The most common form of cyberbullying involves minors bullying other minors (although adult involvement in cyberbullying is growing more common, as we’ll talk about a little later). Any form of digital communication can be used for cyberbullying.
Students can experience bullying wherever they have access to their phones or a computer: at home, at a friend’s house, during school, and even on the bus or at the mall. A 2006 study found that 45% of preteens and 30% of teens are cyberbullied while at school.9
In a survey of 7th and 8th graders, nearly 80% indicated that they “would post mean or threatening statements about another student” on a social networking site.10 I’d like to think that our children live in a more elevated state of love for their fellow teens, but even when they’re taught well in your home, you should understand the sort of peer pressure that teens face at school.
Given nearly universal access by teens to social networking sites, it’s not surprising that Facebook looms large in cyberbulling statistics. Of cyberbullied teens, 64% report being harassed on Facebook. The second greatest point of access is through cell phones, since more than 80% of teenagers have regular access to a cell phone. Of cyberbullied teens, more than 25% report being bullied through text messages, 29% through Twitter, and 21% through mean or threatening emails or other forms of direct messaging.11
Wherever you see the greatest gathering of teenagers, you’ll find the largest concentration of cyberbullying. As technologies shift, teen online behaviors shift with it, and the trend for cyberbullying to follow crowds of teens is always true. Since teens adopt new technologies with exactly the same speed that their parents don’t, the lag between shifts in teen online habits and the emergence of cyberbullying in those media is basically nil.