Is Cyberbullying Worse than Traditional Bullying? Examining the Differential Roles of Medium, Public
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"However, this difference comes along with some specific aspects of cyberbullying that derive from the use of electronic media: an increased potential to reach a large audience (publicitiy), an increased potential for anonymity of the bully (anonymity), a decreased level of direct feedback between the bully and the victim, decreased time and space limits (Slonje and Smith 2008), and lower levels of supervision (Patchin adn Hinduja 2006).
The differences between cyberbullying and traditional bullying are numerous, but the most alarming are anonymity and publicity. The fact that people can hide their identities and share things instantaneously change the entire game because people can be bullied by their closest friends and not even know it because that person that's doing the bullying can hide their identity.
"Anonymity increases the level of experienced fear, since potentially anyone could be the bully, including friends or other trusted people (Badiuk 2006; Mishna et al. 2009). Further, anonymity also increases the level of frustration, insecurity, fear, and powerlessness (Dooley et al. 2009; Nocentini et al. 2010; Slonje and Smith 2008; Smith et al. 2008; Vandebosch and Van Cleemput 2008). There is evidence that being bullied by someone you know and trust may be even more severe than by someone you do not know (Nocentini et al. 2010).
Anonymity changes up the entire playing field for bullies. The fact that it can be anyone behind the screen, or even lie about their identity and say that they are someone that the person is close to, could devastate the victim even more. Anonymity is also scary.
"More important than the medium itself and that public bullying is perceived as worse than private bullying. Our results extend the present literature and show that the differential role of publicity is more important than the role of medium, which is also in line with our hypothesis."
Publicity doesn't only mean that the cyberbullying is instantaneous, but it opens the doors for other people to give their input, see what the initial bully has to say, and makes the victim vulnerable to more than just the bully. What happens on the internet stays there for life.
"Taken together, our findings show that, when it comes to choosing what is more severe, adolescents rate the publicity and the anonymity as central and the medium as peripheral aspects. Therefore, cyberbullying is not a priori-perceived as worse than traditional bullying. Instead, bullying is perceived as worst if it is public (as opposed to private) and if it is anonymous (as opposed to not anonymous). This is especially marked in the case of cyberbullying, since in cyberbullying the potential for reaching large audiences and anonymous bullying is much higher.
Since cyberbullying is most definitely public and most times anonymous, it is prevalent that the victims of cyberbullying feel worse than those who are traditionally bullied because the perpetrator is most likely anonymous and is spreading the hate to more people than a traditional bully would.
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