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Who’s Targeted?

How often does it happen? 2,3
Depending on the type of harassment, between 9-34% of young people say they have been targeted for cyberbullying in the past year (about 16% say they’ve been targeted monthly or more often):

  • 31% report being targeted by rude or mean comments
  • 13% report having rumors, true or false, spread about them
  • 14% report being targeted by threatening or aggressive comments
  • 9% report they’ve felt worried or threatened because someone was bothering or harassing them online
  • 4% report someone has used the Internet to threaten or embarrass them by posting or sending information for others to see

Who is targeted? 2,3,15

  • Boys and girls appear to be equally likely to be targets of harassment online.  There is some indication that girls may be more likely than boys to be targeted infrequently (once or twice), but just as likely to be targeted frequently (monthly or more often).
  • Older teens seem to be more likely to be involved than younger teens. In fact, a recent national survey of youth reports that the average age of a teenager involved in cyberbullying is 15 years old. 2
  • Youth who bully others online as well as those who are bullied offline are more likely to be targeted online.15
  • Some youth have related or unrelated social problems.

You should also know that teens who are targeted by harassment are more likely than teens who are not harassed to report harassing others online too. Often this can be retaliation. But, just because someone sends you a mean or harassing message doesn’t mean it’s not harassment if you do the same thing back.

Being upset by the experience:2,15

Most teens who are targeted are not upset by the experience. So, if you have been targeted but are not upset by it, that’s OK.

Data shows that youth who are bullied at school are more likely to be extremely upset by what happened than those who are bullied online.15

One-third of teens who have been targeted say they felt very upset or afraid because of what happened. So, if you have been targeted and are upset by it, that’s OK, too.

Teens who are upset by the experience are more likely to:

  • Report that the harasser was over 18 years old.
  • Be younger themselves (like 10-12 years old).
  • Report aggressive or “creepy” messages, like being asked to send a picture, or being telephoned by the harasser.

If you know someone who has been harassed like this, make sure that they’re okay.