Cyberbullying: Economic Impact

By Kelly McCool, Trending Writer

Duke University and the University of Warwick conducted a study that followed 1,420 people and discovered that there is a correlation between bullying and economic issues.  Those who have been bullied as children are 12 percent more likely to be in poverty as adults than those never affected by bullying. Individuals lose the drive to push themselves to do better and perform jobs to their greatest potential.  Because of this, 13 percent will end up being fired and having financial problems. Companies lose money for this, since it costs nearly $3,500 to replace one employee making $8/hour (with training, recruiting, and hiring).

The study also found a relationship between bullying and health difficulties. When someone is bullied, it usually leaves an emotional scar—resulting in depression. Typically, antidepressants cost $170/year without insurance.  That can put a damper on one’s wallet. When a person is upset about something, their food intake often changes. Sometimes, the sadness could cause them to eat less food, which leads to anorexia; other times, they binge, causing obesity.  Treatments for obesity can cost $1,723/year.

Middle school years are normally the toughest to go through because of changes that occur. There’s a huge desire to fit in with the “in-crowd”, which causes bullies to harass those who stand out even harder. One study interviewed 1,000 students (ages 9-16) and discovered important things about bullying. 8 percent of the students admitted to skipping school so that they could avoid being bullied. 25 percent of the students said that they have skipped classes or faked being sick. When students are absent, schools lose Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding. For most schools, there is a 6 percent truancy rate and 1,000 students. This means that 60 students are absent at least 9 times/year. Schools are losing 540 days of funding each year; when multiplied by $40 (the average amount given), there is a total loss of $21,600/year.

It is important to notice that bullying occurs regularly in the workforce as well as in schools. Experts have decided that the amount of people bullied at work ranges from 25 to 50 percent.  Mostly, the harassment seems to be based on sexual orientation and ethnic background. Because of the hurtful comments made by co-workers, there is an estimated 30 percent of employees quitting their jobs each year. 20 percent of bystanders leave, as well. People do not feel comfortable being in such situations on a daily basis. Those, who do not quit after being bullied, are often filled with stress and anxiety. They are constantly reminded that they may have to face the problem again.  If the average employee makes $50,000/year, companies would lose $75,000 worth of productivity if one person were to quit.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 3rd print edition.

Contact Kelly at


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