Written by Makeela Wells
Imagine a kid who wants to fit in. He knows that he is not liked by most of his classmates, but he believes that allowing them to continue to make fun of him will eventually cause them to grow to like him. He does not realize that they will never stop. As the behavior persists, he begins to feel isolated and depressed. This situation is reality for far too many students today. Bullying is often neglected or overlooked within schools. The purpose of this blog is to educate individuals on the differences between traditional bullying and cyberbullying by defining each type and exploring the similarities between the two. It will also detail the consequences of bullying. Lastly, this blog will provide websites for readers to learn more about cyberbullying.
What is Traditional Bullying?
What is Cyberbullying?
Due to technological advances, cyberbullying has increased. Cyberbullying refers to the use of technology to intimidate, harass, or threaten another individual (Riedel & Welsh, 2016). Electronic outlets that have been used to commit cyberbullying include instant messages, e-mails, and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. During the 2012-2013 school year, approximately 7% of students reported experiencing cyberbullying (U.S. Department of Education, 2015). Cyberbullying allows the perpetrator to send messages or information about the victim without providing any knowledge of the identity of the perpetrator. It provides perpetrators with a great deal of protection, which can make identification difficult. Often, victims have no idea who the perpetrator is. Victims of cyberbullying are less likely to report incidents than those experiencing traditional bullying (Riedel & Welsh, 2016; U.S. Department of Education, 2015). Certain scholars and researchers have argued that cyberbullying may be worse than traditional bullying due to the added anonymity of posting information electronically. As of January 2016, only 23 states had included cyberbullying in their state’s bullying statute (Hinduja & Patchin, 2016; Sticca & Perren, 2013).
Consequences of Bullying
Bullying has many consequences for the victim. Victims of bullying tend to have lower grades and poor academic performance (Riedel & Welsh, 2016). They are also more likely to miss more days of school than children who have not experienced bullying (Riedel & Welsh, 2016). Bullying victims also suffer from weak family relationships and a number of psychosocial problems (Riedel & Welsh, 2016; Sticca & Perren, 2013). Bullying victims tend to suffer from low self-esteem and depression, and, in extreme cases, may attempt to commit suicide (Riedel & Welsh, 2016; Sticca & Perren, 2013). This is not an exhaustive list of the consequences of bullying; therefore, it is important for parents, teachers, school administrators, and practitioners to have resources at their disposal in order to handle and combat bullying.
Additional references: Learn more about State Cyberbullying Laws and Bullying Quiz.
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J.W. (2016). State cyberbullying law: A brief review of state cyberbullying laws and policies. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from http://cyberbullying.org/Bullying-and-Cyberbullying-Laws.pdf.
Riedel, M. & Welsh, W. (2016). Criminal Violence: Patterns, Explanations, and Interventions (4th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford.
Sticca, F., & Perren, S. (2013). Is cyberbullying worse than traditional bullying? Examining the differential roles of medium, publicity, and anonymity for the perceived severity of bullying. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 42, 739-750.
U.S. Department of Education. (2015). Student reports of bullying and cyberbullying: Results from the 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2015/2015056.pdf.
Dr. H. Colleen Sinclair
Social Psychologist, Relationships Researcher,
Ms. Chelsea Ellithorpe
Lab Manager of the Social Relations Collaborative and Blog Editor