Have you been cyber-bullied?

I sent out a request for responses to a cyber-bullying survey a number of weeks ago, and I’ve finally gotten around to analyzing the results. I asked two questions: "Have you been cyber-bullied?" and "What is your age?"

Pie chart - Have you been cyber-bullied?

From this chart we can see that half of the people who responded indicated that they have never been cyber-bullied, and that about one third indicated that they had been cyber-bullied, and a final sixth of the participants were not sure. This seems to match the results of the 2010 Pew survey of 800 teens.

Cyberbullied - bar chart with age and results

From this chart we can see that the peak age of the people who responded was 13 or 14 and that there aren’t any obvious trends. I’m sure that we have a strong selection bias that skews our results, as only 124 people responded, and those people who responded are just people who I was able to reach with the survey via Twitter and my school’s email. I was hoping for a much larger pool of data with which to work. If you are interested in further research, see this Wikipedia article for summaries of larger research studies.

There were a few interesting comments added to the survey. At least one person (over the age of 18) said "Boo hoo, block and move on" which really has a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of bullying. Obviously not every young teenager is going to be able to just block the offending person and move on, as they may also be cutting out a significant portion of their social circle.

These results do suggest that cyber-bullying is a problem, but that it is not a significantly bigger problem than face to face bullying ever has been. However, since we have historically had problems combating face to face bullying, the significance of these results is that the online social spheres have similar risks as the traditional social spheres. From this you can conclude that if your school has a bullying problem in the playground, they have a similar bullying problem online. My suspicion is that the best way to spot cyber-bullying is through the same channels we spot more traditional playground bullying, by watching the social interactions of the teenagers involved.

How do these results fit in with what you know is happening at your school?



  • J Bevacqua wrote:

    Your results mirror what I see at school. Students in Gr. 8 & 9 struggle with issues of cyber bullying the most. We continue to educate and implement strategies to deal with this issue. I am also starting to speak to elementary school administrators about collaborating on some initiatives. It appears to me that starting conversations about digital citizenship in Gr. 8 is far to late.

    Thanks for sharing

  • David Wees wrote:

    That’s a good point. Clearly cyber-bullying starts at a young age. As soon as groups of students are online in any significant numbers, cyber-bullying pops up as a problem. We’ve started our digital citizenship program at in grade 5, which is about the same time our students first start joining social networks online.

    I’m planning a workshop for parents on social media at our school, and I think it will be worth sharing the results of this survey.

  • […] with the stress, even those who live through it all can experience lasting psychological effects. This fantastic study by The Reflective Educator is a good idea of the average age adolescents experience cyberbullying; I recommend giving it a […]

  • […] As technology use inside and outside of schools increases and children younger and younger are having access to social media outlets, cyber bullying is becoming more and more prevalent among our young generation. Cyber Bullying is described by Stopbullying.gov as “bullying that takes place using electronic technology including cellphones, computers, and tablets communicating through text messages, email, social media, and chat websites.” The site also reports that cyber bullying causes low self esteem, poor grades, absence from school, drug and alcohol use, and physical and emotional health issues. Understood.org, a website for learning and attention issues, describes how cyber bullying can come in many different forms. This includes mean emails or texts, hurting someones character or creating a hostile place in an online game, impersonating someone, repeatedly trying to contact someone, stealing passwords, direct threats online, starting rumors online, sharing embarrassing photos or videos online without permission, etc (Knorr, n.d.). So what can educators do to educate their students on cyber bullying and thus help prevent it? First and foremost, teaching about how to properly use computers is a good start. Brian P. Gatens of Concordia University writes a blog on what teachers can do to educate their students here. He says to start by stating what you expect of your students, meaning no mean words said to peers, no joining anonymous posting sites, and no talking about others in a negative way on any site. It is also important to continuously emphasize the overall “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated, and reminding children to be kind to their peers. In order to make sure these things are sticking with the children, having parents involved is also a good measure to take. Reinforcing kindness at home is likely to reflect in the school setting as well. Lastly, in order to teach proper digital citizenship skills it’s imperative to remind young internet users that everything they share is permanent and public. They need to use caution when posting at all times. Cyber bullying is running rampant in schools all over the world, but the more teachers who take the necessary time and effort to educate their students and parents who follow along, the easier we can wipe it out and continue our internet use and technological advances with less issues. (image source: https://davidwees.com/content/have-you-been-cyber-bullied/) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email is never shared.Required fields are marked *