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.
Approximately 43% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime. SEE MORE CYBERBULLYING STATISTICS HERE.
Why Does Cyberbullying Happen?
Different from traditional bullying, there are certain effects that are amplified when cyberbullying effects a victim, 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 victim have no control over what is posted on sites, or what is said about them, the victim 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, and amplifies the impact on the victim because they were unable to tryst and count on others to help them.
Where Does Cyberbullying Occur?
Cyberbullying can occur everywhere! Unlike traditional bullying, the bully 'comes home' with your child, even after they have left school. Access to electronics provides many venues for cyberbullying anytime and anywhere.
Cyberbullying can occur through/on:
- Instant Messages
- Social Media
- Cell Phones
What are the Negative Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying victimization has been found to be 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, mainly because they cannot see your reaction
- It can be far reaching - When you bully online, it is easier to send embarrassing information to many people at once
- It can be anonymous - Cyberbullies often hide behind their screen names so that they don't have to identify who they are. By not knowing who is responsible for bullying messages, a victim's insecurity is heightened
- It may been inescapable - Sometimes, it's not as easy as logging off line. When cyberbullies attack from all angles, it can seem impossible to get away from
- It can lead to behavioral problems
How Do We Know Cyberbullying is Occuring?
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
What is Sexting?
Sexting is the sending, receiving, or posting or sexually-explicit or sexually-suggestive images or videos. The term typically describes incidents where teenagers take nude or partially nude pictures of themselves, and distribute those pictures to others, mainly via cell phone, but also through social networking sites, websites, video chats, and e-mail.
The above information was disseminated from published material by the National Crime Prevention Council, Sameer Hinduja & Justin Patchin of Cyberbullying Research Center (2010), and the Cyberbullying Research Center (2014).