The Nature of Cyber Bullying Behaviours

The Nature of Cyber Bullying Behaviours

Lucy R. Betts (Nottingham Trent University, UK)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch368


Digital technology has provided many benefits for young people. However, some of these benefits are offset against potential risk factors. For example, digital technology can be used as a mechanism to direct aggression towards another person and this may take the form of cyber bullying. This chapter will review some of the current debates surrounding which behaviours constitute cyber bullying. The chapter will also discuss the various forms of cyber bullying and some of the motives for engaging in such behaviours. Finally, the chapter will provide some recommendations for researchers undertaking studies in the area of cyber bullying.
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Interest in understanding victimisation experiences and bullying behaviours was initially prompted by Olweus’ work in the 1970s and subsequently by the wealth of research evidence that has reported longitudinal relationships between experiences of bullying and wellbeing and adjustment (e.g., Fergusson, Boden, & Horwood, 2014; Ttofi, Bowes, Farrington, & Lösel, 2014; Wolke, Copeland, Angold, & Costello, 2013). Together, these studies have suggested that negative consequences may occur for those individuals who engage in bullying behaviour and those who experience victimisation.

Cyber bullying involves individuals using technology as a medium to bully others (Smith, 2009) and has been defined as “the use of the Internet or other digital communication devices to insult or threaten someone” (Juvonen & Gross, 2008, p. 498). Following a recent review and meta-analysis of existing cyber bullying literature, cyber bullying was defined as: “(a) intentional aggressive behaviour that is (b) carried out repeatedly, (c) occurs between a perpetrator and victim who are unequal in power, and (d) occurs through electronic technologies” (Kowalski, Giumetti, Schroeder, & Lattanner, 2014, p. 37). Understanding young people experiences of cyber bullying is important because it has been regarded as an “emerging international public health concern” (Nixon, 2014, p154).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Victim: An individual who the acts of bullying are directed towards.

Psychosocial Adjustment: A reflection of an individual’s psychological wellbeing that is influenced by their experiences in the social arena.

Cyber Bullying: An act of bullying that can take many forms but involves the use of technology.

Indirect Bullying: Involves isolating the victim of bullying from their social world and often occurs without their knowledge.

Cyber Bully: An individual who uses technology to carry out acts of bullying.

Direct Bullying: Involves an act of bullying that the victims is aware of and can be observed.

Bullying: A series of aggressive acts directed towards an individual who is often weaker in some way than the person carrying out the act. The aggressive acts can take many forms.

Bash Boards: An online bulletin board or chat room where users can anonymously post messages.

Victimisation: The experience of receiving acts of bullying.

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