- The COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupted Both School Bullying and Cyberbullying
One-fifth of U.S. high school students report being bullied each year. We use internet search data for real-time tracking of bullying patterns as COVID-19 disrupted in-person schooling. We first show that, prepandemic, internet searches contain useful information about actual bullying behavior. We then show that searches for school bullying and cyberbullying dropped 30-35 percent as schools shifted to remote learning in spring 2020. The gradual return to in-person instruction starting in fall 2020 partially returns bullying searches to pre-pandemic levels. This rare positive effect may partly explain recent mixed evidence on the pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health and well-being.