Despite a significant amount of attention by both the academic community and society at large, there continues to exist much confusion about both the conceptual and operational definitions of cyberbullying (and by implication, bullying in general). The trouble with this lack of clarity is that it leads to misinformation and misunderstanding about the phenomena at hand, and undermines the ability of various stakeholders to identify, prevent, and respond to these behaviors. In this article, we review the essential elements of cyberbullying that distinguish it from other peer-to-peer online interactions in an effort to inform current-day approaches to its study. We also present a cyberbullying scale that has demonstrated strong initial validity and reliability in ten different surveys involving nearly 15,000 students in the United States. The purpose is to reduce erratic and fitful advancement of our understanding of cyberbullying by fostering more consistency in the way it is measured and analyzed. Through this effort we hope to meaningfully assist those on the front lines of the problem to better know what cyberbullying is, and what it is not.
Patchin, J. W. & Hinduja, S. (2015). Defining Cyberbullying: Implications for Research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 23, 69-74.