Defining and Conceptualizing Cyberbullying

Defining and Conceptualizing Cyberbullying

Karin Spenser (Nottingham Trent University, UK) and Lucy R. Betts (Nottingham Trent University, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch361

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Background

Although cyberbullying is undoubtedly a by-product of the union of adolescent aggression and electronic communication; it is it's propensity for growth which gives cause for concern for researchers and educational practitioners (Cassidy, Faucher, & Jackson, 2013). Further, empirical evidence reports that the impacts of cyberbullying include: distress (Li, 2010), loneliness (Sahin, 2012), depression (Tynes, Rose, & Williams, 2010), increased psychosomatic symptoms (Sourander et al., 2010), suicidal ideation (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010), and reduced academic performance (Smith et al., 2008).

Despite this attention, many questions remain unanswered with regard to the conceptual and theoretical similarities between face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying. It is widely accepted that definitions of face-to-face bullying include aspects of repetition, power imbalance, and intention (Olweus, 2013). There are three forms of face-to-face bullying: physical, verbal, and social (Rigby, 1997). Physical bullying is a ‘direct’ form of aggression that involves hitting, punching, kicking, or any other action that can inflict physical pain or harm. The power imbalance between the perpetrator and the target in physical bullying makes it difficult for the target to defend themselves and prevent the actions being repeated (Rigby, 2002).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Footprint: The record of activity that an individual leaves when using technology (often without their knowledge).

Fear of Missing Out: The belief that others are having ‘rewarding experiences’ that the individual is not aware of.

Perpetrator: The person who engages in an act of face-to-face bullying or cyberbullying.

Target: The person who an act of face-to-face bullying or cyberbullying is directed towards.

Cyberbullying: An aggressive act or behavior targeted towards an individual via digital technology.

Social Disinhibition: The reduction in awareness of social conventions and normative behaviors.

Face-to-Face Bullying: An aggressive act or behavior targeted towards an individual in the same physical environment.

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