What is the extent of cyberbullying? The figures vary greatly according to the different studies, the countries covered, the age of the sample and the definitions, questions and methodology used by each of the studies.
The EU Kids Online 2011 report found that 6 % of 9 to 16-year-olds report having been bullied online across Europe.
In the UK, BeatBullying found that 28% of 11 to 16-year-olds have been cyberbullied and in Belgium, Childfocus launched vast awareness raising campaigns around cyberbullying after their figures showed that about 33% of children were exposed to cyberbullying.
It is impossible to determine and decide upon a definite number of cyberbullying victims, however, some points can be drawn:
Firstly, all studies agree that cyberbullying increases with age. This means that studies that restrict the age group to younger children would get lower results.
Secondly, in the studies with the highest cyberbullying figures, the definition of what constituted cyberbullying was broader, especially when it came to repeated cyberbullying acts or one-off acts.
Thirdly, the figures vary greatly according to factors such as:
Technological development and take up by children
Socio-economic status and educational achievement
In conclusion, although we cannot settle for a definite number of cyberbullying victims, even using the most conservative figures, that of the EU Kids Online study, 6% of children across the EU is a very high and significant number, especially when considering the consequences of cyberbullying or bullying. Unsurprisingly, the EU Kids Online report also underlines that cyberbullying is what bothers kids most.