The Complexity of Determination of Electronic Bullying as Phenomenon in Contemporary Society Cover Image

Сложеност одређења електронског вршњачког насиља као феномена савременог друштва
The Complexity of Determination of Electronic Bullying as Phenomenon in Contemporary Society

Author(s): Adrijana Grmuša
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Media studies, Recent History (1900 till today), Social differentiation, ICT Information and Communications Technologies
Published by: Институт за политичке студије
Keywords: Bullying; electronic bullying; cyberbullying; online bullying; bullying in cyber space;

Summary/Abstract: The development of the Information and communication technology (ICT) has shaped the modern society, leading to the emergence of the phenomenon of electronic bullying. This phenomenon marks the transposition of the violent youth interaction from the real to the virtual world. Due to such development the youngsters became exposed to the bullying in the virtual world to an even larger extent than in the real world. Despite numerous researches in recent years of its manifestations and relation to the traditional bullying, the phenomenon of electronic bullying has not been precisely determined. Therefore, this paper aimed to present the terminology dilemmas and problems in determining the electronic bullying phenomenon. The crucial dilemmas regarding the phenomenon of electronic bullying encompass: 1) the term which should be used; 2) characteristics of the actors involved; and 3) the features of the phenomenon of electronic bullying in comparison to traditional bullying. The latter encompasses: 1) similarities of electronic and traditional bullying; 2) distinctions of actors of electronic bullying; and 3) distinctions of electronic devices and digital channels of communication. The first problem in determining the phenomenon of electronic bullying is related to its term. Depending on the focus of their researches, the authors use a range of terms: cyberbullying, online bullying, bullying via Internet, Internet harassment or even online aggression. The researchers with ICT-focus use the term cyberbullying. Those researchers, who focus their research on behaviour, use the terms electronic or digital bullying. The second problem regarding the phenomenon of electronic bullying is related to the actors. Two of the most extreme positions of possible actor involvement in the violent youth interaction online include only bullies and victims. However, there are other possible roles, including bully/victim and bystander. In the culture of cyberbullying, almost everyone can assume the role of bully. Therefore, the authors dealing with this issue find it difficult to distinguish all the features of actors involved in online bullying. The third problem in determining the features of the phenomenon of electronic bullying in comparison to traditional bullying stems from the fact that electronic bullying is usually perceived as traditional bullying that occurs through ICT. The authors are using the core elements of definitions of traditional bullying in their academic debates, but there is no agreement over the either number of these elements, or their meaning in the online environment. In terms of distinctions of actors of electronic bullying, namely anonymity of bully, accessibility of victim, and a very wide audience, there are also certain inconsistencies among the authors, especially regarding the perceived anonymity of bully. Finally, regarding the distinctions of electronic devices and digital channels of communication, most researches simply list them, without specifying other characteristics of electronic bullying. That is already causing certain problems in determining the scope of the phenomenon of electronic bullying. Bearing in mind the constant development of ICT, the researchers will continue to face the need to become more precise in their determinations of this phenomenon. The researches of electronic bullying in Serbia came to different conclusions regarding the prevalence, age and gender involvement. However, the parameters used in those researches differ among themselves, and in order to come to reliable conclusions, additional researches still need to be conducted.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 325-343
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Serbian