Does Technology Make Bullying Easier?

The rise of new communication technologies has made it easier that ever for young people to stay in touch with friends, family members, and even total strangers from around the world.  But there is a dark side to being this connected as well.  Not only has cyberbullying become increasingly more common, especially for teenagers, but stories about anonymous harassment campaigns and the devastating impact they can have on victims highlights some of the dangers of this brave new world of ours.    

So how common is cyberbullying?   Though this kind of harassment can take different forms and the legal definition of cyberbullying often varies depending on where the victim is living, victim surveys of young people who report some form of online harassment typically range from 10 to 35 percent of young people.   Since online gossip and vicious harassment can be posted anonymously and in a way that allows these posts to be read by numerous other young people anywhere else in the world,   it is also much easier for other people to "join in" and become part of the bullying.   This can be seen with cases such as "Gamergate" and other cases of Internet "trolling."  Victims of this kind of bullying, especially females or members of sexual minority groups, often have few legal protections even when cyberbullies are easily identified.   The kinds of bullying online can range which can include spreading malicious gossip, posting incriminating images, or even cyberstalking.   Horror stories about  cyberbullying continue to be reported in the popular media and it is hardly uncommon for young people to commit suicide due to being unable to cope with the abuse.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post



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