Article written by Ari Howard of AllConnect.
Almost half of U.S. students report they were bullied in some way online during the pandemic lockdown.
Similar to how a playground or workplace bully will terrorize someone in person, a cyberbully will harass and threaten their targets through various forms over the internet.
As our world becomes increasingly digital, dangers like cyberbullying that plague the online world continue to increase as well. COVID-19 unfortunately exacerbated online bullying since millions of students were exclusively taking courses online and relying on the internet for most types of social interaction.
This increase in screen time throughout 2020 caused an immense spike in cyberbullying, with nearly 50% of students between the ages of 10 and 18 reporting that they were cyberbullied during the pandemic. In fact, the amount of reported bullying and hate speech on online chats increased by 70% in 2020.
Though it is now a post-COVID world, cyberbullying still remains a prevalent issue in adolescent society. As social media continues to dominate the digital space, cyberbullying is affecting younger age groups. 1 in 5 tweens (9-12 years old) have encountered cyberbullying in some form, mainly on social media apps like Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube and even some gaming apps. It continues to affect teens as well with 45.5% of teens claiming they have been cyberbullied in their lifetimes.
Cyberbullying may look different in each age group, but it is undeniable that the acceleration of online activity and social media use has led to increases in online bullying that affects self-esteem, physical health, mental health, education and many other facets of adolescents’ lives.