What Is Cyberbullying?

What Is Cyberbullying?

Michelle F. Wright (Pennsylvania State University, USA & Masaryk University, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3479-3.ch027

Abstract

Children and adolescents spend a great deal of time using and interacting through electronic technologies, including cell phones, gaming consoles, and the internet. Cyberbullying occurs through electronic technologies, including gaming consoles, email, instant messaging, chatrooms, social media, and text messages via mobile phones. The attention given to cyberbullying incidences are due to the nature of electronic communications. Through electronic technologies, children and adolescents can remain anonymous, allowing them to harm their victims without experiencing repercussions. Cyberbullying can also involve multiple bystanders who are also capable of resharing content. The literature in this chapter draws on research from various disciplines, including communication, computer science, education, media studies, psychology, social work, and sociology. Furthermore, the literature involves a variety of different research designs, including cross-sectional and longitudinal methodologies as well as qualitative and quantitative designs.
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Introduction

Children and adolescents spend a great deal of time using and interacting through electronic technologies, including cell phones, gaming consoles, and the Internet (Madden, Lenhart, Duggan, Cortesi, & Gasser, 2013). They engage in and are exposed to different behaviors and content. Some of their involvement with electronic technologies includes many benefits, such as the ability to engage in quick communication with just about anyone, including friends and family, and having access to a multitude of rich information. Despite the many opportunities afforded by electronic technologies, many children and adolescents are exposed to risks, including identify theft, exposure to pedophiles, and viewing unwanted, gory, and/or graphic content. One risk associated with electronic technology usage among children and adolescents is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying occurs through electronic technologies, including gaming consoles, email, instant messaging, chatrooms, social media, and text messages via mobile phones. The attention given to cyberbullying incidences are due to the nature of electronic communications. Through electronic technologies, children and adolescents can remain anonymous, allowing them to harm their victims without experiencing repercussions. The rapid exchange of information and other content through electronic technologies is another concern. For example, a nasty image or video can spread within seconds through electronic technologies. Cyberbullying can also involve multiple bystanders who are also capable of resharing content. The literature in this chapter draws on research from various disciplines, including communication, computer science, education, media studies, psychology, social work, and sociology. Furthermore, the literature involves a variety of different research designs, including cross-sectional and longitudinal methodologies as well as qualitative and quantitative designs. The chapter is organized into the following six sections:

  • (1)

    The first section provides definitions of cyberbullying, the technologies used to target others, the features of anonymity as applied to cyberbullying, and the prevalence rates of children’s and adolescents’ involvement in cyberbullying.

  • (2)

    The second section describes the individual characteristics and risks associated with children’s and adolescents’ involvement in cyberbullying.

  • (3)

    The third section details the role of parents and families in children’s and adolescents’ cyberbullying perpetration and victimization.

  • (4)

    Similar to the third section, the fourth section explains the role of peers and school in children’s and adolescents’ cyberbullying involvement.

  • (5)

    The purpose of the fifth section is to review literature on the psychological, behavioral, and academic consequences associated with cyberbullying involvement among children and adolescents.

  • (6)

    The final section discusses future research and public policy recommendations related to drawing attention to cyberbullying as an important global health concern.

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