Cyberbulling is a particularly destructive, intense form of bullying that can devastate a teen or tween who becomes a victim. Adults can be cyberbullied, too, but if we can gather anything from the deluge of suicides in the last few years due to recurring cyberbullying, it's that cyberbullied teens and tweens are the ones particularly crippled by the effects of online bullying.
Statistics back up this particularly grim picture of cyberbullying and how it's impacted by age. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found in a July study of 799 families that 20% of teens say that their peers are “mostly unkind” online. Another 11% said that “it depends.” On the other hand, adults ages 18 and older says that only 5% of their peers are “mostly unkind” online.
Older statistics from a 2007 Harris Poll support these findings. Bullying reaches its worst at that ages of 15 and 16, then begins to taper off again. Only 26% of 13-year-olds surveyed said they'd ever been bullied online. 54% of 15-year-olds and 52% of 16-year-olds said that they had been cyberbullied. But only 33% of 17-year-old respondents reported cyberbullying, suggesting that cyberbullying is worst in early high school and begins to taper off as kids grow up.
But along with these practical tips, help them to see the big picture: this won't last forever, and it gets better after high school.
If you are the parent of a cyberbullied child, help them learn how to block cyberbullies from communicating with them, teach them not to respond, and tell them that they can use various resources to combat the bullying.