16% of kids have cyberbullied their peer(s), reports a recent Cyberbullying Research Center study. More often than not, these bullies are motivated by their own anger and frustration. Technology provides refuge and anonymity for such behavior, empowering kids to do and say things they would otherwise not do in person.
From our analysis of 500K social media posts, we found that the majority of aggressive online posts could be broken into the four main categories listed below in order from most frequent to least frequent:
- “you’re a f***ing rat close yo mouth and your legs no disrespect tho.”
- “yea you should hate yourself. as you f***ing should stupid hoe.”
2. Relationship Drama
- “funny af how you talk s**t about my best friend right in front of me making it seem like yall wanna talk to me… there’s no need for yall to be talking s**t behind her back. claiming that you ain’t fake and s**t.. bitch f***ing please. you f***ing snake.”
- “@—— you can go f**k yourself and leave @—— alone…you obviously are jealous. she’s much nicer and better than your lying fake a**.”
- “@—— stupid mother f***ing dumb a** b***h why don’t you just go have sex with some girls since you’re “famous”
3. Body Image/Looks
- “if you’re a whore or look like one and you end up showing your slutty-ness and it winds up on my timeline…i will call you a whore and then unfriend you. with no regrets”
- “she looks like a f***ing jew to me”
- “fools gonna get beat today. i tried to warn people about lying, they just don’t want to believe me. ha. don’t f**k around with me…”
We also found that certain characteristics differ geographically across the US: students on the East Coast seem to be far more aggressive and confrontational on social media. Namecalling/Harassment posts occur about 14% more on the East Coast than on the West Coast.
Although the reason for this is unclear, it may be due to the lack of a national cyberbullying law. No federal law directly addresses bullying; legislation was introduced in 2009, but no action has been taken since. However, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (2000) requires schools to 1) monitor their students’ online behavior and 2) outline a plan to educate students on proper online behavior. Thus, each state has created their own laws and preventative measures to discourage bullying and online harassment.
Cyberbullying Laws Across the Country
The majority of West Coast states include cyberbullying in their bullying laws, while many East Coast and Midwest states do not. Georgia, Kentucky, and Nebraska have proposed including cyberbullying measures in their current policies.
State bullying laws, updated January 2016
|Includes “cyberbullying”||Does not include “cyberbullying”|
For more information on cyberbullying laws across the country, the Cyberbullying Research Center released a brief review which compares bullying laws by state. A more comprehensive explanation of each state’s policy can be found on stopbullying.gov.