The Nature of Cyber Bullying Behaviours

The Nature of Cyber Bullying Behaviours

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7368-5.ch043
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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 behaviors constitute cyber bullying. The chapter will also discuss the various forms of cyber bullying and some of the motives for engaging in such behaviors. 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).

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