Who here has ever been bullied? I was once. Can still remember what it was like being pushed into that fence, even after all these years. Modern children are not getting bullied like I was though, at least not all of them. Bullying has moved into the digital age, just like much of our lives have, but cyberbullying is not the same as traditional schoolyard bullying.
Traditional bullying often has three characteristics; a power difference between the bully or bullies and the victim, proactive targeting of the victim, and ongoing aggression. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that cyberbullying does not always have these properties. For example, online it does not matter how big you are. Also, posts on the Internet can be misinterpreted much more easily than being shoved into a fence. According to the thousands of youth surveyed, 95% of what is posted online is just meant to be a joke, with only 5% meant to be mean. This indicates the youth are underestimating just how harmful cyberbullying can be.
Differences like these make it difficult to address the problem, because the traditional methods used for traditional bullying may not apply. To further confuse the issues, cyberbullying is more fluid than traditional bullying, with someone being in all three roles of bully, victim, and witness, instead of just one or the other. For now the best thing the researchers can recommend is that children and parents have an open and honest relationship, so they can deal with the problem of cyberbullying together.