The purpose of this study is to explore some of the different variables that influence people to become cyber bullies. The study seeks to answer the research question, How does the lack of the physical intimidation affect people’s inclination to cyber bully? The goal is to analyze the demographics of cyber bullies and determine whether or not there is a physical influence on this growing trend. Since the beginning of time people have always had to deal with bullies.
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Just like anything else, however, things tend to evolve with technology. With the evolution of social media and technology some adolescence as well as adults are simply unable to escape harassment from their peers in school and in the workplace.
This social phenomenon is what has come to be known as cyberbullying. According to Willard (2004) there are eight different forms of cyberbullying, which include Flaming (online fights), Harassment (sending vulgar messages), Denigration (posting gossip), impersonation, outing (sharing peoples secrets), trickery (tricking someone into sharing secrets), exclusion, and cyberstalking. The platforms for this to occur have become countless, from well-known social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, to smaller sites that allow you remain anonymous such as Yik Yak and ask.com. The days are gone of having to be the biggest meanest kid in the schoolyard to hurt others. Now it doesn’t matter your size, age, gender, or social standing if you want to bully someone. People can now create their own anonymous personas or simply continue to bully others online after they have left school or work.
There have been several instances in the news over the last few years of people who have taken their own lives due to the constant ridicule from their peers. Because of this researchers have started to take notice of this new social issue and have performed numerous studies analyzing different aspects of cyberbullying such as the types of people who bully, the prevalence of cyberbullying, and the effects on the victims, but one thing that hasn’t been studied is whether or not the lack of physical intimidation effects people likelihood to become cyberbullies. This study is going to include extensive research into the motivations to cyberbully as well as its influence on the aggressors and victims and the relationships between the two. We will also examine the different techniques cyberbullies employ as well as the techniques that victims use in order to cope with the harassment.
Review of Literature
Prevelance of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is something that is has become a new social phenomenon in today’s society. It can often times leave students unable to escape their bullies and leave them feeling alone and helpless. Faucher, Jackson, and Cassidy(2014) performed a study on 1925 students across four Canadian universities that found 24.1 percent of students had been the victims of cyberbullying over the last twelve months.