Robin Morris-Jones of the Cognitive Centre has been conducting an in-depth analysis of various cyber bullying studies where international researchers sought to clarify the relationship between a cyber bully and their victims.
The research indicates bullying that takes place at school or in social life is likely to be continued in cyberspace, with retention of roles. Perpetrators remain perpetrators and victims remain victims. There is no evidence for the so-called ‘revenge of the nerds’ phenomenon. However, there are indicators that cyberbullying also leads to off-line bullying.
One study found that children who are bullies in the more traditional sense, are more likely to use cyber bullying tactics. Another found that cyber bullying is used in retaliation, with the perpetrators having themselves been a victim.
With regards to the profile of cyberbullies and victims of cyberbullying, the following observation seems to be especially relevant in light of the development of counter-measures: the respondents to the study whose parents are less involved with their internet use have a higher chance of becoming a cyberbully.
Informing parents about new media and encouraging them to be involved with their child’s internet use seems to be a logical step in the prevention of cyberbullying.
The research also reveals that Knowledge of complex internet applications is not required for cyberbullying. Children who take risks on the internet are more likely to become the victim of certain types of online bullying.
It appears that in many cases, respondents who perpetrate acts of cyberbullying have also experienced cyberbullying as victims or bystanders and vice versa.
This may be an indication of the existence of counter or chain reactions in cyberbullying, whereby perpetrators become victims and victims perpetrators, ultimately resulting in a culture of cyberbullying. Robin concluded:
“the research suggests that large-scale awareness campaigns aimed at children are likely to be effective in preventing cyberbullying”.