Cyberbullying

Cyber-bullies seek to damage their victim’s earnings, employment, reputation, or safety.

Studies are consistently identifying a relationship between cyber-bullying and psychological stress. The Metro West Adolescent Health Survey is a biennial census survey of high school students in the western suburbs and small cities of the Boston metropolitan area. 

The survey grouped people into one of four groups, either you are…

1. Someone who is cyber bullied and bullied in school

2. Someone who is only cyber bullied

3. Someone who is only bullied in school

4. Not bullied at all

The results demonstrated bullying victimization was consistently associated with an increased likelihood of psychological distress across all measures from depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation to reports of self-injury and suicide attempts.  

Reports of depressive symptoms were highest among…

victims of both cyber and school bullying (47.0%)

followed by cyber-only victims (33.9%)

and school-only victims (26.6%)

compared with (13.6%) of non-victims

Similarly, attempted suicide was highest among victims of both cyber and school bullying (15.2%)

however, it was also elevated among cyber-only victims (9.4%)

and school-only victims (4.2%)

compared with students reporting neither form of victimization (2.0%).

Cyber-bullying victimization has shown a number of serious consequences.  Consequences vary from decreased self-esteem, retaliating, and a variety of emotional responses like, being scared, frustrated, angry, or depressed.  Research has also demonstrated that cyber-bullying increases suicidal ideation.  

In comparison to traditional bullying, cyber-bullying has many factors that make harassment less troublesome for the bully. 

  1. Being behind a computer or cell phone makes a person virtually invisible, or even anonymous.  The opportunity to be unidentified or even create a false identity is very easy, which can give that person a false sense of comfortability that they may not have if their identity was known.  
  2. Cyber-bullies cannot receive visual feedback of the pain they are inflicting, which results in a lack of empathy for the victim.
  3. Those who create a false identity to cyber-bully may be less likely to feel personally responsible for the bullying since the identity they have created is not their own. 
  4. Those who feel more comfortable communicating online than in person tend to see cyber-bullying as a viable option, especially those who have been victims of face-to-face bullying.  These people use technology and cyber-bullying as a medium for revenge.
Cyber-bullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens.
A 2011 graph showed the most common places for young people to experience electronic aggression is in instant messaging, followed by chat rooms, email, web sites, and text messages. 

A 2011 graph showed the most common places for young people to experience electronic aggression is in instant messaging, followed by chat rooms, email, web sites, and text messages. 

Cyber-bullying is the use of the Internet or other related technologies to harm other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.  In the past decade it has become more common in society, particularly among young people; legislation and awareness have arisen to combat it.  The effects of cyber-bullying can be traumatizing and sometimes even fatal.