cyberbullying | definition

repeated behavior that is intended to cause psychological or emotional harm to another person and that takes place online


Spielman, R. M., Jenkins, W. J., & Lovett, M. D. (2020). Psychology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at


Cyberbullying and adolescent mental health: systematic review

Cyberbullying is a new form of violence that is expressed through electronic media and has given rise to concern for parents, educators and researchers. In this paper, an association between cyberbullying and adolescent mental health will be assessed through a systematic review of two databases: PubMed and Virtual Health Library (BVS). The prevalence of cyberbullying ranged from 6.5% to 35.4%. Previous or current experiences of traditional bullying were associated with victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying. Daily use of three or more hours of Internet, web camera, text messages, posting personal information and harassing others online were associated with cyberbullying. Cybervictims and cyberbullies had more emotional and psychosomatic problems, social difficulties and did not feel safe and cared for in school…..continue reading

Defining Cyberbullying

Is cyberbullying essentially the same as bullying, or is it a qualitatively different activity? The lack of a consensual, nuanced definition has limited the field’s ability to examine these issues. Evidence suggests that being a perpetrator of one is related to being a perpetrator of the other; furthermore, strong relationships can also be noted between being a victim of either type of attack. It also seems that both types of social cruelty have a psychological impact, although the effects of being cyberbullied may be worse than those of being bullied in a traditional sense (evidence here is by no means definitive). A complicating factor is that the 3 characteristics that define bullying (intent, repetition, and power imbalance) do not always translate well into digital behaviors. Qualities specific to digital environments often render cyberbullying and bullying different in circumstances, motivations, and outcomes….continue reading

Cyberbullying: concepts, dynamics, characters and health implications

The study aimed to conduct a critical review of a set of bibliographical reviews to identify how the scientific community understands cyberbullying, how the phenomenon has been conceptualized, how its dynamics have been described, what characters are identified and what associations are related to the health of intimidated persons and perpetrators. The literature has shown that there is no consensus on the concept of cyberbullying, but there are arguments that advocate its specificity and differentiation vis-à-vis bullying, (it can occur at any moment and without a physically demarcated space; it can be disseminated globally, the length of permanence of the offensive posts is undetermined). As for the gender issue associated with this practice, a reductionist bias was observed in the debate, indicating differences based on an alleged technological superiority of boys…..continue reading

Cyberbullying in Children and Youth: Implications for Health and Clinical Practice

We review the recent literature on cyberbullying and its effects on victimised youth, identifying key points. We conclude that cyberbullying, while following many of the underlying dynamics of more traditional forms of bullying, features some unique qualities that can both magnify the damage caused and make it more difficult to detect. These features include the pervasive, never-ending nature of cyberbullying and the ability to quickly reach large audiences. The potential for anonymity and the related distance afforded by screens and devices compared to in-person interaction allow the cruelty of cyberbullying to go unchecked…..continue reading

Associations between social media and cyberbullying: a review of the literature

Cyberbullying is a significant public health concern that can lead to increased risk of mental health issues, including psychological and developmental problems or suicide. However, because cyberbullying is a relatively recent phenomenon, there is a lack of agreement among researchers about the definition and prevalence of cyberbullying as well as methods for measuring its prevalence. In this review, we evaluate papers published between January 2013 to August 2015 that explored cyberbullying through the medium of social media…..continue reading

Keywords: Public health; cyberbullying; social media.

Cyberbullying: a storm in a teacup?

Cyberbullying has been portrayed as a rising ‘epidemic’ amongst children and adolescents. But does it create many new victims beyond those already bullied with traditional means (physical, relational)? Our aim was to determine whether cyberbullying creates uniquely new victims, and whether it has similar impact upon psychological and behavioral outcomes for adolescents, beyond those experienced by traditional victims. This study assessed 2745 pupils, aged 11-16, from UK secondary schools. Pupils completed an electronic survey that measured bullying involvement, self-esteem and behavioral problems. Twenty-nine percent reported being bullied but only 1% of adolescents were pure cyber-victims (i.e., not also bullied traditionally). Compared to direct or relational victims, cyber-victimization had similar negative effects on behavior (z = -0.41) and self-esteem (z = -0.22) compared to those not involved in bullying. However, those bullied by multiple means (poly-victims) had the most difficulties with behavior (z = -0.94) and lowest self-esteem (z = -0.78)…..continue reading

Cyberbullying and Adolescent Neurobiology

Whilst it is well documented that cyberbullying is linked to poor mental health outcomes, limited research has examined how cyberbullying may influence brain development adolescents, and the influence of each of these factors. The article’s primary objective was to develop an understanding of research to date that addresses any relationship between adolescent brain development and cyberbullying. The current article reviews any existing literature regarding the impact of cyberbullying on adolescent brain development, paying particular attention to research using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. Whilst brain studies have examined neural mechanisms associated with conduct disorders, antisocial behavior, and aggression in young people; there is a paucity of research examining these factors specifically in relation to cyberbullying. In particular, little research has examined how MRI research could help understand how the brain is affected by cyberbullying, not only in bullies and victims but also bystanders…..continue reading

Keywords: adolescence; brain development; cyberbullying; literature; mental health; neurobiology.