Cyberbullying is typically referred to as communication or posting by one or more minors using cybertechnology or digital media designed to hurt, threaten, embarrass, annoy, blackmail, or otherwise target another minor.
Cyberbullying is willful and repeated bullying behavior that takes place using electronic technology. It can involve text, gaming devices, internet, social media, emails, blogs, cell phones, etc. Unlike traditional bullying it can happen anywhere at all hours of the day.
Approximately 34% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime.
Causes of Cyberbullying
Different from traditional bullying, there are certain effects that are amplified when cyberbullying takes place, which can also explain why cyberbullying has become more popular.
- Role of Publicity: Since cyberbullying is more public than traditional bullying, it is more embarrassing for the victim.
- Role of Anonymity: There is anonymity in bullying behind a screen name, computer screen, or cell phone. From a cyberbullied individual's perspective, anonymous cyberbullying increases feelings of loneliness, fear, and persistent worrying about the perpetrator's identity.
- Features of the Medium: Because the targets have no control over what is posted on sites, or what is said about them, they may feel hopeless and helpless because they are unable to remove the material. Plus, even when it gets removed, there are hundreds of people who have already seen it.
- Role of the Bystander: Since cybebullying is very public, there are several more bystanders than with traditional bullying. This increases the impact of the bullying because it's more embarrassing.
signs of cyberbullying
Like traditional bullying, there are several signs that may be present when someone is being cyberbullied. Symptoms may include:
- Abnormal changes in mood or behavior, such as new or worsened depression, or heightened anxiety or fear
- Avoidance of friends, activity, or school
- Sudden aversion to using a phone or computer
- Nervous or 'jumpy' when receiving a text
- Extreme sleeping behaviors
negative effects of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is associated with symptoms of social anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, somatic symptoms, and low self-confidence and esteem. These symptoms may be seem more with cyberbullying than traditional bullying because:
- It occurs in a child's home - When an online bully follows you home, it takes away your 'safe place'
- It is harsher - People say things online that they wouldn't dream of saying in person
- It can be far reaching - Cyberbullying is easier to send embarrassing information to a large number of people at once
- It can be anonymous - Online aggressors often hide behind their screen names so that they don't have to identify who they are.
- It may been inescapable - Sometimes, it's not as easy as logging off. When a cyber aggressor attacks from all angles, it can seem impossible to escape