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Cyberbullying and other digital dangers

Insights into young people’s negative experiences online from eSafety’s 2016 Digital Participation Survey.

Cyberbullying was the most commonly cited negative experience for teenagers, and for kids it was exposure to inappropriate content. For both kids and teenagers, social exclusion was the most frequently mentioned bullying behaviour. One in three teenagers had witnessed a cyberbullying incident.

Watch the video for more insights into the prevalence of specific cyberbullying behaviours, the adverse effects of negative online experiences, actions taken after the incident, and types of cyberbullying incidents witnessed as bystanders.


In the 12 months to June 2016 young people were:

  • cyberbullied: 8% of kids, 19% of teens
  • exposed to inappropriate content: 9% of kids, 17% of teens
  • contacted by strangers: 5% of kids, 9% of teens.

Kids and teens who were cyberbullied, were:

  • socially excluded: 50% of kids , 43% of teens
  • called names: 39% of kids, 39% of teens
  • received repeated unwanted online messages: 38% of teens 
  • had lies or rumours spread about them: 28% of kids, 36% of teens
  • received threats to their safety: 17% of kids, 19% of teens 
  • had someone impersonate them: 12% of kids, 9% of teens 
  • had their accounts accessed by someone without their consent: 9% of kids, 15% of teens 
  • had personal information posted without their consent: 6% of kids, 10% of teens 
  • had inappropriate private photos of them posted without their consent: 9% of teens

42% of kids and teens were adversely affected after experiencing a negative incident online. 

  • 58% felt angry, sad, scared or disempowered
  • 49% struggled with their self-esteem
  • 28% lost friendships or felt socially isolated.

41% of kids and teens took action after experiencing an incident online.

  • 66% told their parents
  • 39% told their friends
  • 23% blocked the person.

29% of teens and 12% of kids witnessed cyberbullying. Bystanders saw:

  • someone being teased or called names: 54% of kids, 60% of teens
  • lies or rumours about others: 40% of kids, 60% of teens
  • someone being socially excluded: 37% of kids, 46% of teens
  • threats being made to others: 25% of kids, 37% of teens
  • someone impersonating someone: 22% of kids
  • someone being sent repeated unwanted communications: 24% of teens.

Source: Survey commissioned by eSafety, June 2016. Respondents included 2,278 children aged 8 to 17 years in Australia with access to the internet.

Cyberbullying and other digital dangers

See also:

About the research (2016 survey): Digital participation

More recent findings (2017 survey): Young people and negative online experiences and Youth and digital dangers

Last updated: 11/11/2021