First National Findings on Cyberbullying & Tweens

Thursday, Mar 25, 2021
Hinduja Cartoon Network Article

Cartoon Network and Cyberbullying Research Center Release First-Ever National Research Findings on Cyberbullying Among Tweens

One in Five Tweens have Experienced Cyberbullying in Some Way
Research Informs New Anti-Bullying Resources for Parents and Tweens from Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network and the Cyberbullying Research Center released results of the first-ever nationally representative survey focused on instances of cyberbullying among tweens, ages 9-12. The study, launched as part of the Cartoon Network’s award-winning Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative, found that one in five (21%) tweens have experienced cyberbullying in some way: either by witnessing cyberbullying (15%), having been cyberbullied themselves (15%), or by cyberbullying others (3%).

“While there has been considerable research about cyberbullying among teens, there has been a huge gap in our understanding of these behaviors among tweens,” said Justin Patchin, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “This is a critical development stage, yet it has been vastly understudied when it comes to cyberbullying.”

The survey of 1,034 tweens was designed and written by the Cyberbullying Research Center, a leading expert on cyberbullying among kids, and was conducted from June 19 – July 6 by Ipsos, using their probability-based KnowledgePanel. The survey also found that during the coronavirus pandemic, 90% of all 9- to 12-year-olds are using social apps, such as connected games and video-sharing sites in which they interact with others online. Given its long-standing commitment to address bullying among kids and the amount of time tweens now spend online, Cartoon Network felt it needed to deepen its understanding of how cyberbullying impacts kids in this age group. 

In response to the research, Cartoon Network has created its first-ever, parent-targeted social content illuminating key findings from the study along with tips from the Cyberbullying Research Center for parents to help their children identify and stand up to cyberbullying. Additional support for parents from top professionals in the field, along with the full research report, are available on Cartoon Network's Stop Bullying: Speak Up website here.

“It was especially important for us to collaborate with the Cyberbullying Research Center on this critical research as tweens head back to their virtual classrooms, spending more time on digital platforms than ever before,” said Tricia Melton, Chief Marketing Officer of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics. “Cartoon Network will use these findings to help equip kids, tweens and parents with the tools they need to stand up to cyberbullying.”

“The hope is that our research helps parents, educators, and other youth-serving adults recognize the gravity and implications of cyberbullying among this population,” said  Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., professor at Florida Atlantic University and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “It is now critical that we prioritize efforts to help children navigate their increasingly complex connected world.”

Other survey findings include :

  • Cyberbullying impact: Of the 15% who have been cyberbullied, 94% said it had a negative impact on them, including on their feelings about themselves, their friendships and schoolwork. 
  • Strategies for stopping cyberbullying: 60% of the tweens who had been cyberbullied blocked the aggressor; more than half told a parent; 42.8% ignored the person; 29.8% reported the incident to the app; and 29.6% simply took a break from the device.
  • Helping behaviors: About two-thirds of tweens are willing to step in to defend, support or otherwise assist those who are bullied at school and online when they see it.
  • Barriers to helping when tweens witness cyberbullying: Almost 35% said they thought they’d make it worse; 34.4% said they don’t know what to do or say; 26.8% don’t know how to report it online; and 18.3% are afraid that other kids will make fun of them.

This research will serve as the anchor to Cartoon Network’s 2021 Stop Bullying: Speak Up campaign, which will include original PSAs throughout the year to reach over 100 million homes across the country and kid-centric resources developed in partnership with PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. As part of AT&T’s commitment to digital safety and wellbeing, AT&T contributed financial support for this research and will continue to add resources to to help parents manage their families online experience, stay informed of digital hazards and practice healthy digital habits. Cartoon Network will also collaborate with a collective of ed-tech startup leaders participating in the AT&T Aspire Accelerator to empower online positivity within their platforms and programs as they shape the future of education in this era of distance learning.

Survey Methodology: The survey was designed and analyzed by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, co-directors of the Cyberbullying Research Center. Vicky Rideout, a children’s media researcher, consulted on the project. The survey was offered in English and Spanish to a nationally representative sample of 1,034 9- to 12-year- olds from June 19 through July 6, 2020. The survey was fielded by Ipsos using their KnowledgePanel. KnowledgePanel members are randomly recruited through probability-based sampling, and panel members are randomly selected so that survey results can properly represent the U.S. population with a measurable level of accuracy. Prior to fielding, focus groups were held under the direction of R. Bradley Snyder, M.P.A., Ed. M., to test survey comprehension among the youngest respondents.

About Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network is a division of WarnerMedia and the #1 global animated series network, offering the best in original content for kids and families with such hits as "Ben 10," "Craig of the Creek," "Steven Universe," "The Amazing World of Gumball," "The Powerpuff Girls," and "We Bare Bears." Seen in 187 countries, over 450 million homes and in 33 languages, Cartoon Network inspires the next generation of creators and innovators by engaging its audience at the intersection of creativity and technology. Its award-winning pro- social initiatives, "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" and CN Buddy Network are acknowledged and often used resources for kids and adults looking for tools that can assist in dealing with the ongoing issue of bullying.

WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Now, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). 

About The Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC)

The Cyberbullying Research Center ( explores the ways young people use and misuse technology. It conducts primary research and translates results into resources that can be used to encourage safer and more enjoyable online experiences. The mission of the Center is to contribute evidence-based insight into the challenges children confront online every day. The Center’s work has empowered youth and adults around the world to get the most out of their online experiences, by minimizing potential harms and maximizing benefits.

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

Our society doesn’t work if it doesn’t work equally for all. We recognize that inequalities are pervasive and we have a role to play in helping to address them. That’s why we’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives, particularly amongst historically underserved populations. We have a long history of investing in projects that promote academic and economic achievement and addressing community needs that promote social justice and racial equality. With a financial commitment of $600 million through AT&T Aspire since 2008, AT&T has leveraged technology, relationships and social innovation to help give everyone – regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status – the opportunity to succeed.

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Cartoon Network Press Contacts  
Jean Yoo

Alexandra Packey

Cyberbullying Research Center Press Contacts
Dr. Justin Patchin
Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center

Gisele Galoustian 
Cyberbullying Research Center Media Representative
Media Relations Director, Research, Florida Atlantic University

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