Cyberbullying and Social Media

Updated on January 7, 2018


The electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (such as a student) often done anonymously

\ˈsī-bər-ˌbu̇-lē, -ˌbə-\ noun or verb

— Merriam Webster Dictionary

What is Cyberbullying?

Bullying, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, is aggressive behavior that seeks to control or harm others.

  • In order for harassment to be considered bullying there must be an apparent imbalance of power between the victim and the perpetrator or perpetrators and occur over an extended period of time.
  • Bullying is characterized by the repetition of the abusive behavior- the harassment has to have happened more than once or have the potential to happen again in order to be considered bullying.
  • Cyberbullying follows these same general rules but refers to incidents of bullying that occur through forms of electronic communication such as websites for social networking, e-mail, etc.

Who is affected?

Just How Far-Reaching is This Issue?


With the advancement of technology and the rise of social media, today’s youth are bringing their bullies home with them. What used to be a safe haven has become a whole new battleground where bullies are guaranteed anonymity and direct access to their victims on a consistent basis. Almost 60% of children aged 10-17 have reported being bullied or harassed over the Internet and via social media outlets, and 90% of these victims will never report the incidents.

Where Does Cyberbullying Take Place?


Cyberbullying takes place across virtually every social media platform. Facebook, with its 1,000,000,000+ active users, is unsurprisingly the most common social media network used by bullies. The age requirement for the site is 13, yet a staggering 5,000,000+ accounts are owned by users under the age of 10. The age restriction is rarely enforced. Many argue that children so young are not socially or emotionally mature enough to appreciate the consequences of what they post online or send to others via private messenger.


Statistics on Social Media Useage

  • 94% of young people who have access to mobile internet use it on a daily basis
  • 71% of young people report to have multiple social media accounts
  • A survey conducted in 2012 found that nearly all of the participants shared personal information on their profiles- including birthdate, name, occupation, school, etc.


What Are The Effects?

According to WebMD

The Bullied
The Bullies
-Emotional issues (i.e anxiety, depression)
-Emotional issues
-Concentration issues
-Concentration issues
-Behavioral issues
-Behavioral issues
-Trouble getting along with peers
-More likely to be hyperactice
-Some experienced physical symptoms such as frequent headaches and stomach pain
-More likely to abuse drugs/alcohol

Cyber Aggression & Social Competence

One major point to be drawn is the strong negative correlation between cyber aggression and social competence. Reasearchers in a particular study summarized their results by reporting “there is a clear-cut relation between being aggressive through electronic media and experiencing problems at (at least) four different levels of social functioning.” This study makes the argument that cyber aggression is dangerous for not only the victim but also the aggressor.

Schoffstall, C. (2011). Cyber Aggression: The Relation between Online Offenders and Offline Social Competence. Social Development, 20(3), 587-604

What Is Considered Cyberbullying?

Behaviors that are considered to be cyberbullying include, but are not limited to:

  • Exclusion
  • Harassment
  • Outing
  • Cyberstalking
  • Impersonation
  • Dissing
  • 'Trolling': Intentionally provoking a negative response
  • 'Catfishing': Using fake profiles to deceive others


How Can We Help

Protecting Ourselves and Others

  • Keep your profiles set to private; monitor and update privacy settings regularly
  • Don't accept requests or messages from users you don't know
  • Protect your password- prevent others from gaining access to your profiles and private photos
  • Educate yourself and others on the negative impact of cyberbulling
  • If you see it, report it.

For more tips on prevention visit:


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