Over 45% of Gen Zers are victims of cyberbullying
Bullying has been a part of us for ages. The youngest generation started using computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices to threaten or harass others. According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, over 45% of Gen Zers are victims of cyberbullying.
The data is based on the statistics from the Cyberbullying Research Center, which has been collecting data from middle and high school students since 2002. Their latest research surveyed 2,546 students from the United States ages 13 to 17 in April 2021. The research results were published on June 22, 2022.
In January 2014, 34.6% of teens experienced cyberbullying. Next year, in 2015, the percentage of cyberbullied students slightly decreased to 34%. For the third year in a row, in 2016, the lifetime cyberbullying victimization rate remained similar, decreasing minimally to 33.6%.
After 3 years, in 2019, another survey revealed that the percentage of teens experiencing cyberbullying increased to 36.5%. The latest statistics from 2021 showed a 25% increase in cyberbullying since 2019, reaching a 45.5% victimization rate. In addition, 23.2% admitted they had been cyberbullied in the last 30 days.
Despite the increase in cyberbullying victims, fewer Gen Zers admitted to cyberbullying others over the recent years. In 2019, 14.8% of students offended someone online, while 6.3% did so in the past 30 days. In the study from 2021, 14.4% revealed they had cyberbullied others during their lifetime, while 4.9% acknowledged doing so in the previous 30 days.
Online communication tools have become an essential part of youth, which means they can get cyberbullied anywhere and anytime. Other researches have found that experience with cyberbullying ties in with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, family problems, academic difficulties, and other issues.
Tips to protect yourself against cyberbullying
With the tremendous rise of smartphones and social media, cyberbullies now have an ever-increasing variety of ways to harass their victims. By adopting safe cybersecurity practices and avoiding sharing sensitive data, teenagers can have a more private and enjoyable experience online. Here are a few tips:
- Customize privacy settings.
Go through the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts. Most social media allows only your followers or friends to see your profile, photos, and other personal information you share online.
- Avoid sharing personal information.
One of the easiest ways to secure your internet safety is to maintain a low profile. Whether you use social media for work or pleasure, you should never reveal your phone number, location, or address on these networks.
- Do not interact.
Walking away from online conversations is much easier than in the real world. You can permanently block the person harassing you, turn off notifications, close the browser tab and leave. If the interaction is causing you too many negative emotions, just walk away and do not engage with the bully.
- Keep your data secure.
Some bullies might try to hijack your social media accounts and post insulting posts and comments. To avoid that, make sure to set up strong passwords for all of your accounts, and do not forget to log out of public computers.