School Climate & Safety

One-Fifth of Children Experience Cyberbullying, According to Their Parents

By Sasha Jones — May 30, 2019 1 min read
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While many students still experience bullying in physical locations, almost 20 percent of children—some as young as 6-10—report being cyberbullied via social media sites and apps, according to a new study.

The survey of over 1,000 parents by Comparitech, a website that reviews products, found that 47.7 percent of 6-10 year-olds and over half of those over age 11 have experienced bullying in one form or another.

Slightly more than 82.8 percent of the bullying occurs at school; the second most common location is the school bus, with 32.5 percent of parents reporting their children’s harassment there.

Online, students experience cyberbullying most frequently on Instagram (42 percent), followed by Facebook (37 percent), and Snapchat (31 percent).

The results are mirrored by a 2017 survey of 10,000 young adults in the United Kingdom, which found that 54 percent of respondents had been bullied at some point and 17 percent had experienced cyberbullying. Of those who have been cyberbullied, 42 percent have experienced cyberbullying on Instagram.

To some degree, the findings reflect the changing popularity of various social media sites. Facebook has fallen in popularity among young adults. While 80.7 percent of those 19 and older have a Facebook account, that is true for only 57.7 percent of 14-18-year-olds. Similarly, Instagram is used by 67.6 percent of 14-18-year-olds but only 51.3 percent of those over 19.

Younger children are also experiencing technology at an earlier age. On average, children received their first personal tech device at almost 10 years old.

And despite social media platforms’ minimum age requirement of 13, 58 percent of 11-13-year-olds and 22 percent of 6-10-year-olds have social media accounts.

Some parents have stepped in to respond to cyberbullying. While nearly 60 percent simply talked to their child about safe internet and technology practices, 35 percent have notified the school and 15 percent have gone as far as notifying law enforcement.

However, as children age, parents increasingly have less access to their child’s devices. From ages 6 to 18, at least 80 percent of parents said they could access their kids’ personal tech device. However, for those 19 and older, only 32.7 percent of parents said they have the same access.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.