Why Do People Cyberbully? What Is Cyberbullying
Written by: Ankita Kathad MA – (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : February 15, 2023
People are using the internet and digital space now more than ever. While digital space has its pros, it has its cons too. Many people harass other people in this digital space. This is known as cyberbullying. It can occur on mobile phones, computers, or even tablets. Have you thought about why bullying happens in the first place? In this article, we understand why people cyberbully. This article explores why cyberbullying happens.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Difference between Bullying and Cyberbullying
Types of Cyberbullying
Video sharingThis is one of the most common means of causing someone pain. Videos are made of an innocent person in an embarrassing situation. Bullies use these videos to threaten and shame the other person. Moreover, sometimes, bullies create an incident and record it to shame the person. Bullies also blackmail the person using the video. They ask for favors or money in return.
Photo sharingMany times, pictures of the victims are taken in certain situations such as in the locker room or a bathroom. These photos are sent privately or shared publicly to shame the person. Often these pictures are used to torture the victim. Moreover, sometimes some funny or embarrassing pictures of the person are used to make fun of them.
Name-calling or corneringMany times, bullies call out a victim online in comment sections or via public polls. They will make fun of the person by saying mean things to them. Moreover, they can even corner the person on some kind of debate. While doing so they will say mean or vulgar things to the person. Bullies often spread fake news about the person online and try to target them in any kind of debate.
Creating fake profilesA very common way of harassing someone online is by creating a fake profile. Here a person makes a duplicate profile of another person. They upload dirty images and videos on the same. This is done to spoil the image of the person. In other cases, one person hacks the profile of another one and steals their password. This way they have access to the contacts of another person. They use this identity to send vulgar messages to others.
Sometimes, a person creates a duplicate profile to lure someone into a friendship or relationship In this case, a person makes a fake profile to gain the trust of another person. They chat under a different identity and steal pictures from someone else’s profile.
Why Do People Cyberbully?
Power imbalanceOne of the most common reasons for bullying is that the bullies feel that they are more powerful than their victims. On digital platforms, the bullies feel that they have more power. This is because it is difficult to catch someone on these platforms.
AnonymityOn the internet, it is easy to hide. Cyberbullies can hide behind the screens. It is easier to torture the other person because they cannot see the bully. In this case, even if the bully is physically less powerful, they can still harass the victim.
Intent to hurtOne of the common causes of why people cyberbully is intention. Often bullies have a strong desire to hurt the person. This is due to many reasons. The person may have rejected the bully’s request. It can be so that the bully is jealous of the person. This gives them a clear desire and motive to hurt the other person. There can be many reasons to hurt the other person. Digital space creates a lot of damage. Therefore, the bully feels that it is a better way to hurt the victim. Moreover, on the internet, the material stays for a long and spreads quickly.
FameThe bully may desire fame. By cornering someone, they may want to get popular. Some people feel it’s cool to hurt and defame others. This is why they make mean or vulgar comments online. This not only brings them into the spotlight but also makes others fear them.
Low self-esteemThe question of why d people cyberbully has been well studied. It is seen that often people with low self-esteem bully others online. This is because it gives them some sense of power. The wall of anonymity in the digital space also protects their ego. By having control over someone online, they will be powerful and it gives some boost to their low self-esteem.
Low education and imitationSome people with low education tend to copy other bullies. They think its a cool thing to do. They simply imitate the actions of a real bully. Moreover, they do this without thinking of any consequences. They consider hating comments as a norm. Just because everyone does it, they think it’s right to do it.
Behavior traitsSome people have an aggressive nature. Often they end up targeting people to vent out their anger. Our society often does not teach healthy ways to vent out emotions. Boys are told not to show their emotions. Girls are asked to hide and control their emotions too. In this case, many people end up harming others online to cope with their own emotions. There are some personality traits such as anti-social personality which tend to bully others.
Why Does Cyberbullying Happen?
- Lack of cybersecurity: In many countries, laws to protect people in the digital space are not strict. For example, some websites have no option to report the bully. In many cases, these bullies are not even caught because of the vague laws. Moreover, as discussed earlier, anonymity gives the bully a lot of space to trouble others. Relaxed rules is why cyberbullying happens.
- Fear: The majority of cyberbullying happens is because people don’t report bullies. Bullies take advantage of this fear and continue their evil acts. This fear gives them the confidence to go on. Moreover, when bullies feel more powerful because of this fear.
- Lack of action: Authorities fail to take the right action at the right time. This is why cyberbullying happens so frequently. Most often the victim is simply asked to close the account or block the numbers of the culprit. This makes it easier for the culprit to escape. Moreover, the victims also prefer staying quiet. They do not wish to engage in legal battles. This makes the bully feel that they can get away with the crime.