abusive Exploitation of Children
Also known as cyberbullying, internet bullying is a type of violence that could have lasting effects on young people. Bullying statistics indicate that cyberbullying is more prevalent among teenagers. Therefore, by understanding more about cyberbullying, teenagers and young adults can overcome it.
Internet bullying impacts myriads of adolescents daily. It involves the use of technology, such as the internet and smartphones, to harass or bully the other person. Internet bullying usually takes several forms such as:
- To send threats or mean messages to a person’s phone, email or social media platform
- To initiate or spread rumors through text messages or on the internet
- To post threatening or hurtful messages to someone on social media accounts or websites
- To steal the account information of a person and use it to sign in to their accounts and upload damaging posts
- To pretend that you’re someone else on an online platform to hurt a different person
- To take unflattering photos of an individual, then spread them across the internet
- To circulate sexually suggestive messages or images of a person
Cyberbullying can be quite damaging to teenagers and adolescents. It could lead to depression, anxiety or even suicide. What’s more, when these posts are circulated on social media platforms and the internet, they cannot disappear completely – instead, they can resurface at future times; thus, renewing the pain that the victim went through all over again.
The majority of online bullies assume that bullying others on these platforms is funny. They may even not be aware of the consequences of bullying others online. When teens post negative things online, it can impact their chances later when going to college or landing a job. More so, internet bullies can lose their social media accounts or even smartphones. In addition, if the cyberbullying act involved sexual harassment, the parents of those bullies could face legal charges for internet bullying.
Despite the prospective effects of internet bullying, it is still rampant among teens and adolescents. Here are the cyberbullying statistics from specific organizations, such as the Cyberbullying Research Center, The Harford County Examiner and the i-SAFE Foundation.
The Cyberbullying Research Center
- More than 80% of teenagers regularly use their mobile phones – this is the most common type of technology and a popular medium for internet bullying
- Around 50% have encountered cyberbullying, and 10% – 20% regularly experience it
- The most common forms of cyberbullying are saying hurtful, mean comments and the spread of false rumors about someone
- Both boys and girls are equally likely to be either cyberbullies or victims
- Girls are less likely to be threatened by online bullies as compared to boys
- Cyberbullying affects people of all races
- Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to experience low esteem and can even consider suicide
- More than half of teens and adolescents have experienced online bullying, and the same number has participated in internet bullying
- Over 1 out of three young people have encountered online cyberthreats
- More than 25% of teens and adolescents have been repeatedly bullied through the internet or mobile phone
- More than 50% of young people do not inform their parents when they get bullied online
The Harford County Examiner
- About 50% of teenagers have been victims of internet bullying
- 1 out of 10 teenagers inform their parents when they experience cyberbullying
- Less than 1 out of 5 cyberbullying instances are reported to the law enforcement agencies
- 1 out of 10 teenagers or adolescents have had a damaging or embarrassing photo of themselves taken without their consent, especially using telephone cameras
- 1 out of 5 teenagers have sent or uploaded nude or sexually-suggestive pictures to others
- Females are more likely to be involved in internet bullying as compared to males
How Can Teenagers and Parents Reduce these Internet Bullying Statistics?
a) Talk to teenagers regarding cyberbullying and explain that it’s wrong and may have dire consequences
b) Encourage teenagers to report any cases of cyberbullying to adults like parents or teachers
c) Victims of cyberbullying should preserve the damaging messages as proof of the bullying act
d) If the cyberbullying persists, you can block the cyberbully or acquire a new number
e) Teenagers must never share their online account passwords with anyone unless it’s the parent – they should also avoid writing these passwords anywhere
f) You should avoid sending their explicit images or videos via their mobile phones to avoid them being made public
g) You should encourage teenagers and adolescents not to share their personal details with a stranger they’ve just met on an online platform
h) Place the house computer at a shared location, like a family room – do not allow them to have access to the internet in their rooms
i) You should encourage teenagers to allocate time when they switch off technology to concentrate on other things – this can either be during family mealtimes or at night
j) Alternatively, if you’re a parent, you can decide to wait until your son or daughter is done with high school before you allow them to own a cell phone or email accounts
Teenagers and adolescents who have bullied or been bullied before should talk to a therapist or counselor to determine how they can overcome depression or any other impacts of cyberbullying.
1. National Crime Prevention Council, “Cyberbullying”
2. i-SAFE Inc., “Cyber Bullying: Statistics and Tips”
3. Richard Webster, Harford County Examiner, “From cyberbullying to sexting: What on your kids’ cell?”
4. Research Center, “Summary of our cyberbullying research from 2004-2010”