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A comprehensive report on the rise in Cyberbullying in 2021

A problem that has affected every age group and continues to disturb the mental health of millions around the globe

Published: November 9, 2021 By Ozair Malik

Title image for A Rise in Data & Records of Cyber Bullying (2018 - 2021), “Cyberbullying” mentioned in a search bar

Image source – cybersmile.org

Cyberbullying can be regarded as the increasing issue of the 21st century, a problem that increases with time and has a huge impact on today's generation.

Looking at the statistics of technology usage in today's world, it can be seen it is most prevalent in teenagers, where Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are the most utilized social media applications.

A recent record has shown parents in 28 countries confirmed their children are going through cyberbullying at least once. It is to be noted that the situation is particularly bad in India, where parents have established their children going through cyberbullying daily. Whereas, in the United States, over a quarter of guardians agreed on facing the same problem.

Without further ado, let's dive right into the roots of this problem and how to avoid getting into it.

Top places on the internet to fall a cyberbullying victim

The use of the internet in day-to-day life has come to the point where we practically exist in the world created by it. From homework to office work, everything is one touch away. With this intensity, anyone is likely to fall victim to cyberbullying.

You cannot point out one domain and associate it with cyberbullying because negativity does exist around communities. It is natural human behavior. The main places for cyberbullying consist of 80% social media.

Top places on the internet to fall a cyberbullying victim

Image source – le-vpn.com

  • Social media: media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit, or Pinterest.
  • Smartphone: random calls from unknown and private numbers.
  • Text messaging: messaging applications on different gadgets.
  • Online chatting: forums, chat rooms, or message boards.
  • Ask.fm: websites such as to ask.fm use personal data, which can be vulnerable to different insecurities. Ask.fm has been linked to 9 teen suicides in the past year.
  • Emailing: malicious emails.
  • Online gaming communities: online platforms where people indulge in gaming.

Countries where cyberbullying is most prevalent

Countries where cyberbullying is most prevalent

Image source – forbes.com

It is common to have bullying in educational institutes and other organizations. When it comes to online platforms, bullying has even more consequences. Every country shows different statistics about bullying.

Rates of cyberbullying are severely high in India. A total of 37% of parents in India agreed on their children being bullied online. 17% of parents confirmed their children being victims of cyberbullying in Europe, where rates were much more mixed with 14% in Italy and 9% in Spain and France.


Rank
Country
2018
2016
2011
1
India
37
32
32
2
Brazil
29
19
20
3
United States
26
34
15
4
Belgium
25
13
12
5
South Africa
26
25
10
6
Malaysia
23
n/a
n/a
7
Sweden
23
20
14
8
Canada
20
17
18
9
Turkey
20
14
5
10
Saudi Arabia
19
17
18
11
Australia
19
20
13
12
Mexico
18
20
8
13
United Kingdom
18
15
11
14
China
17
20
11
15
Serbia
16
n/a
n/a
16
Germany
14
9
7
17
Argentina
14
10
9
18
Peru
14
13
n/a
19
South Korea
13
9
8
20
Italy
12
11
3
21
Poland
12
18
12
22
Romania
11
n/a
n/a
23
Hungary
10
11
7
24
Spain
9
10
5
25
France
9
7
5
26
Chile
8
n/a
n/a
27
Japan
5
7
7
28
Russia
1
9
5

Table source – ceoworld.biz

Means of cyberbullying

As mentioned above, the internet is not limited to cyberbullying websites and applications. However, different ways are cyberbullying can be done.

  • Writing abusive or threatening comments to someone using text messaging or online chat rooms.
  • Spreading rumors or creating a fake profile on social media.
  • Through sending threatening emails.
  • Sharing personal data includes photos, videos, or webcam footage of people without their consent.
  • Saying rude comments in online chat rooms.
  • Blocking, ignoring, or excluding one member in online gaming communities.
  • Posting videos on different social media to humiliate someone.

Smartphone

Research shows that heavy phone users are most likely to indulge in cyberbullying or become victims of it.

The more extensive cell phone use by teenagers, the greater their risk of being a victim or engaging in such activities. Heavy phone users can be defined as people who send more than average texts in a day.

Social media

Bullying was already a phenomenon in the world that existed before technology. Still, the increase in social media and the use of smartphones has transformed how, where and when bullying takes place.

While social media provides vast opportunities for youth development, it can be extremely dangerous once used for the wrong reasons. 7% of people agree on being sent explicit content without their consent. This kind of behavior especially concerns parents. 57% of parents say they worry about their teens receiving malicious content and their safety on the internet.

A vast amount of teenagers, almost 90%, believe that people their age suffer cyberbullying, and 63% say it is a major problem. Offensive calling, spreading rumors, racism, and attacking a group accumulate to cyberbullying through social media.

Social Media

Image source – turbofuture.com

Instagram

Instagram has become Gen Z's only network where they entirely exist. 72% of teens use the platform to engage in activities such as befriending strangers and commenting under posts they share a mutual interest in. Instagram has more than a billion monthly users.

Instagram also provides a place for people to interact with different people. But these online friendships also take wrong turns and become a portal of pain. According to a recent survey, 59% of teens have been bullied online, and more than 43% experience bullying, especially on Instagram.

Blackmailing

Social media provides platforms for people to share moments of their life and what they mostly think about. In some ways, they give hints of what they are in real life. Through various mental health issues, people have encountered numerous fake accounts that help them in their psychological problems.

People intentionally or unintentionally give out some vulnerable information that hackers and anonymous people use to blackmail and gain financial benefits from them.

Frequency of cyberbullying

In Japan, a male high school student tried to end his life twice after being cyberbullied by receiving intimidating texts on his phone. He rarely left his room because his embarrassing pictures were posted on the internet.

In India, a seventeen-year-old girl refused to continue her education anymore. On asking, her mother found out she was being teased due to her sexual nature on her social networking site.

Various men are threatened daily to break up with their girlfriends or end their relationships with certain people, warning them of severe consequences. A fourteen-year-old girl was sexually assaulted and videotaped in Taiwan. It was then posted on blogs. These incidents are proof of the increase in cyberbullying with technology, information, and communication technology.

Frequency of cyberbullying

Image source – psychology.org.au

Statistics

Statistics

Image source – pewresearch.org

The statistics of communication between people on social media play an important role in determining cyberbullying statistics. 95% of young people use smartphones, and 45% are said to be online constantly.

As of 2018, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most widely and most often used mediums of cyberbullying.

47.7% of parents with 6 – 10-year-olds reported their children were bullied, while parents with 11 – 13-year-olds were 56.4%. In teenagers, 59.9% of parents said their children were forced.

Statistics

Image source – pewresearch.org

Pandemic and cyberbullying

After the global pandemic broke out in early 2020, a wave of crimes and hated against Asians, a study conducted at the University of Florida and Denver showed that the global pandemic had a relative increase in cyberbullying levels on Twitter.

Companies specializing in artificial intelligence designed to detect racism and harmful content revealed that cyberbullying increased up to 70% due to pandemics.

According to some studies, the increase was due to the extra leisure time and online classes that most students attended during the pandemic. Moreover, due to this, students spend 20% more time on social media.

Increasing Concerns

People share all kinds of data on online forums, and it can be a threat to them.

Never-endingThe digital devices provide all kinds of texting applications and the ability to exchange chats constantly. In these kinds of situations, people facing cyberbullying find it extremely difficult to find solace anywhere.

Permanent - The information exchanged or posted online is permanent and can be seen by the public until blocked or reported. The negative reputation of institutions impacts many areas of life.

DifficultBecause cyberbullying is done remotely and the person behind it cannot be easily captured, it is difficult for people to recognize the seriousness of the problem.

Increasing concerns

Image source – slicktext.com

Preventions

  • Laws & Sanctions: Every country has its own rules and regulations regarding bullying. With the increase in cyberbullying through various technical means, many countries have made laws and added cyberbullying offenses in their constitutions. The educational institutions in multiple states have made local policies against such crimes and taken necessary action to discipline such people.

After suicide attempts of some of the biggest celebrities facing severe cyberbullying in the Korean entertainment industry, the Republic of South Korea implemented the law that if anyone is entering an online chat room, he/she must provide his full real name as the name on their identity card.

  • Role of Parents: Parents provide for the betterment of their children, so it is their responsibility to take care of and actively engage in different activities with them. They should also be aware that they might be legally liable for the actions related to their children.

Most importantly, they should set a time for their children to use their smartphones or the internet for surfing or playing games. Including this should be the safety measure and checks for the security of their children's data and stuff. They need to talk about online safety with their children, especially if they have online work.

In addition to this, children should also be taught to share if they are going through any problems. If they face any online bullying, they should directly consult parents or teachers.

Role of parents

Image source – parents.com

  • No online presence? One of the ways cyberbullying can be avoided is no online presence. Still, it is impossible to accomplish as all the work, either school or office, is done through the internet nowadays. But using some tips and tricks, you can surely get your way out of it.
    • Keep monitoring your privacy settings daily.
    • Keep a list of people you are close with in real life.
    • Try not to interact with total strangers as much as you can.
    • Keep your stuff to yourself. Do not share passwords or vulnerable data.
    • Report any hate or criminal post you see on any website or application.

Conclusion

As information and communication technology has become a fundamental part of today's life, it is nearly impossible to stay behind. Where the internet is extremely important and useful to us, that's also where it is extremely dangerous.

You cannot abandon social media and the internet but limit your usage time and prioritize your mental health. Keep a good sleep schedule, so anything related to bullying or harassment doesn't affect you in a bad way. Know that people are always here and ready to listen to you. Remember that you never walk alone.

I hope you found this article informative! Moreover, if you face any such problem, don't forget to contact the cyberbullying helplines in your local area.

Tags: 
Security
Author
Ozair Malik
A passionate Cyber Security researcher and writer with a keen interest in Digital Forensics. A community worker running a insta blog to raise cybersecurity awareness among laymen.

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