Face-To-Face Bullying More Common Than Cyberbullying Among Teenagers

Targeting the forms of bullying in adolescence.


Bullying, defined as an aggressive, intentional act or behavior, carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself. Despite the growth of social media, the internet, face-to-face bullying remains considerably more common than cyberbullying.

According to the study, less than 1% of 15-year-old in England report only being bullied online regularly. Almost one in four (27%) experience only face-to-face bullying methods.

With 9 out of 10 of the teenagers who facing online bullying also facing regular traditional bullying. The researchers suggest that cyberbullying is an additional tactic in the bullies’ arsenal. Both forms must be tackled together to prevent bullying and improve teenagers’ resilience.

In the study, experience of only cyberbullying was found to have a very small association with well-being and life satisfaction.

Lead author Dr Andrew Przybylski from Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute said, “Despite common perceptions and the growth of the online world for teenagers, our study finds that cyberbullying, on its own, is relatively rare, with face-to-face bullying remaining most common among teenagers. Cyberbullying is best understood as a new avenue to victimize those already being bullied in traditional ways, rather than a way to pick on new victims.”

To evaluate bullying and mental well-being over a two-month period in more than 110,000 15 year old across England, scientists conducted a questionnaires round.

The teenagers were asked to rate how often they faced certain types of bullying in the past two months. Two to three incidents were classified as the regular bullying. These included being called mean names, made fun of, or teased in a hurtful way; being left out of things on purpose, excluded from a group of friends, or completely ignored; being hit, kicked, pushed, shoved, or locked indoors; having lies or false rumors spread about them to make others dislike them.

Nearly a third (30%, 33363 teenagers) of all teenagers in the study reported experiencing some form of regular bullying – including one in three (36%) girls and one in four (24%) boys.

Based on the data, scientists found that almost 27% teenagers facing traditional bullying. Less than 1% facing cyberbullying and 3% facing both types on a regular basis.

After combining bullying incidents, scientists found that the most common forms were being called mean names or teased. Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying were least common.

Teenagers’ who faced both types of bullying were five times more likely to report the lowest levels of well-being. However, the people with poor mental health or low levels of well-being may also facing the same situation.

Co-author Professor Lucy Bowes said, “Bullying is a major public health problem, and our findings support the urgent need for interventions that target both forms of bullying in adolescence.”


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