Bystander responses to cyberbullying: the role of perceived severity, publicity, anonymity, type of cyberbullying, and victim response

Journal article


Macaulay, Peter, Betts, Lucy R., Stiller, James and Kellezi, Blerina 2022. Bystander responses to cyberbullying: the role of perceived severity, publicity, anonymity, type of cyberbullying, and victim response. Computers in Human Behavior. 131, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2022.107238
AuthorsMacaulay, Peter, Betts, Lucy R., Stiller, James and Kellezi, Blerina
Abstract

Cyberbullying often occurs in group-based situations; therefore, how young people respond when they witness cyberbullying is important in the process of combating the issue. This study examined how young people perceive the severity of cyberbullying incidents and how they respond as a bystander according to different factors associated with cyberbullying (i.e., publicity, anonymity, type, and victim response). The final sample was 990 (545 female, 403 male, 42 non-disclosed) students aged between 11 – 20 years (Mage = 13.16, SDage = 2.14) from two schools and one college in England. Participants responded to 24 hypothetical vignettes which were manipulated to measure publicity, anonymity, type of cyberbullying, and victim response. Participants responded to items assessing a. perceived severity, and b. bystander responses. The bystander responses examined were: ignore the incident, encourage the bully, seek adult help, seek friend help, provide emotional support to the victim, and challenge the bully. Perceived severity was higher in public scenarios, when the bully was anonymous, and when the victim was upset. Victim response was the most influential factor across all response strategies on how young people react to cyberbullying, followed by the publicity of the incident, the anonymity of the bully, and to a limited extent, the type of cyberbullying. The results suggest that bystanders do respond differently to cyberbullying according to the publicity, anonymity, type of cyberbullying, and victim response.

KeywordsCyberbullying; Bystanders; Severity; Publicity; Anonymity; Type of Cyberbullying; Victim Response
Year2022
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Journal citation131, pp. 1-13
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0747-5632
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2022.107238
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563222000607
hdl:10545/626296
Output statusPublished
Publication dates15 Feb 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited17 Feb 2022, 09:53
Accepted11 Feb 2022
ContributorsUniversity of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and University of Chichester
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