hospitals for attempted suicide or expressing suicidal thoughts doubled between 2008 and 2015. Much of the rise is linked to an increase in cyberbullying. (Source: CNN). More teen suicides are also now attributed in some way to cyberbullying (1, 2, 3) than ever before.\

Where and how cyberbullying occurs

While data on cyberbullying growth rates are sometimes difficult to come by, there’s a much larger body of information regarding where and how cyberbullying occurs. Just as with bullying before social media and internet forums, those who bully others typically look for two things: opportunity and attention.

In the internet age, the opportunity to bully others has only increased. Prior to the internet, a physical presence was often needed outside of spreading rumors. Now, bullying can occur immediately, to a much larger audience, and can occur much faster. Additionally, those who choose to bully others can get more immediate gratification from likes, shares, retweets, and the “piling on” effect that often occurs when others add to an already negative situation.

As one 2010 study found, bystanders can have a significant impact on vulnerable students’ risk for victimization. According to the study’s findings, bystanders can “moderate the effects of individual and interpersonal risk factors for victimization.” While the study was conducted on physical bullying, by extension, “bystanders” can have a significant impact in online interactions by either calling out such behavior or, lacking that, not responding and diminishing the attention cyberbullies may be hoping to receive.

Data from numerous studies also indicate that social media is now the favored medium for cyberbullies. Other formats are still in use as well, however, including text messaging and internet forums such as Reddit.

Recent stats include:

  • 20.1 percent of reported that they were affected by online rumors. (Source: Cyberbullying Research Center)
  • Just over 7 percent of middle school and high school students had a mean or hurtful web page created about them. (Source: Cyberbullying Research Center)
  • In a survey of parents and adults across Asia, 79 percent reported that either their child or a child they know had been threatened with physical harm while playing online games. (Source: Telenor)
  • Cyberbullying often occurs on Facebook or through text messages. (Source: American Journal of Public Health)

Direct impact of cyberbullying on teens and adolescents

The long-lasting impacts of cyberbullying are difficult to ignore. Alongside the increasing number of suicides directly linked to cyberbullying, other consequences arise for bullying victims. One 2016 study discovered that bullying victims are more likely to engage in substance abuse and nonviolent delinquency. Other cyberbullying research (listed below) indicates that cyberbullying carries over into how students feel about their physical safety at school. Additionally, cyberbullying can negatively impact a student’s’ overall success by cutting into their motivation.

Key research on the impact of cyberbullying includes the following:

  • As of August 2016, 16.9 percent of middle and high school students identified themselves as cyberbully victims. (Source: Cyberbullying Research Center)
  • Among adolescents, 36.7 percent of female respondents stated they’d be the victim of cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime, compared to 30.5 percent of boys. (Source: Cyberbullying Research Center)
  • Most online behaviors and threats to well-being are mirrored in the offline world (Source: Perspectives on Psychological Science)
  • 34 percent of students claimed to have been bullied online at least once in their lifetime. (Source: Florida Atlantic University)
  • 17 percent of students explained that they’d been bullied sometime within the past 30 days. (Source: Florida Atlantic University )
  • Roughly 64 percent of students who claimed to have been cyberbullied explained that it negatively impacted both their feelings of safety and ability to learn at school. (Source: Florida Atlantic University )
  • According to a decade-long Florida Atlantic University study of 20,000 middle and high school students, 70 percent of students said that someone spread rumors about them online. (Source: Florida Atlantic University )
  • More than one in 10 students (12 percent) admitted to cyberbullying someone else at least once. (Source: Florida Atlantic University)
  • Girls are more likely to be victims of cybercrime (except for those bullied within the last 30 days), while boys are more likely to be cyberbullies. (Source: Florida Atlantic University )
  • There are significant cross-overs between in-person and online bullying. 83 percent of students who had been bullied online in the last 30 days had also been bullied at school. Meanwhile, 69 percent of students who admitted to bullying others online had also recently bullied others at school. (Source: Florida Atlantic University)
  • Adolescents who engaged in cyberbullying were more likely to be perceived as “popular” by their peers. (Source: Journal of Early Adolescence - 22 page PDF ).

A need for more broad-reaching and open research

One common theme emerged as we researched various aspects of cyberbullying—a stunning lack of data. This is not to say that research on cyberbullying isn’t there. Even a simple search in research databases will reveal thousands of articles covering the topic in some form. However, most research on cyberbullying is either small in scale or lacking in depth. Most research is also based on surveys, resulting in a large variation in the results from survey to survey.

The Florida Atlantic University study represents one of the best sources of information to date. However, more is needed, including a meta-analysis of the data gathered from many other sources. Until then, publically available cyberbullying statistics paint an incomplete picture of the ongoing issue.

Past research still holds value

Despite a lack of consistent publicly or easily-accessible data, a plethora of data from beyond 2015 can still help shed some valuable light on the issue. Past research and statistics reveal where cyberbullying has been and help reflect on why this issue is still a concern today.

Older data on cyberbullying include the following:

  • Most teenagers (over 80 percent) now use a mobile device regularly, opening them up to new avenues for bullying. (Source: Bullying Statistics)
  • Half of all young adults have experienced cyberbullying in some form. A further 10-20 percent reported experiencing it regularly. (Source: Bullying Statistics)
  • Cyberbullying and suicide may be linked in some ways. Around 80 percent of youth that commits suicide have depressive thoughts. Cyberbullying often leads to more suicidal thoughts than traditional bullying. (Source: JAMA Pediatrics)
  • More than half of all teens who use social media have witnessed cyberbullying. (Source:
  • Over 50 percent of surveyed teens say they never confide in their parents after being victimized by cyberbullies. (Source:
  • The website recorded over 9.3 million visits in 2016 from people seeking help with bullying, cyberbullying and online safety. (Source:
  • Almost 43 percent of kids have been cyberbully victims. Around 25 percent have been victimized more than once. (Source: )
  • Over 80% of young adults believe it’s easier to get away with online bullying than bullying in person. (Source: )
  • Nine out of 10 teens who have been bullied through social media report that they’ve ignored it. A further 84% said they’ve seen others attempt to stop cyberbullies. (Source: )
  • A UK survey of more than 10,000 youths discovered that 69 percent reported doing something about abusive online behavior directed toward another person. (Source: )
  • The same U.K. survey also discovered that 71 percent of young adults believe social networks do not do enough to prevent cyberbullying. (Source:


Nationwide teen bullying and cyberbullying study reveals significant issues impacting youth


In one of the latest and most ambitious studies on bullying and cyberbullying in middle and high school students, researchers found that 1 in 5 students said that they had been threatened with a weapon at school, 73 percent of students reported that they had been bullied at school at some point in their lifetime, and 70 percent of the students said that someone spread rumors about them online.

One of the latest and most ambitious studies on bullying and cyberbullying in middle and high school students begs to differ with the age-old adage, "sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can't hurt me." The study, conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UW-EC), used a nationally-representative sample of 5,600 children between the ages of 12 to 17 years old to address various forms of bullying and cyberbullying, sexting and dating violence, as well as thoughts of suicide, deviant behavior, and resilience or coping mechanisms.

Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., a professor of criminology and criminal justice within FAU's College for Design and Social Inquiry and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., a professor of criminal justice at UW-EC and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, spearheaded this latest study. They have conducted numerous formal surveys of teens, educators, law enforcement, and parents over the last decade across more than 20,000 respondents.

This most recent study of middle and high school students found that when it came to school bullying:

  • 73 percent of students reported that they had been bullied at school at some point in their lifetime; 44 percent said that it had happened in the last 30 days.
  • Among those who were bullied recently, 88 percent said they were called mean names or were made fun of in a hurtful way; 77 percent said they were excluded from groups or left out of things.
  • 1 in 5 students said that they had been threatened with a weapon at school.
  • At the same time, 32 percent of the students admitted they had bullied others at school at some point in their lifetime; 12 percent said they had done it within the previous 30 days.
  • Almost one-fifth acknowledged that they forced another student to do things he or she didn't want to do.
  • Girls were more likely to have been bullied at school, while boys were more likely to have bullied others.

This study found that when it came to cyberbullying:

  • 34 percent of students had experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime; 17 percent said that it had happened in the last 30 days.
  • 4 out of 5 of the students who were cyberbullied said that mean comments were posted about them online.
  • 70 percent of the students said that someone spread rumors about them online.
  • Notably, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the students who experienced cyberbullying said that it really affected their ability to learn and feel safe at school.
  • 12 percent of the students admitted that they had cyberbullied others at some point in their lifetime.
  • The most commonly reported behaviors included spreading rumors online (60 percent), posting mean comments online (58 percent), or threatening to hurt someone online (54 percent).
  • Girls were most likely to have been bullied online, with the exception of those with recent experiences (30 days); while boys were more likely to have bullied others online.

"We have long known that there is a significant overlap between school and online bullying," said Hinduja. "For example, 83 percent of the students who had been cyberbullied within the last 30 days also had been bullied at school recently, and 69 percent of the students who admitted to bullying others at school also bullied others online."

Hinduja and Patchin note that it is very likely that the causes and correlates of bullying influence behaviors and experiences across environments. What makes someone an attractive target at school makes them similarly vulnerable online. What causes or induces someone to be harassing or cruel at school also causes them to act in the same ways online.

The study also found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the students who experienced cyberbullying stated that it really affected their ability to learn and feel safe at school. However, a child's level of resilience -- their ability to "bounce back" or "overcome adversity" -- was a significant differentiator. Among those middle and high school students who had the lowest levels of resilience, their ability to learn and feel safe at school was negatively affected many times. Students with the highest levels of resiliencies indicated that bullying -- when it happened -- did not impact them very much at all.

Hinduja believes schools must prioritize the development of this internal social competency so that kids learn to navigate and productively handle whatever life throws at them.

"Overall, we're trying to paint an updated, accurate picture of what teens these days are facing across our nation so as to underscore the critical importance of devoting additional resources and attention to this persistent problem, and inform schools exactly what they should focus on," said Hinduja. "Knowing what contributes to the problem helps us know how educators should spend their time and resources to really make progress in this area."

This study was supported by a $188,776 grant awarded to Hinduja and Patchin by the Digital Trust Foundation to collect nationally-representative data on cyberbullying and teen dating violence.

See more at:

11 Facts About Cyber Bullying

Welcome to, a global movement of 5.5 million young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, do something! Find out how to take action here.

  • Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once.
  • 70% of students report seeing frequent bullying online. Filling up your friends' Facebook feeds with positive posts instead of negative ones can boost school-wide morale. Start a Facebook page for students to submit positive acts they see in school to promote a culture of positivity on and offline. Sign up for Positivity Page.
  • Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyberbullying.
  • 68% of teens agree that cyberbullying is a serious problem.
  • 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.
  • 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored it. 84% have seen others tell cyberbullies to stop.
  • Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
  • Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.
  • About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once.
  • Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide.
  • About 75% of students admit they have visited a website bashing another student.


1 Moessner, Chris. "Cyberbullying, Trends and Tudes." Accessed February 10, 2014,

2 Graham, PhD, Sandra. "Bullying: A Module for Teachers." Accessed February 10, 2014,

3 Connolly, Ciaran. "Facts About Cyber Bullying" No Bullying Expert Advice On Cyber Bullying School Bullying. Accessed February 10, 2014,


Solutions and Prevention of Cyber Bullying Among Youth – Complete Guide 2020

What is cyberbullying?

Bullying is not a new phenomenon in our culture. There are references of bullying, typically among school aged children, in published psychology articles as early as the 1800’s (1). Bullying is defined as any unwanted behavior that is aggressive and includes an imbalance of power, such as physical strength or intimidation, in order to assert control or harm another.

With the proliferation of users on the internet starting in the 1990s, traditional bullying took a new form: cyberbullying. The definition of cyberbullying is using technology such as texts, photos, videos, tweets, private messages, or posting on social media as a means to bully a person. Cyberbullying is a form of harassment, and victims can often feel embarrassed, intimidated, or even threatened by these actions. The Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC), directed by Dr. Sameer Hinduja and Dr. Justin W. Patchin, was founded in 2005 and researches and publishes research for the public on the topic of cyberbullying. The CRC reports that teens and adolescents who are bullied online are also likely to be bullied in person, as issues which are raised online rarely stay solely online.

While bullying in the pre-internet days was rough, adolescents and teenagers were more slightly more able to limit their interactions with peers, especially those they wished to avoid. Simply going home from school for the day often allowed children a reprieve from bullying behaviors, where they could vent, get advice, and regroup before returning to potential bullying situations again. The internet allows bullies to continually engage in bullying behavior, regardless of where the victim is located. This inability to disconnect from their attackers is part of what makes cyberbullying such a huge mental health risk. Victims may feel that there is no safe space for them to relax away from their attacker, and may isolate themselves from using social media and/or their friends, which may compound the problem and make them feel worse.

Students in grades 3-5 who owned cell phones were significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying.

Who is at risk?

Research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2017 reported that students in grades 3-5 who owned cell phones were “significantly more likely to report being a victim of cyberbullying (2). However, children who are at the greatest risk for being bullied, either online or in person, are children who are perceived as being different from their peers in some way. Girls are just as likely as boys to experience bullying, both as victim and perpetrator.

Children who are at greatest risk may fit into one or more of these descriptors:

  • overweight
  • underweight
  • less popular than others
  • don’t get along well with others
  • are seen as annoying by their peers
  • are or seem depressed
  • are or seem anxious
  • have low self esteem

Effects of cyberbullying

Bullying, whether in person or online, can have serious and long-lasting effects for the victim, such as fear, anxiety, and depression. These effects can lead to changes in mood, sleep disturbances, affect the appetite, and potentially lead to harmful behaviors such as cutting or even suicidal thoughts or actions. The effects of cyberbullying can be wide and long-lasting, so while you shouldn’t jump to conclusions or escalate the situation, you should carefully assess your child’s mental and emotional well-being. Your child may try to mask their fear, anxiety, or upset from you, especially if they feel it is upsetting you. They may want to tell you everything one day, and other days not want to discuss it at all. Try to ensure they are sleeping well, eating healthy, and that other factors in their life such as homework and other responsibilities are well-managed to avoid adding additional stress.

Sometimes people who do not know how to manage the stress or pain of something they are dealing with may turn to harmful behaviors they can control as a sort of release. These could include lashing out at people they love, acting out behaviorally, engaging in physically risky behavior, self-harm, or suicide attempts. If you are concerned that your child may be engaging in self-harm behaviors or having suicidal thoughts, seek help from a qualified mental health therapist immediately.

Warning signs your child may be a victim of cyberbullying

It can be difficult to notice the signs of cyberbullying since the act itself may not be visible to you due to the technology involved. There are some common behavioral signs you should watch out for, and if you spot them, try to open a dialogue with your child to ensure they are okay.

If your child:

  • seems upset after going online
  • seems suddenly depressed
  • appears to be isolating themselves from friends or family
  • is secretive about their phone or internet use
  • is uneasy about going to school or to social situations
  • complains of headaches, stomach aches, or has a change in appetite
  • has trouble sleeping at night
  • has lost interest in their favorite hobbies
  • tries to stay home from school or extracurricular activities
  • makes comments about self-harm or suicide attempts


What can you do?

You may have to rely on communications with your child to know whether or not they are being hurt by someone online. You could also consider monitoring your child’s online activity, including their social media sites, browser history, and/or messaging. If you find evidence of bullying, save it by taking screenshots and sending a copy to your own phone. Having evidence of the bullying will help you if you decide to get school officials or anyone else involved. Review the privacy settings on your child’s phone and internet access, and make sure their accounts are set to “private” in order to limit access to their social media accounts. Have your child accept you as a friend on all social media sites they participate in so that you have access to what they post, and what others post to them as well. Require your child to give you their login and password to applications and websites they use so that you can check in, if needed. Familiarize yourself with the commonly used social media apps and websites and how they are used

Most importantly, try to keep the lines of communication with your child open and honest. A child in need will mostly come to you for help if they feel they can trust you, particularly if they feel they can be honest with you without risking trouble or a lecture. Let your child know they can talk to you about anything, and try to let them vent without jumping in to quickly solve the problem. Very often, adolescents, and especially teenagers, just need to feel they are being heard by someone who cares. If they ask you for solutions, talk it through with them rather than just dictating what they should do. Present a few options, and ask if any of those options sound workable, and if there’s anything they would change or add. By presenting them with gentle guidance and allowing them to have some input in how they handle their situation, they may begin to feel less like a victim and more empowered to help resolve the situation, as well as situations that may arise in the future.

If you feel your child is being bullied

Depending on the severity of the situation, there are a number of ways you can help your child navigate a tricky and uncomfortable situation online with bullies. Here are a few tips on what you can do as a parent.

Reach out to parents. If you are familiar with the child and/or their parents, you can possibly start a conversation with them about your suspicions? They may be unaware of what their child is doing and may help you resolve the situation.

Contact your child’s teacher. Particularly if the incidences are happening at school or on the bus, your child’s teacher could be an invaluable resource in helping you and your child, and most schools have a zero tolerance policy on bullying.

Escalate to your school’s guidance counselor and/or administration. Sometimes teachers may not be aware of the situation, or they may be unable to witness anything first hand. In these cases, it may be necessary for you to go straight to the school counselor or administration to make your concerns known. School officials may set up a meeting between the students involved, or a group meeting with parents involved also.

Talk to your child about what they can do in bullying situations. Keep in mind that bullies want a reaction, so if your child ignores them, they may move on.

Help your child disconnect from their online interactions. It may be tempting to check their phones or computer every day, however, encourage them to take a break from online. Invite a friend over and do something fun. Go to a library and find new books to read. Take a break as a family and have a game night.

Give them some examples of responses they can use. Sometimes a simple, “Please stop” will be enough, other times laughing it off may be appropriate.

No matter the situation, don’t retaliate! Not only does it typically make things worse, your child could get into trouble for the things they say.

Consider reporting the behavior to the application provider. Apps like Instagram and Facebook, among others, have features where you can report inappropriate messages or comments. They may get a warning, a temporary suspension, or even banned from the platform altogether.

If you believe your child may be mentally suffering from the bullying, schedule an appointment with a mental health therapist you trust. Often, just talking it through with a neutral party may help relieve some of the anxiety, depression, or confusion they may feel, and a qualified mental health counselor may have some advice about how to proceed.

For severe cases or if you feel your child’s physical safety is at risk, call the police.

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Bullying

Research has shown that victimization from cyberbullying can increase the likelihood of substance use (3). To cope with the distress or to attempt to manage the feelings associated with being bullied, adolescents might turn to drugs or alcohol. They may believe that using alcohol or another substance may allow them relief, even temporarily, from the situation. While they may experience some initial relief, the effects of using substances are short-lived, and may require higher amounts of substances or additional substances to obtain the same relief. Additionally, since the victim still hasn’t dealt with the original issue or emotions associated with it, they will likely continue to suffer emotionally any time they aren’t able to ignore the situation, distract themselves from the situation, or numb their emotions with substances.

Those who engage in bullying behavior also report higher incidences of using alcohol or substances such as marijuana than those who do not. Children and teens may engage in bullying behaviors because they themselves were victims of bullying or other abuses, they suffer from low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety, or they are having family or school issues that they feel are out of their control. Those who bully others may also be using alcohol or other substances in an effort to drown out their emotional pain, which also provides a temporary but unhealthy and unsustainable solution.

Substance or alcohol use has been shown to be higher for those connected to bullying in some way both during the adolescent and teen years as well as later in life. Although there appears to be a strong link between substance abuse and bullying, not all victims, bullies, or victim-bullies use drugs or alcohol.

Popular Apps on Social Media

There are a number of social media applications used by adolescents and teens, despite many of them having a minimum age requirement. New apps are developed and added all the time, so stay informed by researching online for the newest and most popular apps your child may have downloaded, check their phone regularly, or require a password so they cannot add any apps you don’t know about or approve of to their phones. Here are a few of the most common ones in use today. While bullying can happen on any platform,


(2015) Users can text, private message, share images, photos, videos, and teleconference with other users with and without video. Discord is unique in that users can message/chat in small groups or broadcast directly to large groups of 5000 or more other users at a time. Minimum age: 13.


(2004) Users can create a profile, create posts and polls, take, edit, and share images either publicly on their “wall” or privately in messages. Facebook also has a “story” feature, which deletes after 24 hours. Facebook has a multitude of groups with varying degrees of privacy, a marketplace for sales items, and community events for all ages are also posted. Requires an email address and birthdate to sign up. Minimum age: 13.

House Party:

(2016) Users can video chat with other users or a group of users, either on mobile or desktop, as well as leave video messages if users are not online at the same time. Users can also send notes through the app to other friends. Users must add friends to chat, chatting with the public is not possible. Minimum age: 13.


(2010) Users can take, edit, and share photographs and short videos on their public feed or through private messaging. They can make public or private comments to others, and share to their “story”, which disappears after 24 hours. This app interacts with Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and Flickr. Requires an email address or a Facebook account to sign up. Minimum age: 13


(2006) Users design and create their own games, and play the games created by others. Allows for private messages among users, and provides a “Safe chat” option for users under 13 which prevents custom messaging as a safety precaution. Minimum age: no set minimum, but accounts for users under 13 are automatically restricted.


(2011) Users can post videos and photos to their “wall”, which lasts about 24 hours, as well as private messages which disappear a few seconds after they are opened. Accounts can be made public or private. Snapchat also includes a map feature where the user’s location is displayed to friends or the public, and accounts can be found via a person’s phone number. Minimum age: 13.


(2014) Originally, changed in 2018. Allows users to create, share, and discover mainly music videos, but content often extends beyond music videos. Users can make private or public accounts, as well as post individual videos privately or publicly, and via private message. Users can view, comment, like, and share other videos on the platform, as well as create a “duet” or “reaction” video with others via a split screen. Minimum age: 13.


(2009) Another app which allows users to text, chat, send videos and voice messages with both individuals and groups of up to 256 users at once. Users can chat with friends, but group chats may include users which are not in each user’s friend list. Profile settings allow for private use, where either only “contacts” can see information about a user, or “nobody” can. Minimum age: 16


(2005) Users can watch or share videos posted by TV/movie companies, other businesses, or the general public. Accounts can be public or private, and age limit restrictions can be added to limit content for younger users, although this is no guarantee of safety. Requires an email address and date of birth to join. Minimum age: 13 with “parental” permission.

Resourced Information:

1. Burk, F. L (1897). Teasing and bullying. Pedagogical Seminary, 4, 336-371.

2. Grade School Students Who Own Cell Phones are More Likely to be Cyberbullied, retrieved from

3. Litwiller, B. J., & Brausch, A. M. (2013). Cyber bullying and physical bullying in adolescent suicide: The role of violent behavior and substance use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(5), 675-684.

4. Radliff, K. M., Wheaton, J. E., Robinson, K., & Morris, J. (2012). Illuminating the relationship between bullying and substance use among middle and high school youth. Addictive Behaviors, 37(4), 569-572.

5. Hinduja, S., PhD, and Patchin, J.W., PhD. (2018). Responding to Cyberbullying: Top Ten Tips for Teens. Retrieved from

6. Childhood bullying behaviors at age eight and substance use at age 18 among males. A nationwide prospective study. S. Niemelä, A. Brunstein-Klomek, L. Sillanmäki, H. Helenius, J. Piha, K. Kumpulainen, I. Moilanen, T. Tamminen, F. Almqvist, A. Sourander. Addict Behav. 2011 Mar; 36(3): 256–260. Published online 2010 Nov 10. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.10.012

7. Beran, T. and Li, Q. (2007).The Relationship between Cyberbullying and School Bullying. Retrieved from

October - Bully Awareness and Prevention Month - Press Release 2020

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying prevention continues to be a major focal point for school districts, staff, and parents, and the current COVID-19 pandemic adds a layer of complexity to bullying prevention. Traditional bullying that took place in hallways, after school, or on the bus may have been reduced in recent months as a result of school closures and social distancing guidelines, however as students spend more time online, the risk of cyberbullying is a growing concern. In an online learning environment, it may be more difficult for school staff to recognize potential bullying behaviors or signs that a student has been the victim of bullying.

A 2018 study from Pew Research found that 59% of teens had experienced some form of cyberbullying. Examples include 42% offensive name-calling, 32% spreading false rumors and 25% receiving unsolicited explicit images. A new study from Comparitech found that kids reported being bullied 83% at school, 33% on the school bus, and 19% on social media sites or apps, most commonly via text messaging. Finally, a new survey from the Anti-Defamation League found that one in four Americans experience severe online harassment, so, unfortunately, online bullying is an issue for all ages.

In order to address cyberbullying, students should be taught that if they wouldn't say something to someone's face, they shouldn't say it to them online, through texting, or posting in any other way. Parents and educators should let students know that it is okay to immediately report if they are being digitally harassed, cyberbullied, cyberstalked or if they have been approached by a predator. During this unprecedented time where kids are spending their days online, parents and educators should keep close tabs on all online interactions and encourage students to send screenshots or screen recordings of any rule violations they see to help with investigating and takedowns of problematic or abusive content. It is important to monitor computer use. You want to respect your children's privacy yet, your child's safety may override these privacy concerns. Tell your child that you are not spying on them but you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern.

Tim Wilson
Curry County Suicide Awareness and Prevention Council
October 4, 2020

The 10 Warning Signs of Cyberbullying - Short

With the rapid advancement of mobile technology and the increased demand of smartphones, many children are being given access to mobile devices at a young age. What many parents sometimes are unaware is that access to these devices has the potential to create a dangerous scenario for children and teens; cyberbullying.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children in third through fifth grades that own cell phones are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. “Parents often cite the benefits of giving their child a cell phone, but our research suggests that giving young children these devices may have unforeseen risks as well,” said Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University.

It has been reported that up to 43% of children have been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lives. And up to 58% of those kids have NOT told their parents. It’s important for parents to pay attention to their children’s behavior, both on and off their devices, in order to be aware of and help to prevent such situations.

Cyberbullying may be happening to your child/teen if you notice he or she:

  • becomes upset, sad or angry during or after being online or using their phone.
  • withdraws from family or friends.
  • expresses reluctance or refuses to participate in activities previously enjoyed.
  • has an unexplained decline in grades.
  • refuses to go to school or expresses anger or dissatisfaction with a specific class or school in general.
  • increasingly reports symptoms of illness for which he or she wants to stay at home.
  • shows signs of depression or sadness.

It can be difficult to recognize the signs of cyberbullying without becoming a helicopter parent, who is overly anxious and suspicious about what your child is doing on their mobile device. But noticing one or more of these signs can help you pinpoint distress in your child’s life. If that’s the case, create a safe space with open communication for your child to communicate what’s going on in their life.

The 10 Warning Signs of Cyberbullying - Full

With the rapid advancement of mobile technology and the increased demand of smartphones, many children are being given access to mobile devices at a young age. What many parents sometimes are unaware is that access to these devices has the potential to create a dangerous scenario for children and teens; cyberbullying.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children in third through fifth grades that own cell phones are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. “Parents often cite the benefits of giving their child a cell phone, but our research suggests that giving young children these devices may have unforeseen risks as well,” said Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University.

It has been reported that up to 43% of children have been victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lives. And up to 58% of those kids have NOT told their parents. It’s important for parents to pay attention to their children’s behavior, both on and off their devices, in order to be aware of and help to prevent such situations.


Below are 10 tips for parents to help spot the warning signs of cyberbullying:

1. Uneasy, nervous or scared about going to school or outside.

This is a major warning sign that your child is uncomfortable in their school environment or being around their classmates. Some other signs to look out for are if your child continuously asks you if they can skip school by staying home or if they make calls asking to come home early during the school day.

2. Nervous or jumpy when texting or using social media.

Does your child become extremely anxious about their phone, tablet or laptop, especially while you’re in view of the device? Keeping devices in commonly used areas is an easy way to help maintain a watchful eye.

3. Upset or frustrated after going online or gaming.

Have you ever witnessed your child get so angry at what’s happening on screen that they slam their device shut or throw it mid-use? This outburst of anger can be a red flag, as kids may do this as a way to distance themselves from bullies.

4. Unwilling to discuss or share information about their online accounts and activity.

Increased secretiveness is another big warning sign when it comes to online bullying. Children will try to hide what is going on in order to keep it quiet since many victims are afraid to speak out, especially to parents. Having a family contract that establishes rules for your children and their online passwords and accounts is just another way to help protect them from bullying and give you, as parents, some peace of mind.

5. Unexplained weight loss or weight gain, headaches, stomachaches, or trouble eating.

Health-related symptoms like these are just some of the many ways bullying can take its physical toll on a child. Parents need to be aware of these signs because if they continue for a long period, their child’s health can go downhill very fast.

6. Trouble sleeping at night or sleepy during the day.

Restlessness is a huge factor when it comes to cyberbullying. Children are unable to sleep because they are tormented by what the cyberbullies are saying about them. This fatigue can then affect the child throughout the rest of the day, making their school day even harder, as they attempt to deal with schoolwork and classmates.

7. Loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activities.

If your child has suddenly lost interest in their favorite sport or hobby, it may be an indicator of cyberbullying. They may be trying to distance themselves from others making fun of them or attempting to fit in. Talk with your child and continue to encourage them to do what makes them happy, not others.

8. Child suddenly seems depressed or anti-social.

If your child seems to be severely unhappy and only wants to be in their room by themselves, it could be a warning sign. To boost their mood, try planning a family outing or even a game night to get them up and out of their room. This will also let your child know that your family is there to support them.

9. Withdrawn from close friends and family.

This withdraw could be an attempt to push people away and distance everyone in their life, especially from those doing the bullying. Make sure your child knows you’re there for them if they want to talk about anything.

10. Making passing statements about suicide or making a suicide attempt.

This is an immediate red flag. These signs should not be taken lightly! Contact a professional immediately and get the school involved, if needed. Make sure your child knows that your actions are only because you’re trying to help them.

It can be difficult to recognize the signs of cyberbullying without becoming a helicopter parent, who is overly anxious and suspicious about what your child is doing on their mobile device. But noticing one or more of these signs can help you pinpoint distress in your child’s life. If that’s the case, create a safe space with open communication for your child to communicate what’s going on in their life and check out the 6 proven ways to stop cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Warning Signs

For Educators For Parents, Families, and Caregivers

Below are some warning signs that your child/teen may be the target of cyberbullying. If you notice one or more of these signs, take immediate steps to identify and respond to what is upsetting your child/teen. By approaching the discussion with a gentle, supportive tone, asking questions and expressing your concern, you should be able to discover what is causing changes in your child’s/teen’s behavior.

Cyberbullying may be happening to your child/teen if you notice he or she:

  • becomes upset, sad or angry during or after being online or using their phone.
  • withdraws from family or friends.
  • expresses reluctance or refuses to participate in activities previously enjoyed.
  • has an unexplained decline in grades.
  • refuses to go to school or expresses anger or dissatisfaction with a specific class or school in general.
  • increasingly reports symptoms of illness for which he or she wants to stay at home.
  • shows signs of depression or sadness.


Signs a Child Is Being Bullied

Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.

Signs a Child is Bullying Others

Kids may be bullying others if they:

  • Get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity


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