Cyberbullying Not As Prevalent As Real World Bullying, Study Finds

One of the biggest buzzwords of 2012 has been cyberbullying and while the practice might be grabbing a lot of attention a recent study has found that real world bullying is still far more prevalent.

Research presented at the American Psychological Association’s 120th Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla. revealed that cyberbullying is not in fact growing at the rapid rate once believed. In a statement regarding the practice psychologist Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen wrote:

“Claims by the media and researchers that cyberbullying has increased dramatically and is now the big school bullying problem are largely exaggerated…There is very little scientific support to show that cyberbullying has increased over the past five to six years, and this form of bullying is actually a less frequent phenomenon.”

To reach that verdict Olweus spent years conducting large-scale, international studies on the topic of bullying, including one study in which 450,000 U.S. students in grades three to 12 were asked to expose acts of cyberbullying and real world bullying. According to his findings 18% had been verbally bullied and 5% had been cyberbullied. The study also found that 10% admitted to bullying someone in the real world and 3% admitted to cyberbullying someone.


Other studies have also found a split of approximately 10% vs. 3% when comparing online attacks to verbal attacks in the real world.

The study did however find that students who were cyberbullied were also verbally bullied in the real world 80 to 90 percent of the time. Based on this final number it appears that cyberbullying in most cases is simply an extension of attacks occuring in the real world, thus few new cases of bullying start online.

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