The first section of this paper reviews the effects of cyberbullying victimization and surveyed American middle school students and examined the relationship The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a. Research into effects of cyber bullying, online relationships and social media to online harassment: asking students to name their close friends, . how communication channels shape interpersonal communication and the. Participating students completed a cyberbullying questionnaire and a social skills phone, or other technological platforms that enable interpersonal communication.  examined the effects of cyberbullying on adolescents aged 12 to
Of course, those who had left were not in a position to participate in the study, although second hand reports were provided by other students, faculty members and administrators. For example, one faculty member, who had also been serving as an administrator, had been involved in the case of a student who had been cyberbullied by individuals living in the same university residence: And this is how I got word of it because she said: Claudia, assistant professor and centre director, 2 years in current position, interview One faculty member described a group of colleagues and staff at her former university who would bully others and attack anyone who went against them, leading to her departure from that university, along with several others.
I loved my students, I loved the program, I enjoyed teaching the courses … I was absolutely committed to the students and to the program, so it was really hard to leave. Authorities included departmental administrators, senior university personnel, or authorities outside the university such as the police or website administrators. Participants noted the ways in which the response or lack thereof from authorities had the potential to make a huge difference, both in positive or negative terms.
While participants overwhelmingly focused on the lack of adequate or appropriate responses, those who did receive help were generally appreciative of the support regardless of whether the outcome was ideal. For instance, one student who received a prejudiced comment from a classmate on a class website wrote: I informed the professor, she dealt with it.
The student gave me an apology in class, and remained silent for the remainder of the term with regards to his prejudice comments.
Current perspectives: the impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health
Female 4th-year student, survey respondent S In other examples, a sessional instructor and a professor each were glad for the support they received: The student sent me a rude and derogatory email. I was shocked and upset as I work hard to have positive and open relationships with my students.
I informed my immediate supervisor and we booked a private meeting with the student. I immediately informed my Chair, the Union, and the Human Rights Officer, all of whom were very supportive, and all of whom met separately with the individual.
While it was a very unpleasant experience, I did feel like several people intervened on my behalf and the harassment stopped. For instance, one administrator, who had only been peripherally involved in a case where a faculty member had been receiving threatening emails from an unknown email address, commented: Jimmy, IT Services, administrator interview Respondents at all levels noted that if a concern was raised to an authority, it was important to feel supported: And having that confidence of an administrator supporting you, not necessarily acknowledging that you were right, but supporting you or working those things through is huge.
Janet, senior academic administrator, interview In addition to providing support to faculty members confronting such situations, a well-handled intervention also can have the effect of educating the student s involved. At one of the universities, two of the interviewees worked in the same department and had both been targeted by the same colleague over a prolonged period of time.
Both expressed a great deal of disappointment in the lack of support they received from their university, particularly because they were not the only targets in their department, and although some interventions were attempted with this individual, none were successful. We had about six sessions and apparently that made things worse in the long run.
Others also commented on the lack of response by their universities and how it left them feeling unsupported and alone to confront their problem. Participants also noted that the lack of response from the university allowed the same problem to reoccur. The professor felt unsupported by the administrator who was relatively inexperienced and changed the grade to prevent the situation from escalating.
Another female professor discussed the lack of response from administrators towards a senior colleague who had bullied her. This individual used his position of power to demand a grade change, storming into the office to confront her, shouting at her at a public event, and writing nasty things about her during her tenure case. Students also described feeling powerless when no one at the university would take action on their complaints of abuse: It made me angry, and I felt that because I am paying for this I deserve someone to be respectful … Another TA I had verbally and emotionally abused many classes.
Numerous students contacted the department in hopes that something would be done but nothing was. It was highly unprofessional and appropriate and very discouraging for such a good university. Female 4th-year student, survey respondent S Faculty also shared their frustrations with web site administrators who refused to take down false, defamatory, and abusive comments, leaving participants feeling powerless. As one faculty member noted: Again, this undermines my dignity, is defamatory, and humiliating.
This is a company in the US. I am not pursuing it further. Multiple examples were provided by participants of usually senior colleagues banding together to undermine their target in the eyes of colleagues or upper administration.
In one instance, a female professor became a departmental administrator and attempted to put an end to disrespectful behavior that had been occurring in her department, where junior faculty members were told not to speak at meetings and were generally bullied by senior members.
The bully group then turned on her and managed to have her relieved of her administrative duties, with the help of their friendship with the Dean, at which point one of the bullies sent a message stating: A faculty member at another university described the power mongering and manipulation as follows: Molly, faculty member, 10 years at university, interview Faculty members who had experienced or observed bullying or cyberbullying discussed the toxic work environment that is created when no action is taken to rectify the situation, and their problems are either ignored or swept under the rug.
Several participants talked about adopting a defensive posture, avoiding email conversations, meetings, or other collaborations, which might invite further abuse. Debbie, faculty member, 16 years at university, interview It is clear that individual departments and universities as a whole lose out from not addressing bullying and cyberbullying behaviors adequately.
Students become disillusioned, some leave; faculty members disengage, do not provide all that they have to offer, and some of them leave the university as well, all of which imposes a greater burden on administrators who are left to pick up the pieces once situations have become out of hand.
Conclusions The analysis of open-ended responses to select questions from the student and faculty surveys, the student focus group responses, and the faculty and administrator interviews revealed that the victims of cyberbullying at the four Canadian universities studied experienced a myriad of serious, negative impacts. Students reported being targeted primarily by other students, while faculty members, whether junior or senior, tenured or untenured, or in administrative roles, were targeted by both students and colleagues.
Current perspectives: the impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health
Interestingly, both students and faculty reported very similar impacts to being cyberbullied. Both groups highlighted their negative affect; for example, feeling sad, embarrassed, hurt, humiliated, wounded, marginalized, with some wanting revenge and to retaliate. Violence-related words were also used when describing their experiences and frustrations with trying to resolve their situations: Several respondents reported feeling unsafe, psychologically as well as physically.
Both students and faculty described mental and physical impacts such as depression, anxiety, stress, sleeplessness, stomach aches, weight loss, and even suicidal thoughts.
Their experiences being on the receiving end of cyberbullying affected their work lives and their personal lives. Students reported that it affected their grades and relationships inside and outside the university, including avoidance of certain individuals and places where the cyberbully frequented. Faculty members also reported trying to avoid colleagues who had cyberbullied them, with several saying that they wanted to quit their jobs, with some actually changing campuses to avoid the bully.
Most expressed frustration with the inadequate responses they received, with the issues they raised either being ignored, buried, or deflected with few solutions offered. Faculty members commented that if they did complain, that they risked being seen as the problem and that they felt this impacted their reputation as well as their ability to advance. They generally felt alone and isolated, whereas they saw the culprits thriving in a culture that was rife with power mongering, manipulation, and exploitation of well-connected relationships.
None of the administrators who were interviewed had experienced cyberbullying themselves or at least they did not report that they hadalthough some of the faculty respondents also occupied administrator roles and did report being targets of cyberbullying. A few of the administrators had been asked to address issues of cyberbullying that had come to their attention and they generally they felt that these situations were adequately resolved. They noted the importance of relevant policies that are accessible to students and staff, and for immediate supervisors such as chairs and deans to effectively address the problems when they first surface, so that the issues do not fester and become even more widespread.
The administrators did not seem to be aware of the extent of the cyberbullying problems on their campuses, nor of the more serious negative impacts that were being experienced by the victims.
This gap between what administrators know and what is being experienced in the life worlds of the students and faculty is akin to what has been found in public schools and reported in the K cyberbullying literature [ 11619 ]. The findings from this analysis point to the need for university personnel at all levels to better understand and more effectively address the negative online interactions that are occurring on their campuses among students, between students and faculty, and among faculty members.
Cyberbullying as affecting people of any age.
The impacts of cyberbullying seem to cross age differences as well as status and position differences. Currently too many students and faculty are suffering the impacts of cyberbullying in isolation, frustrated with their attempts to solve their situations, without any clear guidelines to follow, and within the context of a university culture which benignly seems to tolerate such actions.
Simon Fraser University provided funds for publishing in open access.
Appendix A Wording of open-ended survey questions Student survey: If you feel comfortable, please give an example of a time when you were cyber-bullied by another student s or faculty member, how it made you feel, what you tried to do to stop it, and what happened please do NOT disclose your identity or that of third parties, e. If you feel comfortable, please give an example of a time when you were cyber-bullied by a student or students, describing how it made you feel, what you tried to do to stop it, and what happened please do NOT disclose your identity or that of third parties, e.
If you feel comfortable, please give an example of a time when you were cyber-bullied by a university colleague, describing how it made you feel, what you tried to do to stop it, and what happened please do NOT disclose your identity or that of third parties, e. Author Contributions Wanda Cassidy is Principal Investigator of the study and Margaret Jackson is Co-Investigator; both conceptualized the study, designed the instruments, supervised the implementation of the study, and worked collaboratively with Chantal Faucher in analyzing the data and contributing to the paper.
Chantal Faucher is Collaborator on the study, led several of the interviews and focus groups, took the lead on the NVivo analysis and writing the first draft of the paper. Cassidy, Faucher and Jackson worked as a team on all aspects of this study. Conflicts of Interest The authors declare no conflict of interest.
The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, and in the decision to publish the results. A comprehensive review of current international research and its implications and application to policy and practice.
Evidence for the need to support adolescents dealing with harassment and cyber-harassment: Prevalence, progression, and impact. Cyberbullying amongst university students: An emergent cause for concern? Cyberbullying through the New Media: Findings from an International Network.
Psychology Press; London, UK: What we know to date about bullying and cyberbullying among university students.Bullying - Stop It
Bullying among University Students: The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of online communication, as well as practical implementations for teachers, parents, and adolescents.
Keywords Cyberbullying; Social skills; Adolescents; Bullies-victims; Bystanders Introduction In the last decade, new possibilities of online interaction have emerged as a result of the rapid development of modern communication technologies. Especially since smartphones conquered the market, an increasing number of people have mobile access to the Internet and may remain online around-the-clock [ 3 ]. However, these technological developments have also led to less positive aspects, especially among adolescents.
The more time adolescents spend utilizing communication technologies, the more likely they are to engage in increasingly aggressive behaviors, such as writing embarrassing rumors or comments about classmates on the Internet, sending a link to materials that are personally abusive, or deliberately excluding someone from an online group [ 4 ]. These kinds of behaviors are common on numerous digital platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp.
Cyberbullying, entailing a systematic abuse of power, can be related to poor social skills in the bully, the victim, and perhaps others, which can affect the aggression seen in the virtual social sphere. Cyberbullying The definition of cyberbullying is based on the definition of bullying formulated by Olweus [ 5 - 7 ] and has been accepted by others [ 8 - 13 ]. Cyberbullying is a severe and acute problem that is on the increase.
Adversity in University: Cyberbullying and Its Impacts on Students, Faculty and Administrators
Nevertheless, measuring the frequency of the act and repetition within cyberbullying is not straightforward: Hinduja and Patchin [ 15 ] noted that cyberbullying, which takes place in a virtual space, is a relatively new type of harassment that uses applications intended for the Internet, cellular phone, or other technological platforms that enable interpersonal communication.
They defined cyberbullying as purposefully causing harm to others in a repetitive manner, using electronic devices. Cyberbullying entails a systematic abuse of power, which takes place through the use of information and communication technology [ 14 ].
Compared to traditional bullying, cyberbullying does not cause direct physical harm and its consequences are less visible, particularly since nasty text messages or e-mails can be easily deleted. It can lead to serious offline consequences [ 16 ] such as suicide and clinical symptoms like depression or psychosomatic symptoms [ 17 ]. One instance of cyberbullying is enough to generate an immediate snowballing effect that can be unstoppable because it is controlled through technology [ 14 ].
One of the reasons for the unleashing of aggressive behaviors towards others, including bullying on the Internet, is the phenomenon of online disinhibition. This refers to a process in which Internet users lose or experience a lessening of their normal sense of inhibition, leading them to give free rein to their thoughts and emotions, which they then express with little or no fear of being judged or rejected by others [ 1819 ].
Due to the openness and immediacy of the aggression, the injury is primarily of a mental nature, leaving the victim with deep emotional scars [ 1 ]. Another factor that may contribute to cyberbullying is the absence of eye contact between bully and victim afforded by the nature of cyberspace [ 18 ] It has been demonstrated that cyberbullies experience less remorse, concern, and empathy for their victims than do bullies in the physical non-cyber sphere [ 20 ]. A study involving participants found that harassing others caused cyberbullies to feel amused and socially powerful and accepted, although many did feel remorse afterwards [ 21 ].
Thus, in most cases, the bully senses that the harassing act has a social impact and thus uses it within his or her particular social context. Another study, which examined cyberbullying among adolescents, found that bullies reported that their main reason for harassing the victim was their dislike for that person. Other reasons reported in that study revealed the existence of a prior negative interaction — whether on- or offline — between bully and victim [ 22 ].
It has been shown that the advantages of technology, its accessibility and its integration in everyday life, serve to increase the phenomenon of cyberbullying [ 23 ], since any personal communication, photo, or video clip can be made public by sharing it with groups of numerous participants on platforms similar to WhatsApp. Bully-victim-bystander It appears, thus, that cyberbullying exists alongside bullying in the physical world and that the two feed on each other: This paves the way to ongoing bullying, and thus, the next day, the fight that breaks out at school is directly related to the communication that took place in cyberspace.
Indeed, a relationship has been identified between textual cyberbullying and face-to-face FtF bullying [ 24 ]. In addition, the roles that adolescents take on themselves in cases of FtF violence can be the same as the roles they adopt in an online environment [ 25 ]. Furthermore, adolescents who bully others online tend to spend more time online and feel more comfortable expressing themselves in an authentic manner in cyberspace [ 24 ].
According to these researchers, the phenomenon of cyberbullying cannot be fully understood without addressing all of these groups and their combinations. In other words, despite the fact that adolescents are frequently exposed to cyberbullying, only a very few consider it a serious phenomenon. In addition, the study examined the effect of age and gender on the roles of cyberbully and victim.
A negative correlation was found between age and cyberbullying, such that the desire to engage in cyberbullying decreased as the age of the participants increased; hence, the older the age group, the fewer the number of victims of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, age, and gender The research literature is divided on the issue of the effect of gender on cyberbullying.
Similarly, targets of online harassment reported increased rates of trauma symptomology. Not surprisingly, Sourander et al 28 found that cybervictims feared for their safety. It is posited that cyberbullying is more stressful than traditional bullying, perhaps in part related to the anonymity of cyberbullying. Compared to traditional bullying, targets of cyberbullying are less likely to know their perpetrators.
Consistent with a myriad of other studies, the most common response to cyberbullying was anger, 6185152 followed by upset and worry.
For example, Ortega et al 53 found that different forms of cyberbullying may elicit different emotional reactions — for instance, being bullied online may evoke a different emotional reaction than being bullied via a cell phone. Specifically, targets of cyberbullying reported more loneliness from their parents and peers, 54 along with increased feelings of isolation and helplessness. For example, Hinduja and Patchin 59 surveyed American middle school students and examined the relationship between involvement in cyberbullying either as a victim or perpetrator and suicidality.
The results revealed that both targets and perpetrators of cyberbullying were more likely to think about suicide, as well as attempt suicide, when compared to their peers who were not involved with cyberbullying. This relationship between cyberbullying and suicidality was stronger for targets, as compared to perpetrators of cyberbullying. Specifically, targets of cyberbullying were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide 1.
Their study results showed that cyberbullying victimization was related to increased depressive affect and suicidal behavior. Similarly, using an even larger high school sample, Schneider et al 55 also found a positive relationship between cybervictimization and suicidal behavior. This relationship has recently been documented among college students as well.
These researchers posited that perhaps, given the public and permanent nature of the computer, along with the perceived lack of control and anonymity involved, targets of cyberbullying might experience a loss of hope, thereby magnifying the relationship between cyberbullying and suicidal ideation.
Those adolescents who were both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying experienced the greatest risk for suicidal ideation. That is, the more adolescents are involved in cyberbullying, the more likely they are to engage in suicidal behavior; this relationship was stronger for targets than for perpetrators of cyberbullying.