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What is 'Cyberbullying?'

Get the facts on Internet harassment.

Cyberbullying is the use of Internet technology, including cell phones, laptops, and gaming devices, to bully
and harass. It can also involve activities such as hacking victims' accounts, stealing victim's identities and
creating hate pages.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about one in three teens between 12 and 17 have experienced online harassment. Girls are more likely to be cyberbullied than boys (38 percent versus 26 percent).1

Children can cyberbully multiple ways:

  • Cell Phones – Sixty-three percent of teens between 12 and 17 own cell phones2, and they use their phone to send text messages 7.5 times more often than they use it to call.3 That makes cell phones the perfect tool for cyberbullies, who use them to send mean, harassing or insulting text messages. One in four teens between 13 and 18 say that they've been called names, harassed or insulted by their significant others through cell phones.4
  • Online Gaming – Cyberbullying in online games may include threats, name calling and hacking other players' accounts. According to user anecdotes, cyberbullies in online games, often referred to as "griefers," is common. Students have even been arrested for threats made while gaming online.5
  • Social Networking – Teens who use social-networking sites are more likely to be bullied than those who do not (39 percent versus 22 percent).6 Cyberbullies post derogatory comments on their victim's pages, start hate groups or use the website's instant messaging program to send harassing messages.

For more information and resources, including tips and discussion starters provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, visit www.netsmartz.org/Cyberbullying.

1Lenhart, A. Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2007.
2New Media Ecology. Pew Internet and American Life Project.
3http://lsvp.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/us-teens-send-75x-more-text-messages-than-they-make-calls/
4Picard, P. Tech Abuse in Teen Relationships Study. Teenage Research Unlimited and Liz Claiborne, 2007.
5http://www.times-news.com/local/local_story_346105727.html
6Lenhart, A. Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Washington, DC: Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2007.

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