Bullying is an unfortunate part of childhood everywhere. Around the world, 200 million kids experience aggressive treatment from peers. 

To gain a better understanding of this problem across the globe, Nickelodeon International research has put together some key facts about the issue.

“A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.” Dan Olweus, Ph.D. Creator, Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

In person and online, kids are more likely to be bullied by others than to confess to being bullies themselves.

  • 72% of kids have experienced in-person bullying by others and 42% have bullied others in person
  • Kids are most likely to have been bullied in person in Morocco (93%), Canada (84%), the UK (84%), Australia (84%), and the US (83%)
  • Bullying is less common online than in person: on the internet, 37% of kids have been bullied by others and 24% have bullied others
  • Kids are bullied the most online in China (70%), Singapore (58%), India (53%), Argentina (52%), and Russia (49%)

Boys are more likely than girls to say they bully others, but both sexes are bullied by others at similar rates.

  • 46% of boys bully others in person, compared with 38% of girls
  • 26% of boys bully online (vs. 22% of girls)
  • Girls are slightly more likely to have been bullied in person — 74%, vs. 70% for boys
  • Girls and boys are nearly equally likely to have been bullied online (36% of girls and 38% of boys)

Ramifications of Bullying

  • Psychological damage/Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Damage to reputation
  • Increased school absences
  • Drop-outs

Bullying is a major concern for kids around the world – it’s the #3 biggest worry they have (behind doing well in school and making parents happy).

  • They worry more about being bullied in person (52%) than online (35%)
  • Both sexes worry more about being bullied in person (54% girls, 50% boys) than online (38% girls, 32% boys)
  • In general, girls worry more about getting bullied than boys
  • Kids worry the most about in-person bullying in Turkey (78%), Russia (67%), Mexico (63%), and Spain (63%)
  • They worry the most about online bullying in Turkey (62%), Argentina (54%), Brazil (54%), Mexico (51%), and Spain (51%)

Rejection from friends is as painful to kids as physical harm.

  • 76% of kids agree that being rejected by friends hurts as much as breaking a leg

Most kids are aware of online bullying.

  • 84% know about online bullying, with the majority saying they know “some” or “a little”
  • Kids are less likely to be aware of online bullying than in-person bullying, however – 16% have never heard of online bullying and 7% have never heard of bullying in person

Close to half of schools have no formal policy or education about bullying.

  • 45% have no formal policy or education
  • 34% of schools provide education and 15% have a formal policy
  • However, 15% of bullying prevention programs are reported to have had negative effects

Bullying is difficult to define across countries because no universal term exists.

Due to contextual and cultural characteristics bullying takes on a different meaning in each country

  • Translations of terms used to describe bullying behavior include “mistreatment among peers,” “to insult,” “aggression,” “to be mean,” and “cruel teasing”

Defining Bullying: No universal term exists


“The Next Normal” is the first truly global portrait of the Millennial generation, exploring 9-30 year olds across 24 countries globally.

Carlos Garcia is Sr. Director of Research & Insights for Nickelodeon International. Follow Carlos at @CGarciaConnect