How Common Is Cyberbullying Among Adults? Exploring Gender, Ethnic, and Age Differences in the Prevalence of Cyberbullying

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Meng-Jie Wang, Kumar Yogeeswaran, Nadia P. Andrews, Diala R. Hawi, and Chris G. Sibley. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Vol. 22, No. 11 (full PDF).

Previous research on cyberbullying has almost entirely focused on examining its prevalence among teens and young adults leaving it unclear how prevalent it is within the wider population.

The present study used a New Zealand (NZ) national sample (N = 20,849) to examine gender, age, and ethnic differences in the experiences of cyberbullying victimization. On average, nearly 14.9 percent of respondents stated that they have ever been a target of cyberbullying before, with 2.2 percent respondents reporting such experiences within the past month.

While young adults (18–25 years) experienced the highest levels of cyberbullying during both time frames (lifetime and past month), the prevalence of cyberbullying was lower among older age cohorts, with the lowest rate among the 66+ age group.

Reports of cyberbullying slightly varied among men and women, with women overall reporting slightly greater levels of having ever experienced cyberbullying than men; however, this significant difference did not carry into reports of cyberbullying over the past month.

On average, participants identifying as European reported lower levels of cyberbullying than Māori and Pacific Nations participants during both time frames, with Asian participants falling in the middle.

Taken together, these findings provide a nuanced understanding of the prevalence of cyberbullying in a large national sample of NZ adults.

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