Cyberbullying and Social Media
The electronic posting of negative or mean-spirited messages about a person, often done anonymously.
\ˈsī-bər-ˌbu̇-lē, -ˌbə-\ noun or verb— Merriam Webster Dictionary
What Is Cyberbullying?
Bullying is aggressive behavior that seeks to control or harm others: Cyberbullying is just bullying that happens electronically.
- 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 happens more than once or has the potential to happen again in order to be considered bullying.
- Cyberbullying also involves an imbalance of power and repetition (or the potential for repetition) via any form of electronic communication, such as texting or online, on websites, social networks, via e-mail, etc.
Who Is Affected by Cyberbullying?
With the advancement of technology and the rise of social media, today’s youth are bringing their bullies home with them. Home, which 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, but 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 1.74 billion 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 young children 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 Teen's Social Media Usage
- 94% of young people who have access to mobile internet use social media on a daily basis.
- 71% of young people report having 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 of Cyberbullying?
Effects on the Bullied
Effects on the Bullies
-Emotional issues (i.e anxiety, depression)
-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 from the data is the strong negative correlation between cyber aggression and social competence. Researchers in one 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:
- Dissing (Insulting)
- 'Trolling': Intentionally provoking a negative response
- 'Catfishing': Using fake profiles to deceive others
How Can Cyberbullying Be Stopped or Avoided
- Keep your profiles set to private; monitor and update privacy settings regularly
- Don't "friend" or follow anyone who isn't a friend
- Don't accept requests or messages from users you don't know
- Never share and protect your password and prevent others from gaining access to your profiles and private photos
- Educate yourself and others on the negative impact of cyberbullying
- If you see it, report it
For more tips on prevention visit: Preventing Cyberbullying