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What are the characteristics of a typical cyberbully?

Shawn Edgington
Pediatrics
The profile of a cyberbully (a minor who uses technology as a weapon to intentionally threaten or hurt another minor) looks much like the profile of a schoolyard bully. A cyberbully:
  • Is easily angered
  • Is obsessed with explosives or weapons
  • Is obsessed with violent games, TV, or literature
  • Has parents who enable behavior by either inaction or encouragement
  • Has no remorse for his or her actions
  • Has tendencies to "not care about schoolwork" and has grades that are lower than they should be
  • Blames others
  • Has deep depression with extreme mood swings
  • Has high frustration levels and poor coping skills
  • Is often violent, both with words and acts, and is the instigator of physical fights
  • Often resorts to name-calling, makes violent threats, acts superior to others, and feels justified in his/her behavior
  • Abuses drugs, alcohol, and other substances
  • Has threatened to commit or has attempted suicide
  • Has been suspended or expelled from school
  • Participates in gang activities
  • Is cruel to animals or destroys property
  • Is disrespectful to others, humiliates, and sets traps to embarrass
  • Glorifies violence and intimidates others
  • Has little or no support at home from caring adults
  • Peers are of the same tendencies or they isolate themselves
  • Has been personally abused or has witnessed abuse in the home
Typically children and youth involved in cyberbullying are also likely to be involved in "traditional" forms of bullying. In a study of middle school students, 61% of cyber "victims" also reported being victims of "traditional" bullying; 55% of cyber "bullies" also said they had bullied others in "traditional ways."

Although some studies have found that girls are more involved in cyberbullying than boys, others have found similar rates among boys and girls.

When middle school students were asked about the identity of the person who cyberbullied them:
  • 52% identified another student at school
  • 36% said they had been cyberbullied by a friend
  • 13% had been cyberbullied by a sister or brother
  • 48% did not know who had cyberbullied them
Cyber "bully/victims" (who cyberbully others and also are cyberbullied) were heavily involved in "traditional" forms of bullying -- 64% had been bullied and 66% had bullied others.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.