In today’s digital age, students K-12 are facing an issue that extends outside the physical classroom: cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying, defined as the use of digital communication tools to harass, threaten, or intimidate others, has become an all too common occurrence in the lives of students K-12. And while cyberbullying is unfortunately not new to adolescents, it continues to rise year over year due to the steady growth of social media platforms and access to digital devices.
According to the CDC, reports of cyberbullying are highest in middle schools (33%) followed by high schools (30%), combined schools (20%), and primary schools (5%).1
The Mental Health Toll
The impact of cyberbullying on youth mental health is staggering. Victims often experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and isolation. This can lead to a decline in academic performance and, in the worst cases, even suicide.
Research shows that those who experienced cyberbullying were more than 4 times as likely to report thoughts of suicide and attempts compared to those who didn’t.2
Social Media’s Impact
Social media platforms have become breeding grounds for online harassment and contribute significantly to the surge of cyberbullying. The anonymity they offer enables bullies to easily target their victims without fear of facing consequences.
These platforms also make it extremely difficult to escape this type of harassment. Students are on their phones and devices constantly, which opens victims to the possibility of receiving hurtful messages and negative comments both during and outside of school hours.
With mental health challenges steadily on the rise for K-12 students, now is the time for districts to be proactive in helping protect students and their well-being.
Gaggle partners with school districts across the US to safeguard students from issues like cyberbullying, self-harm, and inappropriate content by identifying potentially harmful content and alerting schools of any concerns, enabling school staff to intervene promptly. Our goal is to provide students with the necessary support to navigate any challenges they may be facing.
1“Fast Fact: Preventing Bullying: Violence Prevention|Injury Center.” CDC, 28 September 2023, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/fastfact.html. Accessed 5 October 2023.
2Reynolds, Sharon. “Cyberbullying linked with suicidal thoughts and attempts in young adolescents.” National Institutes of Health (NIH), 12 July 2022, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/cyberbullying-linked-suicidal-thoughts-attempts-young-adolescents. Accessed 5 October 2023.