In the modern world, in connection with the development of information and communication technologies, there has been an increase in violent actions associated with particular cruelty over people. One of the forms of destructive and aggressive behavior among modern adolescents in the Internet is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, electronic harassment, online social brutality is a separate line of harassment, defined as deliberate, aggressive actions, systematically carried out for a certain time by a group or individual using electronic forms of interaction and directed against the victim, who cannot protect (Schwartz, 2017).

The study of interpersonal relations in adolescence, when the “image of the I” as an element of self-consciousness goes through an important stage of development, is particularly relevant. Since the “image of the I” is not fully formed, psychological violence leaves a significant imprint on the adolescent (Slonje, and Smith, 2008). 

Cause of Cyberbullying

This type of cyber-aggression includes a wide range of different forms of behavior: from playful comic comments to virtual psychological terror, which may result in suicide. The main factors contributing to the manifestation of aggression in social networks include anonymity and accessibility (Williams, Cheung, and Choi, 2000). Anonymity makes cyberbullying much easier for the aggressor since he or she does not see the real reaction of the victim (Giumetti et al., 2012). The common “distancing effect” helps, in which a commentator who is at a considerable distance from the victim becomes capable of much more cruel things than with direct communication (Tokunaga, 2010). As illustrated in Milgram’s work on the subject of authority, spatial distance from the victim facilitates cruelty.

According to a research, in 2014, 6.5% of adolescents underwent cyberbullying. The study conducted in 2017 found that 72% of students were victims of cyberbullying. Most studies determine the following percentage ratio of adolescents subjected to cyberbullying: from 6% to 30% (Schwartz, 2017). If the problem of cyberbullying will not be solved, the findings confirm the fact that victims of cyberbullying are being persecuted in real life under the high psychological pressure, causing an adverse effect to the emotional and mental health of the individual (Smith et al., 2008).

The result of cyberbullying is the deterioration of the emotional sphere of the victim and the destruction of the social relations.

Ways to Prevent Cyberbullying

Currently, there are two main ways to prevent cyberbullying. The first direction is related to the development of technical devices that restrict unwanted content (filters, censorship), which in particular implies the use of various alarm buttons (“complain”) on social networks and websites, as well as setting the privacy of personal accounts (Willard, 2006). The second direction of cyberbullying prevention envisages training Internet users in the basic rules of security and correct behavior concerning other users. These directions are to increase the awareness of users regarding permissible behaviors, maintaining, and understanding the need for respectful relationships between users, and stopping the spread of negative, unsafe, degrading statements and images (Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston, 2011).

Preventing cyberbullying helps stabilize an individual’s emotional state, while personal boundaries and skills for ensuring their sustainability are strengthened. In turn, this will increase information security, as well as improve the safety of individuals. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop effective prevention programs and ways to implement them.

Thus, cyberbullying is virtual psychological violence, accompanied by aggressive communication among adolescents, acting as a stressful situation for the participants of cyberaggression. Preventing cyberbullying helps stabilize an individual’s emotional state. There is an urgent need to develop effective prevention programs and ways to implement them.

Anton Kurapov

Anton Kurapov

PhD, a professor assistant at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Fascinated by the role of psychology in lives of people and simply astonished by the complexity of the brain and its functions.

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