What Is Cyberbullying? The Facts, Stats, Stories, And Signs

Updated October 5, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

There are many things that technology has given us. We can get our news quicker than ever and can communicate with others on the other side of the world. We can research any topic and order our must-haves at the click of a button. These are all wonderful additions to our lives, but unfortunately, with the ups, there are also come-downs. The technology communication that many people use to convey messages of care and love can also transmit negativity and malevolence.

Definition Of Cyberbullying

"Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involve a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential over time." (source: stopbullying.gov) When you add the cyber part to it, it reaches even farther than the face-to-face bullying that can occur. Cyber is anything related to the computers, technology or virtual reality. Bullying happens nearby, while cyber-bullying can occur anywhere in the world.

Cyberbullying can take two different forms:

*Cyberstalking is when someone uses "electronic communications to threaten someone else."

*Cyberharassment is "using instant messages, blog comments, emails social media or other online communications to harass someone" (source: www.legalmatch.com). The difference between the two is that cyberstalking involves a threat to someone and cyberharassment does not.

Facts About Cyberbullying

*Almost 43% of children have been bullied while online.

*Almost ¾ of all students say they have seen bullying online.

*More than 80% of teenagers have a cell phone, which makes it the most widespread means of cyberbullying.

*Almost 70% of teenagers feel that cyberbullying is a critical problem.

*Over 80% of youngsters feel that you can get away with cyberbullying easier than when bullying face-to-face.

*This is a scary fact…9 out of 10 teenagers who have seen cyberbullying have ignored.

*On the more positive side, 8 out of 10 have seen others confront cyber bullies to tell them to stop.

*Unfortunately, only about 10% of those cyberbullied have told a parent or other adult about it.

*Girls are 2x more likely to be cyberbullied than boys.

*Almost 60% of children have said that someone has said unkind or cruel things to them online.

*Sadly, victims of any bullying are 2x to 9x more probable to think about committing suicide.

*Almost ¾ of students say they have gone to a website criticizing another student.

Stories On Cyberbullying

One teenager told of a social media page that is specifically for students to write hurtful, mean, degrading comments about other students. She was trying to get the page taken down, but couldn't. She is working hard to get rid of the page so that no one will have to read negative comments about themselves.

One mother told the story of how her son was cyberbullied so ruthlessly on social media that it caused a psychotic break. He was in the hospital for a month, and when he was released, he wasn't the same person. She was also upset that the bullies were never given any consequences. She wants teenagers to know that their hurtful, negative words have long-lasting effects on others.

Many students tell stories of considering suicide because the cyberbullying makes them feel so bad about themselves. It is so important that they tell a parent or trusted adult so that they can get help and to make sure there are consequences for the bullies.

There are, unfortunately, too many stories of tweens and teens being pushed to commit suicide as a direct result of posts on social media. Parents need to diligent in checking in on their child's social media accounts and even blocking or deleting apps and websites that promote the cyberbullying culture.

Numerous students had websites that were made specifically for cyberbullying a particular student. Everyone who visited these sites was invited to write something embarrassing, cruel, negative and hurtful to that specific student. There are many resources where you can start a website for free, so the tools are out there for cyber bullies to promote hate and negativity.

One positive story that came out of this is the creation of a positive thoughts page where people only write uplifting, loving, positive things about others. There should be more of these, and they should be promoted for free on all social media so that students know they exist and access those pages instead of the reading the negative comments and words.

Laws By State

The following states have anti-bullying laws: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The following states have cyberbullying laws: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The following states have cyberharassment laws: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (repealed), Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The following states have cyberstalking laws: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota (potential), Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Signs Of Cyberbullying

Look out for any of these signs and speak to your child about them. Tweens and teens go through normal developmental changes in behavior, but you need to be on the lookout if these behaviors are of concern to you.

*Your child:

-is nervous when they receive a text or any electronic communication.

-is anxious about going to school or pretends that they are sick.

-doesn't want to share any information about any of their electronic activity.

-has anger or depression that is out of character, especially if it coincides with being online.

-hastily shuts off or walks away from a phone or computer while they are in the middle of doing something on it.

-spends much more or much less time on their phone or computer than they usually do.

-deletes social media accounts that they were very involved in.

-asks how they can block other individuals.

-is reserved with family or friends on occasions when they are usually outgoing and involved.

-isolates themselves from others.

-complains of stomachaches or headaches with no known cause.

-doesn't sleep well at night.

-gains or loses weight with no known cause.

-has suicidal thoughts or attempts suicide.

As a parent or trusted adult, you must inquire if you see any out-of-the-ordinary behaviors, conversations, physical ailments or habits. As adults, we may find it hard to fathom that some of these terrible things are occurring, but they are, and it is our job to protect our most precious resources. A mantra that is very popular in society today, "See something, Say something" is very appropriate to this situation whether you see it happening or it is happening to you. Be the difference in someone's life.

Online Therapy Can Help

If you have been cyberbullied and feel that you need to talk to someone, you should contact a trained professional to assist you. Going to BetterHelp (https://www.betterhelp.com/get-started/) can be your first step to getting the help you need. It is private, convenient and will be one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your wellness. Do the thing today that your future self will thank you for.

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