Profile of Cyber Bullies
Ybarra & Mitchell (2004) took the first steps in their study towards creating a profile of the typical Cyber Bully. They reported that Cyber Bullies are just as likely to be boys and girls. Besides, Cyber Bullies tend to have poor relationships with their caregivers and are twice as likely as non-Cyber Bullies to report on the following:
- A poor emotional bond with caregivers
- Wrong methods of disciplining
- Infrequent caregiver monitoring
- Often intensive Internet users
- Quickly switch screens or close programs when others walk by
- Frequent use the computer in the wee hours of the night
- Get unusually upset if he/she cannot use the computer
- Laugh excessively while using the computer
- Avoid discussions about what he or she is doing on the computer
- Use multiple online accounts or an account that is not his or her own
The Internet has been gaining popularity among young people (Janeiro, 2004). Around the world, young users are increasingly turning to the Internet as a source of information, communication, socializing and entertainment. Young people are enthusiastic about the Internet because, more than any other medium, it helps them establish contact with the outside world and freely seek information (Janeiro, 2004).
Why Cyber Bully?
Statistics have shown that world internet penetration rate is 24.7% (Internet World Stats, 2009). Closer to home, data was collected from 5,000 resident households and 5,000 residents in Singapore via face-to-face interviews conducted from October 2007 to April 2008 (Annual Household Survey, 2008). The survey has shown that in 2008, the proportion of computer and Internet users amongst residents aged 7 and above were 71% and 69% respectively. The figures in 2004 for residents aged 15 and above were only 66% and 62% respectively (Annual Household Survey, 2008). The rapid increase can be attributed to a variety of factors, including competitive Internet subscription fees offered by the local Internet Access Service Providers (IASPs), free accounts given by schools or low/subsidised subscription rates, and a high rate of home computer ownership (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, 2000).
This increased accessibility to cyber resources can be one of the reasons why Cyber Bullying is on the rise. Other factors which further promote this trend include: