New research published in Cogent Social Sciences has found that in some situations, moderate internet users are more likely to be exposed to cyber-bullying than heavy internet users.
In Bullying, cyber-bullying and Internet usage among young people in post-conflict Belfast, authors Francesca Savoldi, University of Lisbon, and Pedro Ferraz de Abreu, University of Aveiro, surveyed young people in the post-conflict city of Belfast about their experience of both offline, and online, bullying.
“In certain steps of the transition in a divided city, cyberspace seems to constitute a new place for increasing verbal offence,” said Francesca Savoldi. ‘This may be because the internet allows bullies to remain anonymous and avoid immediate physical confrontation.”
Bullying took the form of harassment, threats of violence, sectarianism and vulgar messages, with much online bullying seemingly a continuation of offline behaviours. And while young men were more likely to be the victims of bullying in the real world, young women reported higher levels of cyber-bullying.