Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through electronic methods. The child carrying out these attacks does so on the Internet, using a cell phone and via social media. This form of bullying involves harassment, humiliation, verbal attacks, threats and some form of targeting that makes the bullied child feel fear or emotional distress. Continuing to send electronic communications even when told to stop is also cyberbullying. Learn about Cyberbullying Effects. 

Cyberbullying Effects: How Cyberbullying Takes Place

This form of bullying develops when a student decides she is going to harass another student by using some form of electronic communication. She may use her cell phone to send harassing text messages. If she has an email account at home, she may send emails or instant messages to her target that humiliate or embarrass her. She may use her social media account (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram) to send sexually explicit photos that imply her target is sexually active. If sexually explicit messages are sent to a wide group of students, this has the possibility of long-term effects for the targeted student. Anything posted online lives forever. In addition, students involved in the bullying can forward the message and any attachments to students not involved in the bullying. This means that sexually explicit messages can come back to haunt the target for years into the future.

For this type of behaviour to be classified as cyberbullying, it has to cause the targeted child to feel fear, emotional distress or humiliation, according to Kean University.

Cyberbullying Effects: Students Who Bully Via Electronic Means

Approximately 11 percent of students between the ages of 10 and 17 have admitted to engaging in some form of electronic bullying, according to Education Partnerships. Young girls and teenage girls are more likely to act as perpetrators of this form of bullying. Ironically, the girls in this age group are also more likely to become victims.

While students of both genders take part in this type of bullying, boys are much more likely to participate in physical bullyings, such as fighting.

Both perpetrators and victims of electronic bullying come from similar ethnicities, parents educational backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds and races.

According to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, boys may be cyberbullies and victims. The same research says that girls are more likely to perpetrate and be victims, which is in agreement with Education Partnerships.

Cyberbullying Effects: Types of Electronic Bullying

Cyberbullying takes place through electronic channels. Researchers have identified several different types of electronic bullying, all of which cause the targeted student to feel singled out and harassed, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service.

º Masquerading. The perpetrator pretends to be someone else when she sends bullying messages

º Harassment. Perpetrators send several offensive messages, one after the other

º Cyberstalking. Sending intimidating messages, again one after the other

º Flaming. Sending messages (inappropriate, angry or rude) to an online group or in private

º Denigration. Sending electronic messages with false information about the targeted child. These messages can also be posted.

Students may have access to computer labs which are closely monitored by instructors. Therefore, students bent on harassing another student using electronic means are more likely to use computers at home or in the community (community library, for instance). They will also use personal devices and cell phones to send harassing messages to their targets.

When perpetrators send their bullying messages to their targets, they are careful to do so out of the view of parents and teachers, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. This makes it hard for the target, her parents, educational administrators and law enforcement to figure out just who is sending these messages. Unfortunately, this has the effect of allowing both perpetrators and targets to believe that the perpetrator is completely hidden. When the perpetrator believes she is anonymous, she believes there are no consequences or that she is protected from any consequences that may exist.

Cyberbullying Effects: Effects of Electronic Bullying

Electronic bullying can affect the targeted student because she knows that, even though she’s at home and away from her bullies, they still have the ability to get to her by using the Internet, social media or their cell phones. The student can’t get away from the abuse – she can’t relax. Over time, the stress can lead to physical and emotional symptoms. She may become depressed and/or exhibit symptoms of PTSD. If the bullying is persistent, the target may even commit suicide, according to Kean University.

Targets of electronic bullying may also experience lower self-esteem and increased insecurity. If they can’t get any relief from the onslaught of bullying, targeted students can develop chronic illnesses or eating disorders, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. In the end, cyberbullying ’s effects can have lasting effects on targeted students.