Key Research

A Majority of Teens have Experienced Some Form of Cyberbullying

Key Takeaways:

  • 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online; 63% believe it’s a major problem; 90% believe it is a problem
  • Young people believe that teachers, social media companies, and politicians are failing at tackling this issue; parents are doing a better job at addressing cyberbullying
  • Six forms of cyberbullying that are most prevalent: 
    • Offensive name-calling
    • False rumors
    • Receiving unwanted explicit images 
    • Invasive asking of where people are, who with, what doing
    • Physical threats
    • Sharing of explicit images without consent


LiveMore ScreenLess’ Summary

Did you know…?

  • The vast majority of teens (90% in this case) believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age, and 
  • 63% say this is a major problem.
  • 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online in one of six forms, most commonly via offensive name-calling (42%) and spreading of false rumors (32%).
  • 25% of teens have been sent explicit images they did not ask for, and 7% of teens say someone has shared explicit images of them without their consent.
  • 21% of teens report being constantly asked where they are, what they’re doing, and/or who they’re with by someone other than a parent, and 16% have received physical threats online.15% of teen girls have been the target of at least four of these forms of online harassment.
  • Teen boys and girls are equally likely to experience cyberbullying, but girls are more likely to suffer from false rumors (39% of girls, 26% of boys) and receive unprompted explicit images (29% vs. 20%).
  • “Online harassment does not necessarily begin and end with one specific behavior, and 40% of teens have experienced two or more of these actions”.
  • “24% of teens whose household income is less than $30,000 a year say they have been the target of physical threats online, compared with 12% whose annual household income is $75,000 or more”.
  • “67% of teens who are online almost constantly have been cyberbullied, compared with 53% of those who use the internet several times a day or less”.
  • While most teens express a favorable view of efforts made by parents, “79% of teens say elected officials are doing only a fair or poor job of addressing [cyberbullying]”.
  • Young people are critical of how social media sites (66%), other users who witness harassment online (64%), and teachers (58%) have addressed—or failed to address—cyberbullying.
  • While 6 out of 10 parents worry about their child getting bullied online, 9 out of 10 are “at least somewhat confident they can teach their teen how to engage in appropriate online behavior’.

Anderson, Monica, A Majority of Teens have Experienced Some Form of Cyberbullying. Pew Research Center, 2018. 

Topics: Cyberbullying