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Indicator 11: Bullying at School and Cyber-Bullying Anywhere
(Last Updated: July 2015)

The percentage of students who reported being bullied was lower in 2013 (22 percent) than in every prior survey year (28 percent each in 2005, 2009, and 2011 and 32 percent in 2007).

The School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey collects data on bullying42 and cyber-bullying43 by asking students ages 12–18 if they had been bullied at school44 and cyber-bullied anywhere during the school year. Students were also asked about the types and frequencies of bullying and cyber-bullying they had been subjected to, as well as whether an adult at school45 had been notified of the incidents. Cyber-bullying is distinct from bullying at school; however, bullying at school might be a pertinent context to understand cyber-bullying anywhere. In the SCS, survey items on cyber-bullying anywhere were asked separately from survey items on bullying at school. In a different survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), students in grades 9–12 were asked if they had been bullied on school property46 or electronically bullied during the previous 12 months. In addition to collecting data at the national level, the YRBS also collects data at the state level. Readers should take note of the differing data sources and terminology.

On the SCS in 2013, about 22 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year (figure 11.1 and table 11.1). Of students ages 12–18, about 14 percent reported that they were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 13 percent reported being the subject of rumors; and 6 percent reported that they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on. Of those students who reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on at school, about 21 percent reported injury as a result of the incident. Additionally, about 4 percent of all students reported being excluded from activities on purpose, 4 percent reported being threatened with harm, 2 percent reported that others tried to make them do things they did not want to do, and 2 percent reported that their property was destroyed by others on purpose.


Figure 11.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, by type of bullying and sex: 2013

Figure 11.1. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during
       the school year, by type of bullying and sex: 2013

NOTE: "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school. Bullying types do not sum to totals because students could have experienced more than one type of bullying. Students who reported experiencing more than one type of bullying at school were counted only once in the total for students bullied at school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2013.


In 2013, a higher percentage of females than of males ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year (24 vs. 19 percent). Also, higher percentages of females than of males reported that they were made fun of, called names, or insulted (15 vs. 13 percent); were the subject of rumors (17 vs. 10 percent); and were excluded from activities on purpose (5 vs. 4 percent). In contrast, a higher percentage of males (7 percent) than of females (5 percent) reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on.

A higher percentage of White students (24 percent) than of Hispanic students (19 percent) and Asian students (9 percent) reported being bullied at school in 2013. In addition, higher percentages of Black students (20 percent) and Hispanic students than of Asian students reported being bullied at school. A higher percentage of White students (16 percent) than of Hispanic students (12 percent), Black students (10 percent), and Asian students (7 percent) reported being made fun of, called names, or insulted. Similarly, 15 percent of White students reported that they had been the subject of rumors, compared with 11 percent of Hispanic students and 4 percent of Asian students.

Higher percentages of students in grades 6 through 11 than of students in grade 12 reported being bullied at school during the school year. In 2013, about 14 percent of 12th-graders reported being bullied at school, compared with 28 percent of 6th-graders, 26 percent of 7th-graders, 22 percent of 8th-graders, 23 percent of 9th-graders, 19 percent of 10th-graders, and 20 percent of 11th-graders. No measurable differences were observed in the percentage of students who reported being bullied at school by school characteristics such as urbanicity and control of school.

The SCS also asked students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school to indicate the location where they had been victimized. In 2013, of students who reported being bullied during the school year, about 46 percent of students reported that the bullying occurred in the hallway or stairwell at school, 34 percent reported being bullied inside the classroom, and 23 percent reported being bullied outside on school grounds (figure 11.2 and table 11.2). About 19 percent of students who were bullied reported that the bullying occurred in the cafeteria, 9 percent reported that it occurred in the bathroom or locker room, 8 percent reported that it occurred on the school bus, and 1 percent reported that it occurred somewhere else in school.


Figure 11.2. Among students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, percentage who reported being bullied in various locations: 2013

Figure 11.2. Among students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during the
       school year, percentage who reported being bullied in various locations: 2013

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
NOTE: "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school. Location totals may sum to more than 100 percent because students could have been bullied in more than one location.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2013.


In 2013, approximately 7 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being cyber-bullied anywhere during the school year (figure 11.3 and table 11.3). About 3 percent of students reported that another student had posted hurtful information about them on the Internet, and 3 percent reported being the subject of harassing text messages. Some 2 percent reported being the subject of harassing instant messages and 1 percent each reported having their private information purposely shared on the Internet, being the subject of harassing e-mails, being harassed while gaming, and being excluded online.


Figure 11.3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being cyber-bullied anywhere during the school year, by type of cyber-bullying and sex: 2013

Figure 11.3. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being cyber-bullied anywhere
       during the school year, by type of cyber-bullying and sex: 2013

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
NOTE: Students who reported experiencing more than one type of cyber-bullying were counted only once in the cyber-bullying total. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding and because students could have experienced more than one type of cyber-bullying. Students who reported being cyber-bullied are those who responded that another student had done one or more of the following: posted hurtful information about them on the Internet; purposely shared private information about them on the Internet; threatened or insulted them through instant messaging; threatened or insulted them through text messaging; threatened or insulted them through e-mail; threatened or insulted them while gaming; or excluded them online.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2013.


A higher percentage of female students than of male students ages 12–18 reported being victims of cyber-bullying in 2013. Nine percent of females compared with 5 percent of males were victims of cyber-bullying overall. In particular, a higher percentage of females than of males were victims of various types of cyber-bullying: Having hurtful information about them posted on the Internet by another student (5 vs. 1 percent), having their private information purposely shared on the Internet (1 percent vs. less than one-half of 1 percent), being the subject of harassing instant messages (3 vs. 1 percent), and being the subject of harassing text messages (5 vs. 2 percent). In contrast, 2 percent of male students reported being harassed while gaming, compared with less than one-half of 1 percent of female students.

The percentage of students who reported being cyber-bullied anywhere during the school year in 2013 was higher for White students (8 percent) than for Black students (5 percent). There were no measurable differences by grade level, urbanicity, or school sector in the prevalence of students reporting being a victim of cyber-bullying.

In 2013, about 33 percent of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year: 19 percent reported being bullied once or twice a month, 8 percent reported being bullied once or twice a week, and 6 percent reported being bullied almost every day (figure 11.4 and table 11.4). About 27 percent of students who reported being cyber-bullied anywhere indicated that they were cyber-bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year: 15 percent reported being cyber-bullied once or twice a month, 8 percent reported being cyber-bullied once or twice a week, and 4 percent reported being cyber-bullied almost every day. Among students who reported being cyber-bullied, a higher percentage of females than of males reported being cyber-bullied once or twice a month (19 vs. 9 percent).


Figure 11.4. Among students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school or cyber-bullied anywhere during the school year, percentage reporting various frequencies of bullying and the notification of an adult at school: 2013

Figure 11.4. Among students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school or cyber-bullied
       anywhere during the school year, percentage reporting various frequencies of bullying
       and the notification of an adult at school: 2013

1 Teacher or other adult at school notified.
2 Students who reported being cyber-bullied are those who responded that another student had done one or more of the following: posted hurtful information about them on the Internet; purposely shared private information about them on the Internet; threatened or insulted them through instant messaging; threatened or insulted them through text messaging; threatened or insulted them through e-mail; threatened or insulted them while gaming; or excluded them online.
NOTE: "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2013.


Students who reported being bullied or cyber-bullied were also asked whether they had notified an adult about the incident. In 2013, a higher percentage of students reported notifying an adult after being bullied at school than after being cyber-bullied anywhere (39 vs. 23 percent). While there was no measurable difference by sex in the percentage of students notifying an adult after being bullied at school, a higher percentage of females than of males reported notifying an adult after being cyber-bullied (32 vs. 11 percent). In addition, higher percentages of 6th- and 7th-graders than of 8th- through 12th-graders reported notifying an adult after being bullied at school, and higher percentages of 7th- and 8th-graders than of 9th-graders reported notifying an adult after being cyber-bullied. The percentage of students who reported notifying an adult after being bullied at school was higher for those who reported being bullied once or twice a week (55 percent) than for those who reported being bullied once or twice a year (37 percent) or once or twice a month (38 percent).

The percentages of students reporting being bullied at school varied over time from 2005 through 2013. Prior data are excluded from the time series due to a significant redesign of the bullying items in 2005. The percentage of students who reported being bullied was lower in 2013 (22 percent) than in every prior survey year (28 percent each in 2005, 2009, and 2011 and 32 percent in 2007; table 11.5). A similar pattern was observed for some of the student and school characteristics examined. For example, in 2013 about 24 percent of female students reported being bullied at school, compared with 29 percent each in 2005 and 2009, about 31 percent in 2011, and 33 percent in 2007. Similarly, about 24 percent of White students reported being bullied at school in 2013, compared with 29 percent in 2009, about 30 percent in 2005, about 31 percent in 2011, and 34 percent in 2007. By school characteristics, in 2013 about 22 percent of students from suburban schools reported being bullied at school, compared with 28 percent in 2009, about 29 percent each in 2005 and 2011, and 31 percent in 2007 (figure 11.5). Similarly, about 21 percent of public school students reported being bullied at school in 2013, compared with 28 percent in 2011, about 29 percent each in 2005 and 2009, and 32 percent in 2007.


Figure 11.5. Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, by selected school characteristics: Selected years, 2005 through 2013

Figure 11.5.Percentage of students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied at school during
       the school year, by selected school characteristics: Selected years, 2005 through
       2013

1 Refers to the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) status of the respondent's household as defined in 2000 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Categories include "central city of an MSA (Urban)," "in MSA but not in central city (Suburban)," and "not MSA (Rural)." These data by metropolitan status were based on the location of households and differ from those published in Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Results From the 2011 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which were based on the urban-centric measure of the location of the school that the child attended.
2 Sector of school as reported by the respondent. These data differ from those based on a matching of the respondent-reported school name to the Common Core of Data's Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey or the Private School Survey, as reported in Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Results From the 2011 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey.
NOTE: "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005 through 2013.


As mentioned in the introduction, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) collects both national and state-level data on bullying and electronic bullying for students in grades 9–12. In 2013, both national and state-level data on the percentages of students who reported being bullied on school property during the previous 12 months were available for 40 states (table 11.6). Among these states, the percentages of students who reported being bullied on school property ranged from 16 percent in Florida to 26 percent in Montana. There were also 40 states that had 2013 data available on the percentages of students who reported being electronically bullied during the previous 12 months. Among these states, the percentages of students who reported being electronically bullied ranged from 12 percent in Mississippi, Florida, and North Carolina to 21 percent in Maine.

This indicator repeats information from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014 report. For more information: Tables 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.4, 11.5, and 11.6, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/ss/ss6304.pdf), and DeVoe and Bauer (2011), (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012314).

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42 "Bullying" includes students who responded that another student had made fun of them, called them names, or insulted them; spread rumors about them; threatened them with harm; tried to make them do something they did not want to do; excluded them from activities on purpose; destroyed their property on purpose; or pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on them.
43 "Cyber-bullying" includes students who responded that another student had posted hurtful information about them on the Internet; purposely shared private information about them on the Internet; threatened or insulted them through instant messaging; threatened or insulted them through text messaging; threatened or insulted them through e-mail; threatened or insulted them while gaming; or excluded them online.
44 "At school" includes the school building, on school property, on a school bus, or going to and from school.
45 "Adult at school" refers to a teacher or other adult at school.
46 In the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), bullying was defined for respondents as "when one or more students tease, threaten, spread rumors about, hit, shove, or hurt another student over and over again." "On school property" was not defined for survey respondents.