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Understanding the Facts About Cyberbullying

March 24, 2016 | Written by Dan Margolis

Over the past decade, people have become more aware of cyberbullying, but for some, it can be difficult to know when teasing or negative interaction takes the leap to the crime of cyberbullying in Ohio and the rest of the country. Cyberbullying is when someone harasses another person through electronic or digital channels, such as social media and text messaging, according to StopBullying.gov.

Any rumors, embarrassing photos, hurtful messages, counterfeit profiles or other defacing or demeaning information posted online may be considered cyberbullying. These actions can include the use of a computer, mobile phone or tablet and posted to a blog, website, chat room, forum, social media site or some other online site.

A new study on cyberbullying from researchers at Ohio State University shows that bystanders often do not intervene when an instance occurs and may not even notice something is happening. In the study, the majority of participants (68 percent) recognized there was abuse, which left about 32 percent who did not. Out of those who noticed the abuse, the majority (70 percent) only took indirect action in the form of giving low scores to the experience. There was a group of participants (15 percent) that did nothing even though they perceived the abuse. The smallest percent (10 percent) took direct action to try to stop the bullying. Some participants chose to support the victim rather than deal with the bully.

Some of the inaction by participants may be explained by people not knowing how to act in this situation. This study also showed that around 30 percent of people did not even recognize that cyberbullying was taking place, demonstrating that there may remain confusion as to when something posted online is teasing or a negative comment and when it actually becomes harassment.

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