Cyberbullying and modern technology

In the modern world, technology has transformed the way people communicate. Although there are numerous advantages to using technology, one of the most prominent disadvantages has been cyberbullying. It occurs as a result of electronic technology when devices like phones, tablets, laptops, and communication tools including social media platforms, messaging, and websites are used. It might take the form of spreading rumors about someone, publishing embarrassing images, or creating phony profiles. Although the government has taken several measures to combat cyberbullying, the measures have been insufficient, making this a public policy issue.The need to address cyberbullying is based on the effects that it has on people that have undergone the experience at one time in their lives. According to (2017) cyberbullying results to effects such as usage of alcohol and drugs; the victims resort to such measures as it makes them forget their problems for a while. Additionally, students can also decide to skip school as they fear that other learners will make fun of them. For example, if a meme making fun of a student walking style is shared by other children, this may result to them skipping school since a number of the other students will want to humiliate them, and this brings out the other effect of cyberbullying; experience of in-person is bullying. The other effect is that victims may be unwilling to attend school, and may request their parents for a change of institution. Furthermore, cyberbullying also leads to a drop in grades in school as the learner concentrates more on avoiding cyberbullying rather than their classwork. Further, low self-esteem can also result from cyberbullying as the victim lacks a sense of self-value. Health problems such as obesity can also be caused by cyberbullying as the victims distance themselves from others during physical activities, instead prefer to stay indoors. In general, the effects of cyberbullying point to the need to have a public policy to address the issue.

Characteristics of Cyberbullying

Cyber-bullying involves various unique features which make it different from other types of bullying. Firstly, a cyber-bully may decide to attack at any time as well as at any given place. Unlike traditional bullying, the perpetrators may remain anonymous. The anonymity that is perceived by the perpetrators makes cyberbullying more dangerous because individuals who play the role believe that it is difficult for them to be identified. Additionally, cyberbullying not only causes psychological harm to the victims but also hurts those that are close to the victim considering that they may have access to the information. These close people may include family members, as well as friends.

Further, another aspect of cyberbullying is that the message harshness may be explored. Cyberbullying messages may be salient where the perpetrator uses pictures and videos other than written insults. Cyberbullying messages may also be sensitive in that they disclose secrets with the aim of embarrassing the victim. Additionally, the frequency of the messages is often contended to increase thus the increase of the cyberbullying incidents. Additionally, the offensiveness of cyberbullying messages can be viewed as more stressful for the victims as compared to other benign messages. The perpetrator may use vulgar and angry messages as well as threats of real injuries. The saliency, sensitivity ads well as the frequency of cyberbullying messages collectively increase the victim’s view of severity in a cyberbullying episode. Further, unlike traditional bullying cyberbullying may encompass a greater public exposure considering that many people have access to information that is published online (Navarro, Yubero & Larrañaga 2015). Additionally, cyberbullying places a significant distance between the perpetrators and their victims due to technology; this makes the victims' emotional reactions difficult.

Causes of Cyberbullying

One of the primary causes of cyberbullying is relationship problems, and this can happen to both men and women. For example, when romantic relationships fail, people will resort to cyberbullying as retaliation. For instance, an ex-boyfriend may decide to post details about his previous relationship which are embarrassing to the victims. Further, when someone faces rejection from a person they like, and want to have a romantic relationship with them, they resort to cyberbullying. These two causes of cyberbullying can be connected to the strain theory that advances the view that when people fail to attain success they are angered and likely to engage in crime. The other common cause of cyberbullying is intolerance among the diverse online community. For example, online users are from different backgrounds and cultures; one of these cultures may be the target of online bullies due to intolerance. Moreover, cyberbullying is also caused by people ganging up to embarrass another individual. For example, fans of a football team many gang up to cyberbully one of their players who they feel is not worthy their team (Hoff & Mitchell, 2009). This cause can be associated with the conflict theory of crime whereby the society has created an online community that facilitates bullying. In general, these causes can be addressed through effective public policy.

Furthermore, health conditions such as obesity also contribute to cyberbullying. More often than not, a person may find themselves at the receiving end of cyberbullying due to their weight. The other cause of cyberbullying is that some people do it for entertainment purposes. For example, a person’s picture can be turned into a meme by online users. Although the users may argue that they are doing it for fun, they do not realize that they are hurting the person in the meme hence resulting to cyberbullying. These causes should therefore inform any policy suggestions being advanced to deal with cyberbullying. Some of the recommendations will be outlined in the second part of the paper.

Cyberbullying Statistics

According to (2017) from 2014-2015 21% of children aged 12-18 years reported to have faced cyberbullying. Further, an additional 16% in 2015 reported that they had experienced cyberbullying on more than one occasion. Moreover, a number of people who have experienced cyberbullying at one time in their lives also engage in cyberbullying activities as a way of paying back those who abused them. Moreover, over 25 percent of youths have one time in their lives experienced bullying through online threats. Besides, a significant number of those that are bullied do not report the matter to their parents as well as guardians. Further, over 80 percent of cyberbullying instances occur through cell phones. For example, when a person leaks sexually suggestive pictures of their ex-girlfriends or boyfriends, people will not have time to check through by using their computers rather, they will decide to further share the pictures through their phones. It is of merit to note that cyberbullying is not limited to any race or color; however, people may be bullied online as a result of aspects such as skin color or even in some cases due to their sexual orientation. In general, the statistics of cyberbullying indicate that it is mostly young people that are affected by the vice. It is against this that measures of addressing the instances of cyberbullying should be developed.



The recommendations suggested in this paper to deal with cyberbullying are directly informed by the causes identified. One of the primary recommendations to end cyberbullying is by parents monitoring the activities of their children when they are online. Parents should never hesitate to ask their children what they do when they are online since they are under their care, and if anything was to go wrong, the parents are to blame. According to Notar, Padgett, and Roden (2013) once parents realize that their children are experiencing cyberbullying, they have to save the evidence through methods such as taking screenshots. They should then investigate the perpetrators of the crime, and if it is another student, they have to be reported. The parents of the perpetrator should also be informed so that they can punish their child on their own. This recommendation is significantly supported by the rational choice theory of crime. The theory advances the view that a person will weigh the costs and benefits of their behavior and decide on the rational choice. The perpetrator in this case will be the one required to make the rational choice after being informed about the consequences of their behavior. If they decide to carry on then they can be punished. In general, parents should monitor and encourage their children to report any instances of cyberbullying.

Supportive Social Environment

Additionally, the second recommendation is based on promotion of a supportive social environment. More often than not, instances of cyberbullying are committed by students who want to embarrass their colleagues. According to Cross, et al. (2011), a supportive social environment can be used to curb by cyberbullying. Such an environment should foster connectedness between students and teachers. For example, if students’ realize that one of their colleagues has been bullied, they can decide to organize an extracurricular activity to support him or her. Such an activity should be geared towards discouraging cyberbullying behaviors. This recommendation can be supported through the social structure theory particularly the culture conflict theory which suggests that crime is caused by a clash between different values. The cyberbullying of students can be as a result of the clash in the values whereby other student may feel offended. It is therefore essential to implement this measure as a way of curbing cyberbullying at the educational institutions.


Furthermore, the other measure that can be used to address the problem of cyberbullying is collaboration. Cross et al. (2015), note that the collaboration needs to be between family, school and the community. Given that cyberbullying is a problem that affects young people in society, there needs to be collaboration to help victims overcome. For example, through collaboration, the perpetrators and the victims can be identified and brought together so that the former can heal. This recommendation is in line with the restorative justice theory which underscores the benefits of bringing the victim and perpetrator together. For example, the perpetrator can be required to explain why they engaged in cyberbullying and apologize to the victim with a promise that in future such instances will not occur.

Suspension and Permanent Ban

The other recommendation that this paper makes is the suspension and permanent ban of social media accounts that facilitate cyberbullying. While millions of users may engage in cyberbullying on social media, there are some notorious ones who incite others. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have adopted strict policies when it comes to cyberbullying. Once a person is found to engage in cyberbullying their account is either suspended or banned. If the latter, the individual will not be allowed to have another account on platform due to their unwarranted behaviors (Nilan et al. 2015). This recommendation is in line with the deterrence theory which suggests that people can stop engaging in criminal activities if they are aware of the consequences. Social media users need to be aware of the consequences of promoting cyberbullying so that they can deter themselves from engaging in the behavior. In general, efforts to deal with cyberbullying should not neglect the aspects of social media.

Establishing Rules

Additionally, preventive strategies can be employed against cyberbullying. Parents and teachers play a pivotal role in preventing cyberbullying. Firstly, rules should be determined regarding children’s activities with their internet, social media platforms as well as their cellular phone activities. The established regulations should be explained to the children carefully; the rules ought to include the amount of time that the children can spend online as well as the activities that they are not allowed to engage in. Notably, teachers and parents should be clear and firm regarding the consequences that may arise if the teenager fails to comply with the law.

In the above recommendation, the deterrence theory may apply considering that it was developed to acquire control over criminal conduct as well as encourage compliance to the law. In light of the deterrence theory, children will be able to establish and discover the penalization that they will face for engaging in cyberbullying. Teachers and parents threaten children who are likely to engage in cyberbullying with various sanctions for noncompliance with the laws to regulate cyberbullying. Classical deterrence holds that rational people may engage in activities that they perceive to be pleasurable while avoiding from behaviors that they may perceive as painful (Clifford & Edwards, 2011). Therefore, if the consequences are made clear to the children, they will avoid cyberbullying.

Additionally, the comprehension of school rules is important for the prevention of cyberbullying. Notably many schools have generated rules and regulations regarding the utilization of technology that may have an effect on the child’s online conduct in and out of the classroom. Most schools have adopted programs that motivate all students toward taking action against the cyberbullying phenomenon. Additionally, most researchers of cyberbullying often emphasize the need for children as well as teenagers to be involved as primary actors in decisions of preventing cyberbullying (Stauffer et al. 2012). The rational choice theory may be applied in this recommendation. Notably, the theory underlines that individuals who are involved in crimes are motivated after evaluating the risks of detection as well as punishment for their crimes. Moreover, offenders also consider the rewards that come along with successful completion of crimes. Students may engage in cyberbullying to achieve particular goals. Therefore, all aspects of cyberbullying should be communicated to them. With clear knowledge of cyberbullying, students can make informed decisions regarding the activities that they engage in.

Video-based Programs

Moreover, Internet-based prevention strategies can be employed in preventing cyberbullying. Video based cyberbullying prevention strategies often entail episodes of common cyberbullying practices that demonstrate the victim’s reactions as well as other peers commenting on the relevance of such actions. This strategy ensures that positive cyberbullying attitudes are reduced (Doane, Kelley & Pearson, 2016). The social-psychological view of crime can be applied in this recommendation. The social-psychological theories point out that criminal conduct is a learned response due to reinforcement, classical conditioning as well as reinforcement modeling, observation as well as social labeling. Therefore, when students are put through online sessions of cyberbullying prevention, they can observe many things regarding the practice and learn.


Conclusively, social media is unique kind of bullying that is facilitated through electronic platforms. It is hard to detect due to the anonymity measures taken by the perpetrators at times. It is caused by factors such as failure of romantic relationships or harassment of individuals due to their weight. The victims result to having stress, grades drop at school, and some may decide to turn to suicide. However, with evidence-based strategies, cyberbullying is a vice that can be prevented. The recommendations outlined in this paper can be effective in addressing the current problem about cyberbullying.


Clifford, M., & Edwards, T. D. (2011). Environmental crime. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Cross, D., Monks, H., Campbell, M., Spears, B., & Slee, P. (2011). School-based strategies to address cyberbullying.

Doane, A. N., Kelley, M. L., & Pearson, M. R. (2016). Reducing cyberbullying: A theory of reasoned action‐based video prevention program for college students. Aggressive Behavior, 42(2), 136-146.

Hoff, D. L., & Mitchell, S. N. (2009). Cyberbullying: Causes, effects, and remedies. Journal of Educational Administration, 47(5), 652-665.

Navarro, R., Ruiz-Oliva, R., Larrañaga, E., & Yubero, S. (2015). The impact of cyberbullying and social bullying on optimism, global and school-related happiness and life satisfaction among 10-12-year-old schoolchildren. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 10(1), 15-36.

Nilan, P., Burgess, H., Hobbs, M., Threadgold, S., & Alexander, W. (2015). Youth, social media, and cyberbullying among Australian youth:“ Sick friends”. Social Media+ Society, 1(2), 2056305115604848.

Notar, C. E., Padgett, S., & Roden, J. (2013). Cyberbullying: Resources for Intervention and Prevention. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 1(3), 133-145.,. (2017). What is Cyberbullying. Retrieved from

Stauffer, S., Heath, M. A., Coyne, S. M., & Ferrin, S. (2012). High school teachers' perceptions of cyberbullying prevention and intervention strategies. Psychology in the Schools, 49(4), 352-367.

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