AbstractThepurpose of this study is to explore some of the different variables thatinfluence people to become cyber bullies. The study seeks to answer theresearch question, Howdoes the lack of the physical intimidation effect people’s inclination to cyberbully? The goal is to analyze the demographics of cyber bullies and determine weatheror not there is a physical influence on this growing trend.The purpose is to see the possiblevariables that can affect who is or becomes a cyber bully. Seeking an answerto, How does an individual’s physical appearance impact them to cyber bully?Bully of different forms has beengoing on for a very long time.
Today with modern technology and social mediathe form of bullying has shifted. Bullying that used to be only restrained toone place now follows the person around everywhere on their phones andcomputers. It is simply unavoidable. According to Willard (2004) there areeight forms of cyberbullying, which include Flaming (online fights), Harassment(sending vulgar messages), Denigration (posting gossip), impersonation, outing(sharing peoples secrets), trickery (tricking someone into sharing secrets),exclusion, and cyberstalking.
Social media has turned into to abullying battle field, where you no longer have to be biggest and strongest towin. Medias such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Tumblr allow individualsto hide behind screens and even be anonymous when bullying people online, evenafter work hours. Due to this there has been a notice of increased suicides. This study is going to researchwhether or not there is a correlation between physical intimidation and theindividuals who become cyberbullies. As well as taking a look at the differentforms of cyberbullying and the coping techniques of those being bullied.This study is going to includeextensive research into the motivations to cyberbully as well as its influenceon the aggressors and victims and the relationships between the two. We willalso examine the different techniques cyberbullies employ as well as thetechniques that victims use in order to cope with the harassment. Prevelance of Cyberbullying Cyberbullyinghas become much too common in today’s society and the victims of this bullyingfeel that they don’t have the ability to escape from their attackers.
Faucher,Jackson, and Cassidy (2014) performed a study on 1925 students across fourCanadian universities that found 24.1 percent of students had been the victimsof cyberbullying over the last twelve months.Cyberbullyingis something that is has become a new social phenomenon in today’s society.
Itcan often times leave students unable to escape their bullies and leave themfeeling alone and helpless. Faucher, Jackson, and Cassidy(2014) performed astudy on 1925 students across four Canadian universities that found 24.1 percentof students had been the victims of cyberbullying over the last twelve months.These shocking numbers show that nearly one in every four people have been thevictims of this phenomenon. This statistic is interesting however because whencompared to studies that were done amongst younger age students you see thatthe numbers are drastically different. Wegge, Vandebosch, and Eggermont(2014)found that among 1,458 13-14 year old students that considerably less students reportedbeing cyberbullied.
This is very similar to what Vanderbosch and Van Cleemput(2009) found among 2052 students in the 12-18 ranges which concluded that 11.1percent of students had been victims of cyberbullying. This research concludesthat cyberbullying appears to be more prevelant in students as they get older.
Wegge et al. (2014) also noted that 30.8 percent had been victims oftraditional bullying. This raises the question as to why it seems tobe less prevalent among younger students. Is it possible that they simply don’thave as much access to the tools of cyberbullying that students at theuniversity level have, or they possibly aren’t as technologically advances astheir older peers? It continues to raise questions about the issue ofcyberbullying as well as what classifies the perpetrators as well as what are theirreasons for harming others. Thetypes of people who bully. An important factor when analyzing cyberbullyingis trying to understand the types of people who are the aggressors.
The firstthing that needs to be discussed when analyzing this is the simple matter ofgender when it comes to who is generally the aggressor. Slonje and Smith (2008)found that when it comes to cyberbullying males are more often than not theaggressors with males being reported as the cyberbully far more often thanfemales. Slonje et al (2008) also found that 36.2 percent of students wereunaware of the gender of their aggressors.
This is intriguing because for oneits is the same percentage as the number of males who bullied, but mostimportantly because it shows that over 1 in 3 students don’t actually know whois bullying them, which adds to the fear and stigma that is related tocyberbullying and not being able to escape the perpetrators. Thetypes of people who are victims. Researchers have also conducted variousstudies on the types of people who are cyberbullied, or what is often referredto as “cybervictomology”. Abeele and Cock (2013) conducted a study, whichconcluded that the gender of victims varied greatly depending on the form ofcyberbullying. Abeele et al. (2013) found that males are more likely to be onthe receiving end of direct cyberbullying while females are more likely to bethe victims of indirect cyberbullying such as online gossip among peers.
Thesefindings appear to remain true to social social norms where males are viewed asmore confrontational and females are often stereotyped as gossipers. While not many studies look at thegender of the victims many studies do research things such as thecharacteristics of the victims. Faucher et al.
(2014) found that there werenumerous reasons that people felt they were the victims of cyberbullying suchas their personal appearance, interpersonal problems, as well as simply havingdiscrepancies about their views. Davis, Randall, Ambrose, and Orand (2015) alsoconducted a study about victims and their demographics, which looked at thereasons people, were cyberbullied. Some of the results in the Davis et al.(2015) study addressed other reasons for being bullied in which they found that14 percent of victims had been bullied because of factors such as their sexualorientation. These are all very importantbecause it fits the profile of the traditional bully that many people envisionbut it shows that it transfers over into the cyber world as well. This leads onfurther questions about the relationship between the two and how thecyberbullying is influencing where and how the harassment is continuing. Therelationship between bully and victim.
The relationship between aggressorand victim is also something that has been heavily research amongprofessionals. Beran and Li (2007) conducted a study that involved 432 middleschool students and concluded that just under half of the studnets had beenvictims of cyberbullying as well as traditional bullying. This is true acrossmultiple studies. Wegge et al. (2014) also concluded that people who werebullied in traditional manners had a much higher likelihood to become victimsof cyberbullying.
Another interesting relationship between bully and victim isthat studies have also shown that people who are victims are likely to becomeaggressors in the online world. Beran et al. (2007) confirms this by stating,”students who are bullied through technology are likely to us technology tobully others”. Faucher et al. (2014) also found similar results claiming thatmale and female students decided to bully people online because they werebullied first.
Research has also been done thatlooks at how the bullies find their victims. Wegge et al. (2014) studied theperpetrators preferences in victims and found that 27 percent were in the samegrade, 14.2 percent were in different grades and a staggering 49.6 percent werenot schoolmates of the bullies. This evidence somewhat contradicts that of theother studies that state victims are generally bullied at school and at homebecause it shows that nearly half of the bullies prefer to bully people theydon’t go to school with and possibly have do not know at all. This continues tobuild and add to the idea of cyberbullying in that it allows bullies to createtheir own personas and images in order to try and intimidate and influenceothers without actually providing a physical intimidation factor.
Effects ofCyberbullyingThe first part of this literaturereview focused on the demographics of the bullies and their victims, but now wewill focus on the lasting effects and the trauma it brings to the victims aswell as the different forms of cyberbullying. While the platforms used aredifferent the lasting effects that the bullying has on the victims are verysimilar. Faucher et al. (2014) concluded that one of the main effects thatcyberbullies had on university students was that they were unable to accomplishsome of their school assignments. While many people think of effects ofbullying to be simply depression or low self esteem this study brought light toa much different more unexpected issues. Beran et al. (2007) also found similarresponses from victims of cyberbullying claiming that they often didn’t achievethe same marks in school and had lower concentration. These findings indicatethat the lasting impact that a cyberbully has on their victims is often moreharmful than what most people can see on the surface.
Pieschl, Porsch, Kahl, andKlockenbusch (2013) found that cybervictims generally were less distressedduring the second confrontation with a cyberbully. This interesting findingindicates that victims of cyberbullies may actually become desensitized to theaggression over time lessening the effects of the bullying. Victimscoping techniques. When being faced by a bully it is important that victimslearn to cope and move on from their experiences in order to prevent them fromsuffering in their personal and professional life like some of the victims inprevious studies.
Davis et al. (2014) conducted a study on victim coping techniqueswhere they broke the techniques into two distinct categories, which werebehavioral and cognitive strategies. Davis et al. (2014) found that 74 percentof participants preferred behavioral strategies and of those 74 percent, 69percent of those people found the strategies to be effective.
These behavioralstrategies included seeking social support, making a creative outlet, orignoring and blocking the bully. Because of the growing trend of cyberbullyingthere have been people who have developed different programs to help raiseawareness for cyberbullying as well as offer help to the victims. One of theseprograms is known as Cyberprogram 2.0. Garaigordobil and Martinez-Valderrey(2015) conducted a study testing the effectiveness of this program and foundthat it was effective in decreasing the amount of traditional as well ascyberbullying, but also and more importantly it raised empathy among classmatestowards the victims of these actions. This is a big step in combatting bullyingbecause peers are constantly influencing each other. If the general consensusamong the class is that bullying is not funny and not right because theyempathize with the victims than it can go a long way in changing the socialnorm.
If the attention is not longer given to the bully by classmates andvictims it could potentially cut back on the frequency of this act. With that being said it raises thequestion instead of trying to cope, why not just remove yourself from thesituation all together and not give the bully what they desire? Arntfield(2005) discussed the risk associated with using social media and concluded that”intrinsic rewards that were not tied directly to winning as much as they wereto fantasies of power, celebrity, sexuality, and elevated social status thatcame with participating, win or lose.”.
This conclusion is one that is veryaccurate and relevant to the way adolescence as well as university levelstudents think in today’s society. The fact of the matter is in order to fit inand be considered “cool” amongst your peers you need to be on social media tounderstand many of the things that are talked about amongst students. Whetherit be trending hashtags, viral videos, or popular memes these are all thingsthat are commonly shared and talked about between peers. While students may runthe risk of being bullied on these sites, they also run the risk of beingbullied for not knowing the newest updates in our culture, it is truly aviscous cycle. Formsof cyberbullying. Cyberbullying gives the bully a much larger spectrum tochoose from when it comes to how exactly they want to intimidate their victimswhich may be why it is often easier for them to carry out the act.
Of all thedifferent ways to cyberbully Faucher et al. (2014) found the most commonplatforms for cyberbullying to be social media, text messaging, and email whichwere used to bully students about half of the time followed up by blogs forumsand chat rooms which were 25 percent. This is no surprise that social media isthe most common platform for cyberbullying because it can allow for the bullyto remain completely anonymous to your average victim. This allows people whomay not fit the mold of your average bully to create a fake account and buildtheir own persona in order to bully others. Multiple studies also address acritical factor of using social media or the Internet to bully others, which isthat; the photos or hurtful comments, can remain in cyberspace virtuallyforever. Davis et al. (2014) mentions how they received viewed severalresponses that talked about “how their traditional bullying experience wouldhave been magnified if they had occurred in todays digital era”.
Faucher et al.(2014) also talk about how cyberbullying has a longer “shelf life” than youraverage bullying. This plays such a huge role because with the aggressivematerial on the internet it can often be revisited and the pain can constantlybe brought back to light for the victims making the experience that much moretraumatic. Social media is very prevelantamong cyberbullies but there is also extensive research done on cell phones andthe role they play in the act of cyberbullying. Abeele et al. (2013) studiedvarious aspects of mobile phone bullying and found that the most prevalent typewas gossiping via text message, followed by gossiping over the phone, andconcluded with threatening others over text message.
Abeele et al. (2013) alsofound that girls were more often than not the perpetrators of gossiping whileboys made slightly more threats via cell phone. This numbers tend lean towardsthe stereotype of females being more of gossipers and males generally beingmore aggressive and physical.
This is also interesting because shows that thatsociety’s stereotypes appear to remain true even in a cyberworld. RQ1: Howdoes the lack of the physical intimidation effect people’s inclination to cyberbully?