Social networking and cell phones allow teens to be bullied twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and their humiliation is often widespread and long-lasting. Today’s teens can’t get away from it, it can be hard to spot, and it is a growing problem. 

  • Sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone
  • Sharing personal or private information about someone else
  • Causing embarrassment or humiliation
  • Impersonating someone
  • Signing someone up for harmful sites
  • “Outing” someone
  • Cyberstalking, threatening, etc.
  • Obvious exclusion
  • Overwhelming text attack

Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved – not just the person being bullied, but those doing the bullying or participating in it.

Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

Four Particular Problems with Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is social terror by technology.  It’s digital abuse.  Cyberbullying is different in four particularly troublesome ways.

  1. 24/7.  Digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously communicate 24 hours a day – every day.  That means that it can be impossible for teens being cyberbullied cyberbullying to cope and find relief.
  2. Permanent.  Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public, if not reported and removed. A negative online reputation, including for those who bully, can impact college admissions, employment, and other areas of life.
  3. Hidden.  Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to notice.  In most cases it requires the target disclosing the bullying.
  4. Anonymous.  Those engaged in bullying that is not cyber-based are usually pretty obvious.  Those cyberbullying can be anonymous.  It is even more cowardly than other forms of bullying.

Statistics vary, but common statistics include:

  • 50% of teenagers report being engaged in cyberbullying
  • 50 -70% of teenagers report being targeted by cyberbullying
  • Other reports show 25% of teenagers bullied
  • One study showed that 50% of teenagers do not tell their parents about being cyberbullied and another showed 90% did not disclose being cyberbullied