Majority of US Teens Have Been Cyberbullied

October 2, 2018

A majority of American teenagers say they’ve been bullied or harassed online, with teenage girls are more likely to be targeted for certain types of cyberbullying. That’s, according to a comprehensive new study from the Pew Research Center.

While traditional forms of bullying have been around for as long as time, 59% of teens in the U.S. say they’ve also personally experienced cyberbullying -- defined as offensive name-calling, spreading of false rumors, receiving unsolicited explicit images, constant inquiries about where they are or what they’re doing by someone other than a parent, and physical threats or having explicit images of them shared without their consent, all via a computer or smarphone.

The results were from taken from surveys of 743 teens between the ages of 13 and 17 conducted between March and April of this year.

While overall, boys and girls say they’ve been cyberbullied at similar rates -- 60% of girls, 59% for boys -- when breaking down the different categories of online harassment, researchers found girls were more likely to be targets of online rumor-spreading and the receiving of unsolicited explicit images.

A large majority of teens, 79%, said they don’t think elected officials are doing a good job at addressing online harassment.

The study comes as first lady Melania Trump is using her platform to speak out against cyberbullying. At a summit last month, the first lady spoke out about her “Be Best” initiative, which focuses on children’s wellness, especially related to their behavior online.

“Let’s face it, most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults,” Mrs. Trump said, calling on adults to listen to young people about the issues they face online.

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