This is another one of those questions that we get all of the time. Of course, there is not one easy answer to this question. Moreover, what causes one adolescent to cyberbully may not influence another to engage in similar behaviors. So, while we have a number of theories or hypotheses, what do you think? We are going to leave this discussion up to you all, loyal readers of this blog. Let us know that you are out there and reading this by posting your answer to the question: Why do youth engage in cyberbullying? We’ll share our thoughts in a future post.
I am very interested in the subject of WHY kids cyberbully. My 17 year old niece, Rachael Neblett, was a victim of cyberstalking and ultimately took her life in order to escape the terror. Since the cyberbully was a juvenile, we never learned the identity of the individual who was responsible for threatening Rachael, and more importantly we never learned why the child did this to her. For nearly two years, I have searched for reasons why children can be so mean to one another. I am 55 years old, and my generation was NOT like this! I have been wondering if it could have something to do with a lack of face-to-face competition. If a child is not involved in sports, there is very little chance for the child to learn to "win" and "lose" gracefully. When I was young, my friends and I played games outdoors (kick the can, kickball, hide and seek), and if it rained we played Monopoly, Scabble, or card games indoors. Those face-to-face games taught us to play fair and respect one another. We also learned that it was no big deal to lose; we would have another opportunity to win tomorrow. Today's children just don't have the same face-to-face "win" and "lose" opportunities unless they play sports. I believe that this may have something to do with this MEAN CHILD syndrome. Since children don't get a chance to win and fail, maybe they seek replacement in bullying, especially cyberbullying where they can have the power of "winning" over another, and can do it anonymously.
I have been trying to get someone to research this idea. I know alot has been discussed and studied regarding violence found in video games, but could it be just the lack of competition in social interactions. It would be interesting to see how bullying compares with children active in sports and face-to-face competition and those that play games only online.
See, youth engage in these crazy online cyberbullying because they think they are "Bad ass." It is a normal trend that they pick up from other "hardcore gamers" who are older than them. If they get picked over an internet game such as Halo, they would try to do the same to other people. Then again, parents are unware of the M rated games and end up buying Grand Theft Auto. If you can see how the online gaming community is becoming, no matter what, there will be at least one person being an "asshole." They believe they are protected over a bunch of wires connected to this magical being called the "interwebz" knowing that they can do whatever they want and not get in trouble for it.
I am currently writing a novel for nanowrimo about an internet serial killer who wants to correct the internet by eradicting those who abuse the internet for things such as spam, fraud, and etc.
• To get attention
• To get what they want
• To gain respect
• To become more popular
• To feel better about themselves
• To punish people they are jealous of
• Because they think it’s fun to hurt others’ feelings
• Because others are doing it
One thing that I found interesting is the differences among bullying between males and females. It is definitely something I can personally identify with. I remember my 9th grade year in high school a big fight broke out between 5 girls, one actually being a basketball teammate of mine. The whole school was in shock because fights just didn't happen everyday. Once the school officials got down to the bottom of it they found cyberbullying the cause of the fight. Two girls that are sisters had made a myspace page talking about everybody in the school. People then commented on the page and it got more individuals attention. Finally my teammate and her other friends brought it to the sisters attention one morning and a fight broke loose in the cafeteria. They never got things settled even after being suspended for 10 days.
The moral of my story is that that girls are more likely to be bullied via email or social networking Web sites. Girls are more likely hide behind a computer or a phone to say mean things. I actually have been cyberbullied via Facebook and in that situation the female never said anything in person/face to face while we were in school it just happened on the computer.
Being that girls are more emotional than guys I guess it make sense that females try to attack the emotional and psychological feelings of another female. Because they may be jealous, have hatred towards that person etc.
On the other hand Internet based bulling isn't as common amongst boys. I personally think this goes hand in hand with the stereo type that boys can fight and become friends the next day.
It seems that people are cyberbullying for all sorts of reasons. Some of them include the ease of the medium, the ability to hide behind the device, as well as any of the reasons that people traditionally bully others. Technology offers us a new way to communicate, and yet another way to communicate in a negative an unhealthy way.