What Fuels Cyberbullying?
Cyber bullies are motivated by the same things that motivate their offline counterparts – bullying gives them power over the victim. Cyber bullying also carries fewer consequences and risks for the bullies. They can hide behind the anonymity of a screen name or online persona. They can carry out their attacks from the privacy of their own bedroom or cell phone. The risk of being caught is slight – and the havoc that can be caused is enormous.
Because size and physical strength aren’t a factor, girls are as likely to join in the cyberbullying as boys. Girls and boys also seem to be equally victimized by cyberbullies, except in cases where the harassment is specifically sexual. In that case, girls are twice as likely to be victims as boys.
Psychologists also believe that teens are more likely to join in and engage in cyberbullying than in real life. Because the bully doesn’t see or hear the effects of his taunts and threats, there is less empathy. Students witnessing an incident of real world bullying often report feeling uncomfortable about it, or sorry for the victim. Often, when the bullying takes place online, there’s less connection with the victim because it’s more impersonal.
What’s The Harm? At the same time, cyberbullying can be far MORE personal to the victim. The threats and taunts invade his personal space – his email box, his cell phone, his own bedroom or the kitchen table. Unlike schoolyard bullying, there is no ‘safety zone’ when you’re the victim of a cyberbully. It’s almost impossible for the victim of a cyberbully to control the situation by walking away from it. The effects of being virtually bullied are every bit as real as those of being made the laughingstock in a real world situation.
Crimes Against Children Research Center(US) – Online Victimization – A Report On The Nation’s Youth http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/Highlightsfactsheet.pdf