Bullying can be explained as being an antagonistic, intentional act or behavior that is practiced by a group or a person more often and overtime against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself (Olweus, 1993) Several types of bullying that include: physical, verbal relational like social exclusion, and indirect like rumor spreading may be referred to as “traditional” forms of bullying. Age and sex trends are well established (Smith et al,1999).
Cyberbullying also called cyber harassment is bullying or harassment by means of electronic. This bullying has been more common among youth. Harmful behaviour that can term as bullying includes texting, tweeting or responding to a status in a harsh mean or cruel manner. Others include cyberstalking, flaming, denigration, spreading rumours or gossips, impersonating a victim online, creating fake accounts or posting other people private information, pictures or videos intended to hurt the person. Although not all cyber bullies do maintain anonymity, some remain anonymous, which can make it difficult for them to be caught and punished for their behaviour. This act of bullying is done in emails, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms such as Facebook, snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and others.
The main cause of an increase in cyberbullying is the latest rise of smartphones and mobile apps by creating more manageable platforms of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying through these platforms is expected to occur more often than through stationary internet platforms. Furthermore, the combination of cameras and internet access and the instant availability of these modern smartphone technologies yield specific types of cyberbullying that is not present on other platforms.
Previous research about traditional bullying has identified, with abundant evidence, various psychological and sociological significances for those victimized and the perpetrators. Such negative consequences range from deterioration in academic performance, feelings of humiliation and anxiety, to depression, low self-esteem and health problems. Researchers show serious concerns for such negative impacts of cyberbullying although only inadequate evidence is available to date.
Corresponding to the adverse effects of traditional bullying, many victims of cyberbullying, especially the teenagers and those who are frequently victimized are emotionally distressed. Additionally, the victims report increased levels of anxiety and feelings of humiliation. Other psychological or emotional significances include frustrations and anger, low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness.
Research has shown that more than a half of cyberbullying victims report feeling angry on several occasions and more than a third experience sadness and hurtful feelings (Beran & Li, 2005). Equivalently, a substantial gender difference is identified: male victims, in comparison with their female counterparts, are less likely to feel frustrated or angry (Hinduja & Patchin, 2007).
Concerns in sociological significance of cyberbullying are also of importance in research of cyberbullying consequences. Various victims report feelings of insecurity and loneliness. Not only are they likely to experience poor relationships with people other than their non-bullied counterparts, but they also often have difficulty making emotional and social adjustments.
Researchers and many authors are seemingly emphasizing on the importance of educating students, parents and other educators on various aspects of netiquette concerning things such as internet safety, how to deal with different technologies and how to behave properly on the net. It is probably important for most students, parents and teachers today to achieve a certain level of such knowledge about the new technology.
In conclusion, many researchers argue that the significances of cyberbullying go to an extent beyond hurt feelings. Its effects can be extensive and can permanently damage young people both psychologically and sociologically. It is however in no doubt that it is a serious problem and one that continues to develop as technologies develop.