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Electronic Harassment - Concept Map and Definition

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2016
26 pages

This study developed an evidence-based concept map and definition of bullying behaviors perpetrated through online platforms.


Online electronic forms used by bullies to harass targeted victims include e-mail, blogs, social networking websites, online games, forums, instant messaging, Skype, text messaging, and mobile phone pictures. Bullying perpetrated through these online media have come to be known as "cyber bullying." Based on the findings of this study, the following definition of "cyber bullying" is proposed: "Bullying behaviors which take place online or using technology, which can include verbal or relational bullying or threats of physical harm. Cyberbullying includes similar tactics as other bullying behaviors as well as unique approaches such as viral repetition or widespread sharing of messages;" however, an important finding from this study is the need to integrate cyberbullying as part of a shared, understood, and uniform definition of bullying as a whole. One notable study finding is the key areas of overlap between cyberbullying and traditional bullying, including the characteristics of individuals involved. Participants in this study described similar characteristics of both bullying perpetrators and their victims for both traditional bullying and cyberbullying. The Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) definition of bullying behaviors involves an actual or perceived power imbalance between bullies and their victims. In the current study, the fluidity in roles of perpetrators and victims does not appear to represent a shift in the actual power of the individual, but could represent power derived from the tool used to commit bullying. The stakeholders involved in this study - including educators, legal experts, health professionals, and teens - perceived that significant and similar negative consequences result from both cyberbullying and traditional bullying. The study methodology is detailed. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 26 references

Date Published: May 1, 2016